26 December, 2008

New York Graphic Workshop

The New York Graphic Workshop: 1964 – 1970
September 28, 2008 - January 18, 2009

Blanton Museum of Art
The University of Texas at Austin


Interactive Feature

The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin is pleased to present The New York Graphic Workshop: 1964 – 1970, the first comprehensive presentation of a crucial, yet little-known episode in the history of American and Latin American Conceptual art. The Blanton is recognized as a leader in the scholarship and presentation of Latin American art, and building on the museum's 2007 exhibition, The Geometry of Hope, this exhibition further explores the contributions of Latin American artists to the modern and contemporary art historical narrative.

The exhibition examines the Conceptualist movement of the 1960s and '70s through the printmaking practices of the New York Graphic Workshop (NYGW). Founded in 1965 by three young Latin American artists in New York—Luis Camnitzer, José Guillermo Castillo, and Liliana Porter—the group's mission was to redefine the practice of printmaking, focusing on its mechanical and repetitive nature as opposed to its traditional techniques and aesthetics. Moreover, the group employed radical printmaking practices—printing, for example, on the side of a ream of paper- exploring the idea of what actually constitutes a print. The NYGW examined the ideas and conceptual meaning behind printmaking, and sought to utilize the medium in both alternative and accessible ways. As stated in the artists' first manifesto, "The printing industry prints on bottles, boxes, electronic circuits, etc. Printmakers, however, continue to make prints with the same elements used by [Albrecht] Dürer. The act of printing in editions, the act of publishing, is more important than the work carried out on a printing plate."

In the 1960s, The New York Graphic Workshop established a cooperative space that promoted an exchange of ideas between artists and served as a collective center for professional printmakers to teach, exhibit and experiment. One of the most interesting aspects of the NYGW was its unusual printmaking practices, and means of presenting new artworks—holding exhibitions by mail, distributing a cookie as a multiple, exhibiting in a safe deposit box on 57th Street and announcing a non-existent exhibition as part of Information, a show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1970.

Showcasing over 70 prints, drawings and mixed media works, The New York Graphic Workshop: 1964 -1970, examines the philosophies of the group's founders and explore the theoretical possibilities of printmaking through examples by Camnitzer, Castillo and Porter, along with leading contemporary artists of the period—Max Neuhaus, José Luis Cuevas and Salvador Dalí—whose works were produced by the Workshop on the artists' behalf. On view in the Blanton's Butler Gallery on the first floor, the exhibition design and installation reflects the mission of the NYGW.

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