A Guide to the Exhibition
4 October – 19 December, 2018
International Print Center New York
508 West 26th Street, 5A
New York, NY 10001
Katherine Coogan, Judy Hecker, Isabelle Ivory,
Nicole Noel, Lucy Plowe, Ioann Popov, Susan Tallman
International Print Center New York (IPCNY) is New York’s flagship non-profit arts institution dedicated to the innovative presentation of prints by emerging, established, national, and international artists. Founded in 2000, the print center is a vibrant hub and exhibition space located in New York’s Chelsea gallery district. IPCNY’s artist-centered approach engages the medium in all its varied potential, and includes guest-curated exhibitions that present dynamic, new scholarship as well as biannual New Prints open-call exhibitions for work created in the last twelve months. A lively array of public programs engages audiences more deeply with the works on display. A 501(c)(3) institution, IPCNY depends on foundation, government, and individual support, as well as members’ contributions to fund its programs.
Support for all programs and exhibitions at IPCNY is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and by Foundations including: Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., the Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Inc., Deborah Loeb Brice Foundation, The Greenwich Collection Ltd., Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Jockey Hollow Foundation, PECO Foundation, the Sweatt Foundation, the Thompson Family Foundation, the New York Community Trust, and the Wege Foundation; along with major individual support.
Fiona Banner (British, born 1966)
Top Gun (1996). Gelatin silver bromide print, sheet 11 3/4 x 25 1/4 inches. Edition of 25. Printed by Augustus Martin, London. Published by The Vanity Press and Laure Genillard, London. Collection of Judy Hecker and Matt Furman.
The written word is at the core of Fiona Banner’s art inherently, in her artist’s books and posters; pictorially, in the texts she prints over appropriated images; or obsessively, in the wordscapes she makes summarizing iconic films. She founded her imprint, The Vanity Press, with the publication of The Nam (1997), a 1,000-page compilation of six well known Vietnam films described by the artist in their entirety, spliced together.
This Top Gun print is based on Banner’s first wordscape, a 1994 freehand drawing in which she wrote out a description of the entire 1986 Tom Cruise film from the viewer’s perspective. (For the print the text was typeset.) The print’s proportions mimic those of a movie screen, but its size—just 10 by 23 inches—renders the text nearly illegible. Containing the whole narrative in one small frame, Top Gun conjures both the epic grandeur and the ephemeral slippage of cinema.
Barbara Bloom (American, born 1951)
Watermark III from Esprit de l’Escalier (1988) (pictured). One from the series of seven
watermarked handmade paper sheets, framed with lightbox, 37 x 31 x 2 inches (lightbox). Edition of 15. Printed and published by Dieu Donné Papermill, New York. Courtesy of
the artist and David Lewis, New York.
Watermark portrait teacup from The Reign of Narcissism (1989). Watermarked porcelain teacup and printed saucer, 2 1/4 x 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches. Fabricated by Barbara Flügel Porzellan, Selb, Austria. Published by the artist. Private collection.
The backlit paper sheet on view here is one of seven included in Barbara Bloom’s 1988 project Esprit de l’Escalier. Like its siblings, it offers hazy “proof” of the existence of UFOs, in the form of a photographic watermark made from sensationalist newspaper clippings. Visible only when lit from behind, the otherwise blank sheet requires the viewer to suspect the presence of an image—to be predisposed to belief—much like evidence of the paranormal. The tease of the porcelain teacup from Bloom’s Reign of Narcissism is slightly different: as the drinker drains the dregs from the cup, light passing though its base reveals a glowing cameo of the artist. (See article by Kate McCrickard this issue).
Jacques Callot (French, 1592–1635)
Mysteries of the Passion (Variae Tum Passionis Christi, Tum Vitiae Beatae Mariae Virginis) (ca. 1631). Complete set of 20 etchings plus frontispiece by Abraham Bosse, seven with a diameter of 1 1/4 inches; seven with a length of 1 7/8 inches, and six with a length of 1 1/2 inches. Collection of Harris Schrank, New York.
