Preparation and Programming for “Print Shop”

Here I am, fresh, young and encourageble and I have been given the task of curating four exhibitions on printmaking.  Perhaps my background should be mentioned;  I have a Bachelor of Fine Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (with printmaking as my major area of study) and a Master of Fine Art in Print Media from Cranbrook Academy of Art.  While studing at SAIC I had the opprotunity to intern at two print shops, one a professional shop (Anchor Graphics) the other a cooperative shop (Printmaking Council of New Jersey).  While attending CAA I founded and ran the Bolton Gallery.

So I feel oddly qualified and inept when it comes to curating these exhibitions.  Qualified, for all the reasons listed above, and yet inept because I have very little curatorial experience.  Everyone must take their first steps at some point, and these exhibits are probably mine, the problem is that I don’t want to walk… I want to run!

It is the consensus among print makers that prints are generally an under appreciated art form.  The process is labor intensive and takes a special personality to really understand it, the results can look surprisingly like many other mediums, and that always tricky issue of multiplicity.  “Why is it art if it is not one of a kind?”  But I am not tackling that one here.

I feel especially lucky to have the chance to educate people on the various forms of printmaking, while possibly sparking an interest in buying or making prints for themselves.  I have been given the chance to stand up, as a print maker, and shout from the roof tops all the wonderful things I love about this medium, and I know I am going to bite off more than I can chew.

Perhaps that is just the pessimist in me piping up.  I know I won’t be able to do everything I want to in these exhibits, but I will be able (at the very least) to show some wonderful examples of the prints in the Swope collection… and hopefully gain a little experience so that my next steps might be a little larger, a little faster, a little better!

Print Shop / Relief opens Saturday July 4, 2009 and runs through August 21, 2009