New York in Texas

Contrary to what Pace picante commercials might lead you to believe, Texas loves New York. Or at least, the University of Texas at Austin loves the International Print Center New York. The two have entered into an arrangement that will bring one of IPCNY’s four annual New Prints exhibitions to the University’s new Visual Arts Center every year for the foreseeable future. It’s all part of UT’s Printmaking Convergence initiative meant to focus attention on printmaking.

In true Texas fashion, the work in the IPCNY show is given considerably more breathing room than it normally gets in NY.

As part of the inaugural festivities of Printmaking Convergence and the debut of the first IPCNY show at UT, a panel titled “A Conversation on Printmaking” was organized. Panelists included Co-Director and Master Printer of Flatbed Press, Katherine Brimberry; Associate Professor of Printmaking at the University of North Texas, Lari Gibbons; Curator of Prints and Drawings at the McNay Museum of Art, Lyle Williams; Hellen DeVitt Jones Curator of Art at the Museum of Texas Tech University, Peter Briggs; and Houston artist Trenton Doyle Hancock, whose works have appeared in numerous museums and galleries, including IPCNY’s New Prints 2007/Autumn, and who will be selecting IPCNY’s New Prints 2011/Spring show. Printmaking Convergence directors Ken Hale and Leonard Lehrer were moderators.

Appropriately, the panel took place in front of William Powhida’s Panel Discussion, a hand-colored etching published by the Lower Eastside Printshop in 2010.

A lively crowd arrived at the VAC on a Sunday afternoon. The first of two topics for the panel was the role of juried show in printmaking. A logical debate as we sat in the midst of one of IPCNY’s New Prints exhibitions. While curator Peter Briggs highlighted quite accurately many of the cons associated with juried shows- judging reproductions of the work rather than actual work, “deal-making” on the part of jurors, the income-generating function for institutions, and the questionable quality in general- the overall consensus seemed to be that the pros were greater. More than one panelist made the case for the juried show as point of entry for less established artists into the exhibition world and IPCNY was lauded in particular for their lack of entry fee.

The second topic was the role of printmaking in 20th Century art, a large and sprawling subject, and then the floor was open to questions and comments from the audience. The conversation flowed from Philagrafika’s Jose Roca to artists Jasper Johns and Sol Lewitt to Paul J. Sachs’ Modern Prints and Drawings (used copies available at a steal on Amazon- less than a buck). Trenton Doyle Hancock at one point made a statement, and this is a loose paraphrase, that print provides artists with a way to think prolifically as a product of their time. Perhaps this sentiment best summarizes the panel and the whole idea of Printmaking Convergence (you can visit the site for more info).

Ultimately, regardless of the specifics of the occasion, I do think that having 60-80 people take the time on a Sunday to get together and discuss printmaking reinforces that sense of community that typifies the medium.

Michael Dal Cerro, Urban Science Fiction, Wooblock and Linoleum, 22″x28″, 2010.

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Categories: Exhibitions


4 Responses to “New York in Texas”

  1. Peter Briggs says:

    Jason,
    Your estimation of the events seems to nail it: 60-80 people take a Sunday afternoon to talk about prints…an unquestionable success.

    I hope that it continues.

    Peter

  2. axitia says:

    man this is great!

  3. Sarah Hanley says:

    Thanks for the nice summary of what’s happening in Austin.

    More on Powhida here: http://blog.art21.org/2010/12/04/ink-notes-from-underground-william-powhida/

    And more on IPCNY’s recent activities to come with my next post March 4. Stay tuned.

  4. Jason Urban says:

    Your Powhida post at Art21 is great, Sarah. Thanks for sharing.

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