Category Archives: printmaking

Black Meme: A History of the Images That Make Us

By Legacy Russell (2024)

In Black Meme, Legacy Russell, award-winning author of the groundbreaking Glitch Feminism, explores the “meme” as mapped to Black visual culture from 1900 to the present, mining both archival and contemporary media.

Russell argues that without the contributions of Black people, digital culture would not exist in its current form. These meditations include the circulation of lynching postcards; why a mother allowed Jet magazine to publish a picture of her dead son, Emmett Till; and how the televised broadcast of protesters in Selma changed the debate on civil rights.

Questions of the media representation of Blackness come to the fore as Russell considers how a citizen-recorded footage of the LAPD beating Rodney King became the first viral video. And the Anita Hill hearings shed light on the media’s creation of the Black icon. The ownership of Black imagery and death is considered in the story of Tamara Lanier’s fight to reclaim the daguerreotypes of her enslaved ancestors from Harvard. Meanwhile the live broadcast on Facebook of the murder of Philando Castile by the police after he was stopped for a broken taillight forces us to bear witness to the persistent legacy of the Black meme.

Through imagery, memory and technology Black Meme shows us how images of Blackness have always been central to our understanding of the modern world.

Posted in art, culture, history, media, photography, politics, printmaking, semiotics, technology, theory

Contact: Art and the Pull of Print

By Jennifer L. Roberts (2024)

In process and technique, printmaking is an art of physical contact. From woodcut and engraving to lithography and screenprinting, every print is the record of a contact event: the transfer of an image between surfaces, under pressure, followed by release. Contact reveals how the physical properties of print have their own poetics and politics and provides a new framework for understanding the intelligence and continuing relevance of printmaking today.

The seemingly simple physics of printmaking brings with it an array of metamorphoses that give expression to many of the social and conceptual concerns at the heart of modern and contemporary art. Exploring transformations such as reversal, separation, and interference, Jennifer Roberts explores these dynamics in the work of Christiane Baumgartner, David Hammons, Edgar Heap of Birds, Jasper Johns, Corita Kent, Glenn Ligon, Julie Mehretu, Robert Rauschenberg, and many other leading artists who work at the edge of the medium and beyond.

Posted in art, culture, design, history, language, media, printmaking, technology, theory

Pictures of the Floating World

By Sarah E. Thompson (2022)

In this attractive volume, Sarah E. Thompson, curator of Japanese art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, provides a highly readable overview of the cultural and artistic history of ukiyo-e, showcasing 120 exceptional prints from the museum’s world-class collection, by masters including Utamaro, Hokusai, and Hiroshige. She explores each of the principal genres in turn: beauty and fashion, the kabuki theater, landscape, nature, history and literature, and fantasy.

Posted in art, culture, history, printmaking

Piranesi and the Modern Age


By Victor Plahte Tschudi (2022)

The etchings of the Italian printmaker, architect, and antiquarian Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–78) have long mesmerized viewers. But, as Victor Plahte Tschudi shows, artists and writers of the modern era found in these works — Piranesi’s visions of contradictory space, endless vistas, and self-perpetuating architecture — a formulation of the modern. In Piranesi and the Modern Age, Tschudi explores the complex appropriation and continual rediscoveries of Piranesi by modern literature, photography, art, film, and architecture.

Posted in architecture, art, cinema, culture, media, printmaking, psychology

The Renaissance of Etching


By Catherine Jenkins, Nadine M. Orenstein, and Freyda Spira (2019)

The etching of images on metal, originally used as a method for decorating armor, was first employed as a printmaking technique at the end of the 15th century. This in-depth study explores the origins of the etched print, its evolution from decorative technique to fine art, and its spread across Europe in the early Renaissance, leading to the professionalization of the field in the Netherlands in the 1550s. Beautifully illustrated, this book features the work of familiar Renaissance artists, including Albrecht Dürer, Jan Gossart, Pieter Breughel the Elder, and Parmigianino, as well as lesser known practitioners, such as Daniel Hopfer and Lucas van Leyden, whose pioneering work paved the way for later printmakers like Rembrandt and Goya. The book also includes a clear and fascinating description of the etching process, as well as an investigation of how the medium allowed artists to create highly detailed prints that were more durable than engravings and more delicate than woodblocks.