Best known for his 1633 etching series The Miseries and Misfortunes of War, one of the first works of “anti-war” art in Europe, Jacques Callot focused almost entirely on skillful draftsmanship and printmaking, fitting grand themes into small spaces. To enhance the precision of his etching, he introduced a new hard varnish and a specialized type etching needle, the échoppe, which mimicked the taper and swell of engraved line. In Florence from 1612 to 1621, he drew battles, genre scenes, and biblical stories, and recorded the court pageants of the Medici. Returning to his hometown of Nancy, France, he concentrated on religious imagery in works such as the Mysteries of the Passion (ca. 1631). While most Callot prints are small, the ovals and rondels of this series are less than two inches in diameter; their subjects, which survey the life of Jesus, from the Annunciation to the Entombment, are best seen under magnification. Their scale reflects their intended use: they were meant to be cut out and mounted on medallions to be worn as protection against the Plague.
Megan Foster (American, born 1977)
Untitled from Prints for Protest (2016). Screenprint, sheet 22 x 15 inches. Edition of 50.
Printed by the artist, New York. Published by Prints for Protest, Providence, RI. Courtesy of the artist.
Megan Foster’s screenprint was created in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, when Foster joined with a number of RISD colleagues, students and alumni in founding Prints for Protest, a project that raises money for organizations that protect civil rights, such as the ACLU, Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood, and others. With a minimum donation of $25, the prints were meant to be accessible to a broad public.
Foster frequently uses silhouettes and flat color forms to recast magazine clippings, film stills and staged photographs, and to juxtapose the natural and artificial—wild animals assume glow-in-the-dark colors, trees stand black against psychedelic skies. In her 2016 contribution to Prints for Protest, however, the silhouette of a flag at half mast is set against a near-black, charcoal gray sky. Flying in darkness, the flag is doubly strange, as flags are meant to be lowered at sunset—a symbol of mourning that is also a harbinger of civil order lurching toward chaos.
Levi David van Gelder (Dutch, 1815–1878)
Micrographic Composition for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur (ca. 1865). Lithograph on paper backed on linen, with twelve original collage elements, 46 1/2 x 35 1/4 inches. Published by Joseph Brillant and Meyer Rabinowitz, New York. Private collection, New York.
The Jewish tradition of using tiny lettering to form pictures from the written word dates back to the ninth century. Most examples were completed in pen-and-ink, but in the mid-19th century, the Amsterdam-born artist and lithographer Levi David van Gelder produced a number of complex micrographic lithographs. The earliest, produced in Amsterdam in the 1840s, interweave texts in Dutch and Hebrew with biblical and other vignettes. Most of these were designed as mizrah plaques, meant to be hung in Jewish homes to indicate the direction of prayer. In 1853, van Gelder moved to Great Britain, where he adopted English as the lexical medium for his artwork and began experimenting with larger format works. After immigrating with his family to the U.S., he settled in Chicago in 1864, where he published at least three monumental lithographic devotional plaques, significantly larger and exponentially more intricate than his earlier Dutch works. A Freemason (he served as the Captain General of the Siloam Masonic Lodge in Chicago), van Gelder frequently augmented scriptural material with Masonic devices such as the square and compass or the Eye of Providence. His compositions packed illustrative medallions in and around ornamental text, large and miniscule, sometimes further elaborated with collaged materials in color—a singular melding of 19th-century commercial design, religious tradition, and intuitive horror vacui. Art in Print will be publishing a monographic article by David Wachtel on van Gelder’s career in the coming months.
William Kentridge (South African, born 1955)
Sheets of Evidence (2009). Book of 18 watermarked pages, 12 1/2 x 15 inches. Edition of 20. Printed and published by Dieu Donné, New York. Collection of Susan Gosin.
Sheets of Evidence pulls together William Kentridge’s attentiveness to interpersonal drama, figurative drawing, printed language and the sequential framing of film. The book’s eighteen pages bear his drawings and quick bursts of text, embedded as watermarks, which only become visible when the page is lifted by the viewer. What is then seen—a series of intimate marital moments and hidden thoughts—affirms both the complexity of desire and the dubiousness of scrutinizing the lives of others. (See article by Kate McCrickard this issue).
