In Praise of Prints: IFPDA in NYC

Sarah Andress


Alex Katz, Kym, 2011. Lithograph/Screenprint/woodcut. Edition of 50. Courtesy of Graphicstudio/USF.

With the upcoming International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA) Print Fair coming to NYC on November 2, former managing editor of Art on Paper magazine, Sarah Andress, gives Artlog her picks of favorite works in the fair.

Printmaking is unique among all media in the diversity of forms it offers as well as the sheer number of artists with whom a viewer can engage through it. It seems to be more the exception than the rule now to find an artist who has not either mastered a print technique or come from another medium, even briefly, to try his or her hands at it. But of course printmaking is not a single medium, rather an enormous variety of ingenious ways to make an image reproducible. The possibility and means for reproduction are part and parcel of what makes prints so compelling, as well as what has historically sidelined them. But no longer. Prints have for some time been enjoying increased visibility and venerability in the hierarchy of artistic media; and recently, the much-debated phenomenon of online made-to-order editions (20×, for instance) has worried many staunch print-worlders in that it certainly increases visibility but may muddy appreciation of the medium. Whichever side of that debate you take, there’s no argument that visiting galleries or fairs like the upcoming IFPDA Print Fair offers collectors, curators, and everyone else the irreplaceable experience of up-close looking.

While many of the works on view are museum caliber and out of a typical visitor’s budget, there are quite a few on the more affordable end, even by well-known artists such as Wayne Thiebaud.

Wayne Thiebaud, Pink Cone, 1955. Color hard ground etching printed in pink on gampi paper chine colle. Edition of 40. Courtesy of Crown Point Press.

Each year, I look forward to Arion Press’s new publications – typically classic books illustrated by contemporary artists. Past publications have included intriguing pairings like Kiki Smith and Emily Dickinson or photographs by Stephen Shore illustrating Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence. This year Julie Mehretu has created twenty prints to accompany the work of Ancient Greek poet Sappho.

Julie Mehretu, Sapphic Strophe 3, 2011. Relief Print. Courtesy of Arion Press.

These prints by Anish Kapoor are a great example of how sculptural prints can be – the lush color and the moiré pattern leading into the abyss at the center lends the two-dimensional sheets a consuming quality that fans will know well from his enormous three-dimensional works.

Anish Kapoor, Untitled 03, 1973. Etching. Courtesy of Paragon Press.

This portrait of Picasso’s second wife, Jacqueline, is exceptionally rare.

Pablo Picasso, Jacqueline Lisant, de Trois Quarts, 1962. Linocut. 3 Known Impressions. Courtesy of Frederick Mulder.

And IFPDA highlights from Rachel Whiteread, Alex Katz, Andy Warhol, and James Rosenquist:

Rachel Whiteread, Squashed, 2010. Print on handmade paper. Edition of 42. Courtesy of Mixografia.
Andy Warhol, Torte al la Dobosch, 1959. Lithograph with extensive watercolour applied by hand. From Wild Raspberries. Courtesy of Sims Reed Gallery.
James Rosenquist, The Xenophobic Movie Director or Our Foreign Policy, 2011. 15-color Lithograph. Edition of 38. Courtesy of Gemini G.E.L. at Joni Moisant Weyl.

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