Command Print: The 2008 Southern Graphics Council Conference
Virginia Commonwealth Univ., Richmond VA ( 3/26- 3/30)
Well last week was a busy one with Richard Serra here at LACMA talking with Lynne Cooke (providing some very interesting insights into how he works- did you know he hired his riggers after seeing them try to extract a helicopter off the top of the Pan Am building?), and wrapping up on the the visit to the SG conference. I’m a bad typist at best, and today have I have a sliced finger so my update will be quite casual- more perhaps later. So much interesting info and images!
As you may know if you have been to SG it is a whirlwind so the pix and info I provide here are subject to error-it’s a living record, so please correct me if you see this and I misspelled your name, quoted you wrong, incorrect link etc. SG does not provide contact list for attendees, and we all know google, though great, can be flawed…
The theme this year was on how printmaking was one of the first methods of replication and how it is integrated with the variety of multiples we use today- mass production, digital media and the internet. Pix are below…
Peter Nesbett and Shelly Bancroft from Art on Paper, magazine editors, talked about how they see themselves as distributors of the multiple far beyond the edition the artist can produce in the studio, by providing imagery to their circulation of 40k and up and where the print sits on the line between mass production and unique object. On the practical side they covered how things get printed in Art on Paper, for example they are likely to choose vertical images over horizontal, and strong colors vs. slight images due to the physical parameters of the magazine.
They discussed fetishing the reproduction with their “Museo Reproducciones Fotografica” misrepresentation in print, with copies of Jacob Lawrence’s “Migration of the Negro” paintings, and the idea of art without artists with a show of unauthorized by the arts, “approximations” of Cady Noland’s work. Triple Candie in Harlem is closing as it’s current incarnation but will continue!
I was intrigued by Charles Beneke’s idea in the panel “Printmaking is the Discourse” of how printmakers exist on the margins and perhaps we like it that way- kind of as an avant-garde idea. He had a humorous take on it showing maps of all of his schools where the printmaking labs were relegated to the edge or basements or campus- those brought knowing laughter from the audience.
Other ideas during this panel were how printmakers use of commercial tools, as they are developed and after they are defunct for artistic purposes, high and low multiples throughout the years, and the value of hand skill vs. the value of intellectual property, and teaching printmaking and learning through the body- by doing.Co-chairs: Charles Beneke and Jean Dibble Panelists: Dean Dass, Phyllis McGibbon
More art dicussed… House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, Art on the Edge by Linda Weintraub , Dave Hickey, Why Art Cannot be Taught by James Elkins, Stanley William Hayter, Beth Grabowski, Jane Hirshfield, Qiu Zhijie Grinding the Stele (tombstone) Veronica’s Veil, Chet Baker, Lucas Cranach
On the local front, Sandow Birk’s (Otis grad!) talk included his works “Leading Causes of Death in America”, printed at Hui Press, his 4ft x 8ft wood block on the war in Iraq, “In Smog and Thunder” an animated film about Los Angeles vs. San Francisco. He also talked about his process working with the Smithsonian fellowship and how they gave him a small cubicle to work in, so he created a series of small drawings ad made a building structure with the drawings about the Constitution as a living document. And check out dantefilm.com, a work in progress.
Leslie Dill gave a wonderful lecture on her work involving the body and language. She asked that the lights be completely off as we listened to her and looked at the her images, so we could all experience voice and language without being distracted by everyone around us. It was mesmerizing. See more of her work at Landfall Press. or artnet. Also check out her opera collaboration with Thomas Edward Morgan, Divide Light, based on the poetry of Emily Dickinson. This will be in Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga, CA this August. The music is amazing-and not so far from LA. Road trip!
In Bits and Atoms: Tangibility, Transience, and Digital Production, the value of light, pixels and transience in the multiple and the value as compare to physical methods was discussed. Sometimes the similarity of “how did they do that” which crosses the both traditionally printed and digitally created works. Other topics: practical methods using digital methods for critiquing, simulated crits and species, boundaries and environments not originally intended for art.
