By conceiving the project so that it may exist beyond the confines of the traditional gallery space, The Great Travelling Art Exhibition fulfilled Long's desire to target and appeal to individuals unreceptive to the presentation of contemporary art in museums and art institutions. Furthermore, as a project born of pragmatic concerns, it enabled the artist to exercise creative expression early-on in his career without the need for a studio, gallery or financial backing.
The project takes a number of visual cues from the presentation of two-dimensional art, for example the signing of the image, or the use of the shutter surround to suggest a framing device. The drawing itself, selected on the basis of its mass appeal and how it registers as cultural archetype, demonstrates an embrace of high and low culture, reflecting not only certain art historical themes, but also the tastes typical of domestic and reproduction art found in many UK households. However, by denoting the freight vehicle as a moving canvas, Long blurs the distinction between the two and three dimensional medium, the artwork behaving simultaneously as both image and object.
Lasting a finite period, though sometimes as long as six months, it is precisely this impermanence and vulnerability that give the free-roaming drawings their point of interest and contemporary relevance. Whether read as an allegory for life-cycle, as a way to question the value systems of art and its ownership, or simply appreciated for their level of technical accomplishment, The Great Travelling Art Exhibition successfully elevates a mundane and commonplace aspect of daily life to the realm of iconic public artwork.