Universal Limited Art Editions
Word for Word
Word for Word
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Richard Tuttle, Kiki Smith, Elizabeth Murray, Robert Rauschenberg, Christopher Wool, Jasper Johns
ULAE is pleased to present Word for Word, an exhibition of fine art limited edition prints selected from its 60-year history of publishing. This selection is comprised of works by six artists that have explored the use of text, either to convey a message, provoke a response from the viewer, or simply to be used as a visual element in the image.
Jasper Johns, Elizabeth Murray, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Tuttle, Kiki Smith, and Christopher Wool are all among the list of artists that have explored incorporating text into their images, and each approached the element in markedly different ways.
The exhibition showcases two artist’s books in which artists Smith and Murray collaborated with poets to create handmade limited edition livres d’artistes that combine printed image and text. In Fragment of a Letter, Johns includes an excerpt of a letter from van Gogh, both as a visual element and message. Tuttle explores text within blocks of color and gestural lines in his series Light on Water. Rauschenberg includes photographic imagery of signage in large scale etchings from his series Ground Rules. Wool, an artist with a practice deeply rooted in words and phrases, instead utilizes typography and line in his series of eight lithographs, a.k.a.
Word for Word demonstrates the variations of how artists approach text in their work, as well as confirms an historical desire for artists to push the limits of language, which will forever be intertwined with art.
Image: Richard Tuttle, Light on Water (B), 2003 (detail)
ULAE studio view
ULAE studio view
Only two years after receiving his Bachelor of Arts from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, Richard Tuttle (b. 1941) opened his first solo exhibition at Betty Parsons in New York. More complex formally than a Minimalist and missing the Formalist aesthetic, Tuttle became an artist about art, creating his work from intuitive perceptions, captivated by the physical and psychic space between art and the viewer. Early in his career, he had major museum exhibitions at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts (1971), the Museum of Modern Art (1972), and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1975). The trend has continued for more than 3 decades, and his work is owned by almost all of the major museums around the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C. Tuttle came to ULAE in September 2001 to work on an independent book project. While at the studio, Goldston presented him with the option of working on a print simultaneously. Within moments he began the largest print he has made to date, a unique edition of woodblock prints. He has since worked in both intaglio and lithography, utilizing and collaborating with the technical expertise of the printers around him to create over 30 editions with ULAE.
Unlike many artists of her generation, Kiki Smith (b. 1954) did not study art in an academic setting. Instead, she learned by participating in Collaborative Projects (Colab), a New York-based cooperative that in the mid 1970s featured an active membership of over forty artists.
Smith began making sculptures and drawings that isolated fluids, veins, skin, bones, sex organs, or hair into self-sufficient fragments. More recently, she has diversified her conceptual and technical approach to figuration, creating life-sized figures in a host of traditional and unconventional materials. Smith has received numerous solo national and international exhibitions, including at the Centre d'Arte Contemporaine in Geneva (1990), Institute for Contemporary Art in Amsterdam (1991), and the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2004). Solo exhibitions were also presented at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2005), Walker Art Center (2006), Museum Haus Esters, Kunstmuseen Krefeld (2008), High Museum of Art in Atlanta (2011), and the Haus der Kunst in Munich (2018). Smith's work has been featured at five Venice Biennales, including the 2017 Biennale. Most recently, her prints and works on paper were featured in solo exhibitions at Modern Art Oxford in London, Monnaie de Paris in Paris, and Staatliche Graphische Sammlung in Munich. Kiki Smith first visited ULAE in 1989, after director Bill Goldston saw her work in the Brooklyn Print Biennial and invited her to the studio. Since that time, Smith has made nearly 40 editions with ULAE, working in intaglio, lithography, xerox transfer, and pigmented inkjet, as well as including elements of collage, flocking, and, more recently, foiling.
After earning her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1962) and an MFA from Mills College in Oakland, California (1964), Elizabeth Murray (1940 - 2007) settled in New York in 1967. Keeping with the spirit of the time, she abandoned painting in favor of interdisciplinary and multimedia works. In 1977, however, Murray resumed painting, and by 1976 had received her first one-person exhibition in New York at Paula Cooper Gallery. By the early 1980s Murray had become well known for her ability to transform cannily abstracted images of common items-coffee cups, tables, musical instruments and dogs- into lushly painted, animated low relief forms. Breaking with her early minimalist influences, Murray defined her own particular brand of representation as a balance between illusionistic painting and dimensional sculpture. Her work has been in several of the Whitney Museum of American Art's Biennial Exhibitions (1973,1979, and 1985); a survey of her paintings and drawings was organized by the Dallas Museum of Art (1987), and a retrospective of her prints toured to museums throughout the United States and Japan (1990). Murray began making prints with ULAE in 1985. She created works that incorporated three-dimensional attributes to closely approximate the contours of her increasingly sculptural paintings. She continued to push the boundaries of printmaking until her passing in 2007.
Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) attended the Kansas City Art Institute (1947-1948) and Academie Julien in Paris (1948) before traveling to North Carolina to study at Black Mountain College with Joseph Albers (1948-1949). While at Black Mountain College he met and was strongly influenced by the interdisciplinary approaches of fellow students John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and David Tudor. Moving to New York in 1949, Rauschenberg studied at the Art Students League (1949-1952); in 1953 he met Jasper Johns, initiating a long and productive creative friendship. Retrospective or survey exhibitions of his art have been organized by many museums, including Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum (1968), the Smithsonian Institution (1976), the Menil Collection (1991), the National Gallery of Art (1991), and the Guggenheim Museum (1997). More recently, a retrospective of his work was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art (2017). In late 1960, ULAE's founder Tatyana Grosman met Rauschenberg while delivering stones to Jasper Johns. In April 1962, Rauschenberg went to West Islip and completed seven lithographs that year. Throughout his career at ULAE, Rauschenberg has continually set new standards and broken the barriers of modern printmaking.
Christopher Wool (b. 1955) grew up in Chicago. In 1972, he attended Sarah Lawrence College for one year before settling in Manhattan, where he enrolled in classes at the New York Studio School and briefly studied film at New York University. Wool’s work has always been closely tied to his urban surroundings, and as early as 1986, he began to create monochrome paintings that employed commercial tools and imagery appropriated from a variety of mass cultural sources. While Wool is primarily known as a painter, his photographs, artist books, and prints are also integral to his practice. His work has been presented at institutions around the world, including solo exhibitions at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1989); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1998), Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (1998–99); Institut Valencià d'Art Modern and Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg (2006); Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto (2008–09), and Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2009); and Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2012). In the fall of 2013, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presented the artist’s first retrospective survey, which will travel to the Art Institute of Chicago in 2014. Wool has been working in ULAE’s studios since 2013, and he has produced three portfolios and one limited edition. ULAE plans to release new editions in the fall of 2020.
Jasper Johns (b. 1930) moved to New York in 1949 and began paintings influenced by abstract expressionism. The first of many one-person exhibitions at Leo Castelli Gallery (1958) led to his inclusion the following year in the Museum of Modern Art's landmark 16 Americans. One-person exhibitions of his paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture have been organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art (1977), the National Gallery of Art 1990), and the Museum of Modern Art (1986, 1996). More recently, a retrospective of his prints was presented at the Walker Art Center (2020), and simultaneous exhibitions at the Whitney Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art are slated to open later this year. Printmaking has long been an important part of the process for the artist. He first worked at ULAE in 1960 and the studio continues to publish Johns’s editions, including his most recent print, Untitled, released in 2018.
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