Major Exhibition Examines The Evolution of Contemporary Artistic Practices Related to the Print Medium

by Daniel Haim

The Museum of Modern Art presents Print/Out, a major survey of prints, books, multiples, and ephemera that examines the evolution of artistic practices related to the print medium over the last two decades. The exhibition will be on view from February 19 to May 14, 2012, in The International Council of the Museum of Modern Art Exhibition Gallery, as well as the Paul J. Sachs Prints and Illustrated Books Galleries. Bringing together approximately 200 works drawn substantially from MoMA’s extensive collection of prints and books, the exhibition also includes the addition of several important loans from private and public collections. Print/Out is the third in a series of large print surveys periodically organized by the Museum’s Department of Prints and Illustrated Books in order to assess the current state of the medium. The last two exhibitions were Printed Art: A View of Two Decades, organized by Riva Castleman in 1980, and Thinking Print: Books to Billboards: 1980-1995, organized by Deborah Wye in 1996. The exhibition is organized by Christophe Cherix, The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Chief Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books, The Museum of Modern Art.

From the resurgence of ancient printmaking techniques, often used today alongside digital technologies, to the worldwide proliferation of self-published artists’ books and ephemera, prints— both in innovative and traditional forms—have played a key role in an exchange of ideas and information. Instead of simply defining contemporary prints through their modes of fabrication or degrees of multiplication, this exhibition will examine the functions that prints have served in the past, and how, over the last two decades, these traditional roles have been developed and expanded upon in line with some of the most innovative art practices of our time.

The exhibition will feature several sections focused on particular artists, including Ai Weiwei, Martin Kippenberger, Lucy McKenzie, Aleksandra Mir, Robert Rauschenberg, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and the artist collective SUPERFLEX, along with publishers and publishing projects such as Editions Jacob Samuel and museum in progress. In addition to these sections, individual artist projects will be on view throughout the galleries, including works by Trisha Donnelly, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Damien Hirst, General Idea, Julie Mehretu, Jorge Pardo, Kelley Walker, and Xu Bing, along with Thomas Schϋtte’s Low Tide Wandering (2001), an ambitious series of 138 prints that will be hung on site by the artist, creating a maze-like installation of the work throughout the galleries.

In the Museum’s Paul J. Sachs Prints and Illustrated Books Galleries on the second floor, a focused section of the exhibition will be co-organized by artist Ellen Gallagher (American, b. 1965) and Sarah Suzuki, The Sue and Eugene Mercy, Jr. Associate Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books at MoMA. This presentation will be a rumination on the multiple techniques and complex sources and themes in Gallagher’s 60-part print project DeLuxe (2004–05), and will include numerous works selected by Gallagher and Suzuki from MoMA’s collection, as well as loans and archival materials related to the project.

A fully illustrated publication will accompany the exhibition and include essays and interviews by Mr. Cherix, Ms. Suzuki, and Kim Conaty, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Prints and Illustrated Books, The Museum of Modern Art.