Chair: Deborah Cornell, Panelists: Jose Roca, Sue Gollifer, Carlton Newton
The CommandPrint Panel summed up many of the ideas presented and set forth some new ones. Joanna Drucker laid out issues of production, conception, distribution and agency. She noted that as soon as you think there is a formula to success, it is someone else’s, so get your own(!), citing Goya, Posada, R Crumb and Raymond Pettibone as examples. Shelley Langdale came it with the prespective of the museum dis cussing the upcoming Philografika 2010, and Steve Murakishi provided a cheery finish with “we have been dealt the winning hand”, calling on artists to develop new ways of working since market is, in effect, set free for us now.
Chair: Steve Murakishi, Panelists: Mark Harris, Johanna Drucker, Shelley Langdale
:: the modern welcome, print inspectors
:: Virgil Marti’s installation “Ah Sunflower” (made primarily of cast human bones) at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, and other there works by A.J. Bocchino, Douglas Gordon, Markus Linnenbrink
:: cannonball press’s bunker with a pop-out ape man who throws prints and tees for you
:: this sharpie litho demo was so popular i had to stand on a chair and still couldn’t see! if anyone has a hand-out on the process take pity on me and email it…
:: Portfolio exchanges- there were many… Here is the member open exchange- I think over 300 editions were submitted on Thursday, collated (you can see the exhaustion on the faces of the volunteers sitting at the table) and ready to give out by Friday.
:: and here is one print from the many themed exchanges that I could actually see the person’s name on so I hope it is okay to post it! A nice example of a portfolio where the artist made two prints, showing the subject in both a traditional and digital method.
Invitation – 7th Lessedra World Art Print Annual 2008
Work sent (since this is an exhibition you directly send prints) must be received by March 30 so get on that stick.
Country of Representation:United Arab Emirates
June 7th – August 31st 2007 / Opening Reception on June 7th at 6.30 p.m.
Here’s a previous exhibition shot. Wish I could actually see that show in person- what a variety of work.
Los Angeles Printmaking Society’s 19th National Exhibition at the Riverside Art Museum and Occidental College.
An email from the LAPS exhibition chair this week requesting the schedule for the LAPS 20th National was a reminder to me that I’d never posted any pics from the the show this past fall! I’d better get to it before the next one, to be held at The LA Municipal Gallery, creeps up on me too. The 19th exhibition was a large and terrific show taking over all three galleries at the museum. A Satellite exhibition ” Another View”, was held at The Weingart Gallery at Occidental College as well.
More about LAPS exhibition opportunities here.
Here are some fun facts and some images from the exhibition. Check out RAM here. Unfortunately they aren’t currently hosting past exhibitions on their website so you may not see images there but you can see it here!
- The juror for the RAM show was Archana Horsting from Kala Institute in Berkeley, CA
- The juror for the Occidental College Satellite Exhibition was Linda Lyke
- The Honoree was Ynez Johnston, a local painter, printmaker and sculptor
- 1720: images submitted
- 441: artists submitted work from all over the US and Canada
- 95: works selected from individual artists
- 19: works selected from 11 local presses
- 52: artists selected for the Satellite exhibition at Occidental College
- 22: hours to blind jury the show
- 200+ attendees at RAM opening
Jennifer Anderson and Ynez Johnston at the award reception, visitors viewing Ynez Johnston’s work.
Close inspection by Carl Gombert’s and Briar Craig’s art by Margaret White and Nick Bradley from Otis College. A common site with all pieces throughout the evening-just how close can you get to see exactly how it that print is made? Carl Gombert’s print was made from rubber stamps. Brair Craig’s work produced a strong debate on whether or not it was a digital print, but Briar assured me that it was indeed a screenprint, done with a UV ink that doesn’t clog the screen and retains sharp detail.
Visitors in the galleries at RAM and a shot of “Another View” at Occidental College.
Printmaking events going on all over the museum throughout the opening. Linda Dare from Otis takes a hand at the relief printing workshop downstairs in the atrium and an artist whose name I don’t know ( forgive me) prints upstairs in the museum’s print shop.
Watts Tower Visit, February 2008
Embarassing to admit that until this month I had never visited the amazing Watts Tower in South Central built by Simon Rhodia. Here are some pix. Not only is the structure beautiful, but the light cast throughout it from the shadows is pretty amazing. Go! See more info here.
Southern Graphics Printmaking Conference- March 2007
Here’s the scoop on the Southern Graphics Council conference in Kansas City last month. The Southern Graphics Council is the largest print organization in North America and educates the public and promotes awareness and appreciation of the art of making original prints, books, hand-made paper, and drawing. Every year they have a conference and this year I finally attended. Here’s their site.