Posted in art, exhibition, history, printmaking, technology

Printmaking in Paris: The Rage for Prints at the Fin de Siècle

By Fleur Roos Rosa de Carvalho and Marije Vellekoop (2013)

In the years between 1890 and 1905, Paris witnessed a revolution in printmaking. Before this time, prints had primarily served reproductive or political ends, but, as the century came to a close, artistic quality became paramount, and printmaking blossomed into an autonomous art form. This gorgeously illustrated and accessibly written book looks at the circumstances in which this terrific new enthusiasm for prints unfolded; the principal players in its development; and the various printmaking techniques being used.

Posted in art, culture, design, exhibition, history, printmaking

Fluxus Forms: Scores, Multiples, and the Eternal Network

By Natilee Harren (2020)

While today the Fluxus collective is recognized for its radical neo-avant-garde works of performance, publishing, and relational art and its experimental, interdisciplinary approach, it was not taken seriously in its own time. With Fluxus Forms, Natilee Harren captures the magnetic energy of Fluxus activities and collaborations that emerged at the intersections of art, music, performance, and literature. The book offers insight into the nature of art in the 1960s as it traces the international development of the collective’s unique intermedia works — including event scores and Fluxbox multiples — that irreversibly expanded the boundaries of contemporary art.

Posted in art, culture, design, history, media, music, printmaking

Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics

Edited by Louis Marchesano (2020)

German printmaker Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945) is known for her unapologetic social and political imagery; her representations of grief, suffering, and struggle; and her equivocal ideas about artistic and political labels. This volume explores Kollwitz’s obsessive printmaking experiments with the evolution of her images, and assesses the unusually rich progressions of preparatory drawings, proofs, and rejected images behind Kollwitz’s compositions of struggling workers, rebellious peasants, and grieving
mothers.

Posted in art, biography, exhibition, politics, printmaking

The Print Before Photography: An Introduction to European Printmaking 1550 – 1820


By Antony Griffiths (2016)

A landmark publication — beautifully illustrated with over 300 prints from the British Museum’s renowned collection — which traces the history of printmaking from its earliest days until the arrival of photography. Copperplate printmaking, developed alongside Gutenberg’s invention of moveable type, was a huge business employing thousands of people, and dominating image production for nearly four centuries across the whole of Europe. Its techniques and influence remained very stable until the nineteenth century, when this world was displaced by new technologies, of which photography was by far the most important. Print Before Photography examines the unrivaled importance of printmaking in its golden age, illustrated through the British Museum’s outstanding collection of prints. This unique and significant book is destined to be a leading reference in print scholarship, and will be of interest to anyone with an interest in this era of art history.

Posted in art, history, media, printmaking, technology

The Women of Atelier 17: Modernist Printmaking in Midcentury New York

By Christina Weyl (2019)

In this important book Christina Weyl takes us into the experimental New York print studio Atelier 17 and highlights the women whose work there advanced both modernism and feminism in the 1940s and 1950s. Weyl focuses on eight artists — Louise Bourgeois, Minna Citron, Worden Day, Dorothy Dehner, Sue Fuller, Alice Trumbull Mason, Louise Nevelson, and Anne Ryan—who bent the technical rules of printmaking and blazed new aesthetic terrain with their etchings, engravings, and woodcuts. She reveals how Atelier 17 operated as an uncommonly egalitarian laboratory for revolutionizing print technique, style, and scale. It facilitated women artists’ engagement with modernist styles, providing a forum for extraordinary achievements that shaped postwar sculpture, fiber art, neo-Dadaism, and the Pattern and Decoration movement. Atelier 17 fostered solidarity among women pursuing modernist forms of expression, providing inspiration for feminist collective action in the 1960s and 1970s. The Women of Atelier 17 also identifies for the first time nearly 100 women, many previously unknown, who worked at the studio, and provides incisive illustrated biographies of selected artists.

Biographical Supplement: https://atelier17.christinaweyl.com

Posted in art, biography, education, feminism, printmaking