Matthew Kenyon (American, born 1977) and Douglas Easterly (American, born 1968)
Notepad (third edition, 2015). Printed notepads, 11 x 8 1/2 x 13/16 inches each. Open edition. Printed and published by SWAMP, Buffalo, NY. Courtesy of the artists.
Kenyon and Easterly’s seemingly innocuous yellow note pads are latter day Trojan horses: under magnification their ruled lines can be seen to be composed of words—the names and death dates of Iraqi civilians killed during and following the 2003 American invasion. The minuteness of the text enabled it to enter United States government archives, when the pads were used unwittingly as office supplies on Capitol Hill, or by civilians, knowingly, to write to their representatives. In Kenyon’s words, Notepad creates a “dispersed, circulating memorial.” (See interview between Kenyon and Johnny Plastini this issue.)
Glenn Ligon (American, born 1960)
Untitled (Cancellation Prints) (1992 and 2003). Etching with aquatint, sugar-lift and spitbite, diptych, sheet 28 1/4 x 20 inches each. Edition of 15 with 5 APs. Printed by Burnet Editions, New York. Published by the artist. Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, and Thomas Dane Gallery, London. ©Glenn Ligon.
Glenn Ligon’s art explores cultural and social identities through texts and artifacts of American history and literature. His 1992 Four Untitled Etchings used stenciled texts from Zora Neale Hurston’s 1928 essay “How It Feels To Be Colored Me” and Ralph Ellison’s 1952 novel, Invisible Man. As in his larger oilstick word paintings and works on paper, the letters gradually decay as the text moves from top to bottom. The two Hurston quotes, which acknowledge the author’s sensation of feeling “most colored” when “thrown against sharp white background” were printed in black ink on white paper; the Ellison quote, which deals with the invisibility of being a black man in white America, was printed black-on-black.
In 2003 Ligon returned to the two Hurston plates, which had been struck through with large Xs after completion of the edition. (Such defacement has historically been a standard print practice to prevent subsequent expansions of a limited editions). The diptych Cancellation Prints subverts this protocol, by editioning the cancelled plates, and complicates the implications of Hurston’s statement by printing it in ivory ink (close to a pale causasian skin tone) on white paper, suggesting that questions of visibility, invisibility, social context and self-perception are not as simple as black and white.
Christian Marclay (American and Swiss, born 1955)
Untitled (Ghost) (1988). Altered record cover, 12 1/4 x 12 1/4 inches. Unique. Private collection.
Sound and its representation have been Christian Marclay’s metier for four decades. In performances, installations, sculptures, wall works and, most famously, his 24-hour video The Clock (2010), Marclay has evoked the structure, temporal passage, social implications and perceptual phenomena of sound. Active as a DJ on the improvised music scene of the 1980s, Marclay made use of phonographic records and album covers as material for installations and collages. Untitled (Ghost) (1988) is a found album cover from which Marclay removed identifying language, leaving what initially appears to be simply a square of worn and faded white cardboard—a circular ring of wear marks attests to the record it once housed, while gray smudges gradually resolve into the shadows of a face, faintly printed to begin with, now abraded into near invisibility—the look of the sounds of silence.
Christian Marclay (American and Swiss, born 1955)
Silence (2015). Blind embossing, 14 3/4 x 19 7/8 inches. Edition of 25. Printed by Huguenot Editions at Worton Hall Studios, London. Published by Aargauer Kunsthaus, Switzerland. Private collection. Courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.
Marclay’s Silence (2015) brings together the artist’s ongoing exploration of onomatopoeia—the soundless spelling out of noise—and of Japanese manga comics, in which the look of sound is given graphic voice. An uninked “blind” embossment, it replicates an enlarged manga clipping, and sets in play a complicated game of substitutions: a work of visual art that is almost impossible to see but can be felt, denoting a written word that is almost impossible to read, invoking sound that cannot be heard.
