Exhibition

Frank Stella, Black Adder, 1968.

Postwar Prints and Multiples: Investigating the Collection

February 2, 2018 - April 16, 2018
Barney A. Ebsworth Gallery

Spanning the period from the mid-1940s through the 1970s, Postwar Prints and Multiples: Investigating the Collection presents a selection of printed and editioned artworks from the permanent collection created by leading figures associated with European and American abstraction, Pop and Op art, and Conceptual art. This exhibition marks the second in a series that shines a spotlight on lesser-known areas of depth in the Museum’s holdings in preparation for the upcoming expansion of the permanent collection galleries. As artists developed their creative visions in the postwar period, printed formats, with their inherent properties of reproduction, seriality, and multiplicity, were crucial vehicles for articulating and disseminating their practices, yielding an especially rich moment in the history of twentieth-century art. 

Within a trajectory that is loosely chronological, the exhibition emphasizes the strengths of the collection as well as its breadth. The selection on view considers a range of aesthetic approaches, including semifigurative works by Jean Dubuffet, Joan Miró, and Pablo Picasso; gestural abstractions by Helen Frankenthaler, Philip Guston, and Jackson Pollock; geometric abstractions by Yaacov Agam, Ellsworth Kelly, and Frank Stella; and Pop compositions by Marisol, Claes Oldenburg, and Andy Warhol. The exhibition also prominently features the six-part S.M.S. periodical—an art collection in a box from 1968 that was filled with small-scale prints and multiples available by subscription. The organizer, the American painter and art dealer William Copley, conceived of it as an intermedia and intergenerational publication, presenting works by an impressive array of artists, both well-known and emerging, including the Dada and Surrealist luminaries Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, and Meret Oppenheim; Pop artists Richard Hamilton and Roy Lichtenstein; composers Terry Riley and La Monte Young; and an up-and-coming generation of conceptual and post-studio artists represented by Joseph Kosuth and Bruce Nauman, among others. Postwar Prints and Multiples is conceived as a dynamic platform for new research as students, faculty, and outside curators examine and assess the works on view through a series of gallery talks.

The exhibition is curated by Meredith Malone, associate curator.

Support is provided by the William T. Kemper Foundation and members of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. 

Image credits

Frank Stella (American, b. 1936), Black Adder, 1968. Lithograph, 16 1/4 x 28 7/8". Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis. University purchase, 1969.

Previous page: Yaacov Agam (Israeli, b. 1928), Forme Couleur, from the portfolio Suite 3, 1974. Screen print, 135/140, 30 3/4 x 30 1/4". Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis. Gift of Arthur and Sheila Prensky, 1984. © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

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