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Sandow Birk: American Qur’an and The Depravities of War

Sandow Birk, Destruction from The Depravities of War (2007), woodcut on handmade Sekishu Kozo paper, 48 x 96 inches. Printed and published byHui Press, Makawao, Hawaii. Courtesy of the artist and Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco.

Los Angeles artist Sandow Birk (b. 1962) is driven to restage art from the past to speak to contemporary concerns. Two projects, created over the past decade, address the current American conceptual haze in which Islam …Read More

Incendiary Etchings: Tom Lewis and the Catonsville Nine

Tom Lewis, Draft records are for burning from The Trial and Prison (1969), color etching, image 29.6 x 44.6 cm, sheet 39.2 x 55.8 cm. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of Faye A. Houston and Michael A. Lowry, in Honor of William B. Lowry, Jr., BMA 2014.10.2. Photo: Mitro Hood.

Why should an artist get so involved in protest that he lands in jail? In such a case, is protest an integral part of his art, or is it an expression of personal life, which has no relation to his art? I prefer to think the first …Read More

Nell Painter: Working In The Year 2017

Nell Painter carving the woodblock for her print Wise Woman Disappears, Brodsky Center, February 2017. Image courtesy of Brodsky Center, Rutgers. ©Brodsky Center, Rutgers.

Following a distinguished academic career (she is Edwards Professor of American History Emerita at Princeton University), Nell Painter returned to school and began a second career as an artist. She earned a BFA at Mason Gross School of the Arts …Read More

Prints in a Time of Political Madness

Protester at the Women’s March in New York on 21 January 2017 holding an Amplifier poster: Shepard Fairey, We the People—Greater than Fear (2017) (downloadable for free on the Amplifier website). Photo: Jessica He. Image courtesy of Amplifier.

Donald Trump’s unexpected Electoral College victory in the presidential election last November and the solidification of Republican control of the House of Representatives, the Senate and a majority of statehouses …Read More

Hans Haacke’s Proofs of Commitment

Hans Haacke, Upstairs at Mobil (1981), color photoetching printed on ten sheets of paper, image 105 x 71 inches overall, sheet 16 x 20 inches each. Edition of 10. Printed and published by Crown Point Press, San Francisco. ©2017 Hans Haacke / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Since first encountering Bertolt Brecht’s “Writing the Truth: Five Difficulties” (1935) as a student, Hans Haacke has acted on the idea that art could be a vehicle for telling the truth—especially overlooked truths about the political and economic systems that govern our lives …Read More

Reading Revolutionary Prints

Jacques Louis Copia (after Jacques-Louis David), Jean Paul Marat (1794), etching and engraving, 27.4 x 22 cm. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum. Gift of Belinda L. Randall from the collection of John Witt Randall, R13046.

Prints about politics during the French Revolution adopted specific ideological positions in the shifting landscape of the nascent republic. The clarity of their viewpoint, however, relied equally on the image and its text …Read More

Rembrandt and Religion at Notre Dame

Rembrandt van Rijn, David and Goliath from Piedra gloriosa (1655), etching and drypoint on vellum, 10.1 x 7.2 cm. Snite Museum of Art: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jack F. Feddersen, 1991.025.008.

“Rembrandt’s Religious Prints: The Feddersen Collection at the Snite Museum of Art” Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN 3 September– 26 November 2017 …Read More

Athletic Aesthetics: Art, Craft and Bolton Brown

Bolton Brown inking stone, reproduced from Bolton Brown, “The Process of Lithography,” Pencil Points 4, no. 3 (March 1923).

Bolton Coit Brown (1864–1936) liked to set himself seemingly insurmountable physical and artistic challenges. Best known today as the collaborating printer of George Bellows’s (1882–1925) great lithographs of the 1920s, Brown was also an accomplished mountaineer and a serious artist in his own right …Read More

Jean Brown’s Avant-Garde Archive

Left: George Brecht, Deck (1966), plastic box with offset label, containing deck of offset playing cards, 7.4 x 9.4 x 2.2 cm. Published by Fluxus, New York. Right: Brecht’s letter to George Maciunas. Jean Brown papers, Getty Research Institute, 890164. ©2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Germany.

A remarkably prescient collection of documents on 20th-century art, the Jean Brown archive was the first major acquisition by the Getty Research Institute to include avant-garde movements and postwar artistic practices. When the GRI was established in 1983 …Read More