Boris Margo (American, born Ukraine. 1902–1995)
Towers (1961) (pictured). Embossed cellocut, sheet 19 1/2 x 26 1/8 inches. Edition of 25. Printed by the artist. Courtesy of Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of Stanley Zimiles.
G-4 (1961). Embossed cellocut, sheet 10 7/16 x 13 1/8 inches. Unique. Printed by the artist. Courtesy of Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of Murray Zimiles.
E-5 (1961). Embossed cellocut, sheet 10 1/4 x 13 5/8 inches. Unique. Printed by the artist. Courtesy of Whitney Museum of American Art,New York; Gift of Stanley Zimiles.
In 1932 the painter Boris Margo invented his own print medium, “cellocut,” using acetone to liquify celluloid film and build up relief plates that he printed in multiple colors. In the ’60s, however, Margo began making inkless cellocuts that demanded slower, more deliberate viewing. While a few were editioned, many, like G-4 and E-5 here, were unique, experimental works through which he investigated concerns with atomic energy and cosmic life forces. (See article by Faye Hirsch this issue.)
Kerry James Marshall (American, born 1955)
Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein (2010). Hardground etchings with aquatint, sheet 24 1/2 x 19 inches each. Editions of 50. Printed and published by Paulson Bott Press, Berkeley, CA. Courtesy of the artist and Paulson Fontaine Press, Berkeley, CA.
One of the most important American painters of his generation, Kerry James Marshall committed to depicting only black figures early on in his career, using the figurative tropes of the European art historical canon to create new narratives of contemporary African American experience. In 2009, Marshall painted a pair of standing black nudes, male and female, which he titled Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein. The following year he created two etchings of the same subjects. The figures take confrontational, full frontal postures that, like the title, suggest the potential threat that black bodies convey in racist tropes, but their nakedness and isolation leave them pointedly vulnerable. While in the two paintings the figures are set against color backgrounds and contextualized with props, in the prints darkness and simplicity rule: the bodies are formed of a tight network of etched lines, set against a solid black aquatint background. Their presense is discernible mainly through scattered fragments of white, the negative space between Marshall’s lines, forcing the viewer to look hard to see what is being shown.
Chris Ofili (British, born 1968)
Black Shunga 8 (2008–15) from Black Shunga. Portfolio of 11 etchings with gravure on
pigmented paper, sheet 26 3/8 x 17 1/2 inches each. Edition of 20. Printed and published by
Two Palms, NY. Courtesy of the artist and Two Palms, NY.
British painter Chris Ofili has drawn on cultural sources ranging from the Bible to the blues, and employed unexpected materials, from beads to (famously) elephant dung. His “Blue Rider” paintings, begun after his move to Trinidad in 2005, were named for the influential Munich artists’ group that hoped to synthesize art, music and spirit. But Ofili’s paintings are literally blue—worked in deep azures and silver, meant to evoke the dwindling visibility of Caribbean twilight.
The eleven etchings of Black Shunga are still more teasing in their game of revelation and concealment. Coated with color-shifting metallic powder, then printed with blotches that might be clouds or waterstains, the prints change character with the fall of light and angle of sight. It is only when seen up close that the thread-like silver lines of drawing become visible, and only when one is intimately engaged with the surface do those lines resolve into the outlines of human figures—men and women involved in a variety of sexual acts. These images derive from Shunga—the erotic prints of Edo period Japan (1603 to 1868). Ofili’s delicate drawings echo the sinuous descriptive line of those woodblocks, but his figures are hollow, open to the unstable metallic blue and black of the background. This there-and-not-there quality expands the eroticism of the subject, making complicit the viewer who seeks pleasure through looking.
Philippe Parreno (French, born 1964)
Three screenprints from the series Fade to Black:
A Wise Chinese Monk Shitting Light, lamp prototype for Alejandro Jodorowsky, 2006 (2013)
(pictured), sheet 39 1/2 x 55 1/2 inches.