I presented on the panel “Spirituality and Art” , and we all talked about our reaction to the article “Reconsidering the Spiritual in Art,” by Donald Kuspit, that considers questions of the contemporary definition of spirituality, skepticism versus sincerity, and the compatibility of organized religion and contemporary art. I showed some Otis student work and expounded upon the nature of the discovery of concept through process. To see an excerpt and some prints by Brian Carroll, a current student, check out the page above.
Our panel chair was Shawn Bitters and my fellow panelists were Stephen Goddard, Yoonmi Nam, and Steven Orlando. Once our panel was over we all relaxed and took part in the many great events at the conference. There were demonstrations, open portfolio day, and exhibitions all over downtown Kansas City, which turned out to be a surprisingly cool place. (there’s my major city snobbery showing up – oops- but call me converted to Kansas City!)
The World’s Longest Linoleum Block Print!
Printed in Union Station in Kansas City, it took a lot of elbow grease and wooden spoons to print the longest linoleum block print which will be donated to a Kansas City children’s charity. There are some more pix at this link:
At one of the art openings there was a mad dash for the prints of Peripheral Media Projects who quickly printed tee shirts on the spot with your choice of several designs. Here they are printing my hot magenta Sunshine Whores tee shirt that faded to a dusty pink when it dried, but is still pretty hot.
Flock n’ Roll!
And my personal favorite, the flocking demo, that was jammed packed with mad flocking wannabes climbing on chairs and tables and shoulders to see the dusting action.
Defensive Times….Bricks made from mass media communications, newspapers and hand printed marks were formed into forts and buildings to comment on the media’s fascination with fear mongering.
The Printmakers Manifesto
Printmakers donned flip flops with letters carved in the bottom, inked them up and walked out the manifesto on a large canvas on the floor.
All in all, a fun time, and I was able to bring back many prints and samples from artists everywhere to share with the Otis students. Although I think I created some monster flocker wannabes of our own. Dust bowl printing here we come!
Excerpt from paper given at the “Spirituality and Art” panel
Points, Plots and Ploys: Southern Graphics Council Conference, 2007,
Kansas City, MO
Nancy Jo Haselbacher
“I think that in both the experience of spiritual practice and in that of making art there is mystery. I would say that the mysterious, that allowing for our own un-mediated experience is very important. In both I have experienced what I think of as “the space in-between”
You know that place in spiritual practice, whatever it is for you- right? You are taking action, prayer, chanting, writing, movement-whatever it is. All of a sudden you enter this space where conscious action disappears. I guess one could call it transcendence but I also see it as a very human, bodily place.
Artists are frequently trying to make a work that moves them as as well as others at a very deep level. And in the practice of making art, I think the physical process of making a print is very akin to this. And particularly printmakers, I think the methods that take us there start with a certain type of activity.
We run our work through presses, we transfer images and we don’t actually “see” what happens. The space under the roller, or where the barren meets the paper is the place of an alchemical reaction. But it is one with elements of chance and quite often beyond our control. And day to day, as we work, we have faith, that reaction will happen. For me, it is the same as spiritual practice. The moment of “reaction” or “creation” or “clarity” is fundamentally invisible but inherently similar.
The mechanics are all there for both, visible and apparent; methods of prayer, meditation, houses of worship, tools of the trade, paints and presses, etc. But the process of faith itself is invisible. We just know we have it. Just as how art really gets “made” transcends explanation. At the moment of pure faith and pure creation, something else takes over. What is that? Both practices sit on the edge of experience and the senses. Powerful, but unseen.
Here are a few works by Brian Carroll, a student at Otis College who was experimenting with silkscreen monotypes. Here is one of his comments about them…
“I don’t even know what came over me. I just kept printing and printing. It’s like I wasn’t even there. I just stopped thinking, but when I was done I liked what I saw”
It seemed to me that he had entered that “in -between” space in both his practice and his experience of his own work.
Questions to consider…
What is that “space in-between”, where practice leads to transformation? Is it spiritual or scientific?
Where do art and faith dovetail?
Is the space of possibility lost when art is so predetermined by the market and by theoretical mediation?