Vermillion Sands, 2004 (2013), sheet 39 1/2 x 55 1/2 inches.
A Penny For Your Thoughts, website, 2006 (2013), sheet 55 1/2 x 39 1/2 inches.
Screenprints in phosphorescent ink (shown unilluminated and illuminated). Editions of 6. Printed and published by the artist. Courtesy of the artist and 1301PE, Los Angeles.
Fade to Black (2005). Book of 11 screenprints in phosphorescent ink, 13 3/8 x 9 3/8 inches.
Edition of 520 unsigned and 60 signed copies. Printed and published by mfc-michèle didier,
Brussels. Collection of David Platzker/Specific Object, New York.
Phillipe Parreno’s Fade to Black project is a collection of images printed in phosphorescent ink, documenting the artist’s unrealized proposals. Concerned with the broader human experience of art rather than with objects in isolation, Parreno’s exhibitions employ sound, film, installations, sculpture and other forms in carefully crafted productions that reflect on memory, fiction and reality. Fade to Black consists of an artist’s book and two poster series, one printed on brightly colored papers and one on white. When encountered in a lit room, the presence of the images can be perceived only in that the ink imparts a slight textural change to the surface; turn the lights out, however, and the pictures phosphoresce, emitting the light they absorbed during exposure. The ink then gradually loses its “charge” and, as promised, fades to black. Seemingly cavalier, the prints invoke the most fundamental of cosmological properties: light, darkness and time.
William Pratt (American, 1822–1893)
Emancipation Proclamation Abraham Lincoln (Emancipations Proklamation Abraham Lincoln) (1865) (pictured). Lithograph, sheet 15 3/16 x 12 inches.
Artist Unknown, attributed to William Pratt (American, 1822–1893)
National Platform: as adopted by the Chicago Republican Convention, 1868 (1868). Lithograph, sheet 14 3/16 x 11 inches.
Both printed and published by A. Hageboeck, Davenport, IA. Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, MA.
William Henry Pratt was a self-taught calligrapher and natural scientist who for much of his life taught penmanship, first in Illinois, then in Davenport, Iowa. In the 1860s, his remarkable skills and ingenuity came together in a series of portrait broadsides produced with the Davenport lithographer A. Hageboeck, in which he rendered likenesses of American heroes through handwritten texts: Washington’s face emerged from the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, Ulysses S. Grant’s from the words of the Republican party platform during Reconstruction, and Abraham Lincoln’s visage took form from the Emancipation Proclam-ation. This last must have been particularly popular as examples survive in both English and German. Pratt’s interweaving of landmark policy and portraiture in these prints encapsulates the way that political leaders were remembered.
Johann Michael Püchler (German, active 1680–1702)
The Perpetual Calendar with Portraits of Leopold I and his sons Joseph and Charles (1702).
Engraving, sheet 11 x 8 1/16 inches. Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase,
Charles Z. Offin Art Fund Inc., Gift 2018.
Portrait of Martin Luther (ca. 1680–1702). Engraving, sheet 3 3/4 x 2 5/8 inches. Lent by
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Jean A. Bonna Gift, 2007.
Born into a family of writing masters, Püchler made his name with elaborate engravings that incorporate micrographic text, including portraits, religious images and courtly productions such as his Perpetual Calendar. As in the Jewish micrographic tradition, texts are carefully matched to the depicted subject. In his portrait of Martin Luther, for example, the hair is built of excerpts from the apocryphal book of Jesus Sirach, which Luther translated. (See article by Freyda Spira this issue.)
Ad Reinhardt (American, 1913–1967)
#1 (pictured), #8, #9 and #10 from 10 Screenprints by Ad Reinhardt (1966). Screenprints, sheets 22 x 17 inches each. Editions of 250. Printed by Sirocco Screenprints, Inc. and Ives-Sillman, Inc., New Haven, CT. Published by the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT. Courtesy of Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; transfer from the Frances Mulhall Achilles Library, Special Collections, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Reinhardt’s ten screenprints employ the geometric compositions and almost imperceptible chromatic distinctions of his well-known black paintings, but in their sequencing, they produce narrative and perceptual effects that his individual paintings do not. In the portfolio, Reinhardt strategically varies the near-black hues and values such that the viewer’s eye, looking closely and following the progression from one print to the next, is slowly prepared to see the final and densest print. (See article by Brian T. Leahy this issue.)
Art Spiegelman (American, born 1948) and Françoise Mouly (French, born 1955)
9/11/2001 (2001). Cover design for The New Yorker magazine, issue 24 Sept. 2001, 10 3/4 x
7 7/8 inches. Private collection.
Created in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, this New Yorker cover appears initially solid black, until the silhouettes of the Twin Towers materialize like ghosts when light falls just right. The cover was a collaboration between spouses Art Spiegelman, who was a staff artist for the New Yorker at the time, and Françoise Mouly, the magazine’s art editor since 1993. In the days after 9/11, Mouly felt that no image could do the tragedy justice and wanted to print a black cover. Spiegelman had created an image that underscored the jarring shock of the tragedy, depicting the Twin Towers covered in a black shroud and set against the blue fall sky. He wanted his cover to run, but seeing that it wasn’t likely, he suggested to Mouly that she add black silhouettes of the towers to the black cover. Mouly drew up the cover, giving credit to Spiegelman, and it ran in the September 24 issue. Seventeen years later, it still captures the sudden void of 9/11 and its aftermath.
Timorous Beasties(established 1990, Glasgow)
Alistair McAuley (Scottish, born 1967) and Paul Simmons (Scottish, born 1967)
Devil Damask (2006) detail. Flock wallpaper, roll 10 meters x 52 cm wide, repeat 72.6 cm.
Open edition. Printed and published by Timorous Beasties, Glasgow. Courtesy of Timorous
Beasties, Glasgow. ©2006 Timorous Beasties.
Producers of wallpapers and textiles, Timorous Beasties was established in Glasgow in 1990 by designers Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons. Their Devil Damask Flock Wallpaper is representative of their practice of merging old-fashioned formats with contemporary content. Damask is a type of patterned weaving that came to Europe in the 14th century from the Middle East (the name derives from Damascus), and widely familiar today through its use in table linens. Though they can employ different colors Damask patterns are often composed of monochrome fibers of different degrees of sheen, making the “image” visually elusive.Timorous Beasties’ wallpaper uses flocking to mimic the textural variation of damask, and while the ornate pattern is suggestive of the paisley and floral motifs typical of damask linens, careful viewing reveals devil heads lurking amid the leaves and petals.
Building on the British Arts and Crafts tradition, with its Ruskinian emphasis on human society and the function of natural beauty, Timorous Beasties’ designs bring elements of nature into these spaces—such as the leaves included in Devil Damask Flock Wallpaper—with an innovative, often ironic take on traditional designs.
Susan York (American, born 1951)
Achromatopsia 1 (yellow) (pictured) (orange) (red) (2015). Three double-sided lithographs,
sheet 15 7/8 x 9 3/4 inches each. Edition of 20. Printed and published by Tamarind Institute,
Albuquerque, NM. Courtesy of Tamarind Institute, Albuquerque, NM.
Susan York is a sculptor who often works with cast graphite, setting clean lines against the material’s inherent irregularities, and engaging the surrounding space. The relationship between graphite as a drawing medium and graphite as a dimensional material is explicit in her current installation for the Drawing Center Foundation, which consists of graphite replicas of visible parts of the building’s structural base, as well as graphite drawings of the same.
Though most of her work is in grey and black, Achromatopsia I (yellow) (orange) (red)
explores how people who have total colorblindness see the world. Each print is a double-sided lithograph: each recto is printed in a different shade of gray; each verso is printed with yellow, orange or red. Framed so that the sheet floats in front of the backing board, the prints appear to glow—the colors reflecting off the backing to create a chromatic aura around the gray rectangle. An echo of color, set off by ink that remains out of sight.