Summer Festival 2009 Exhibition
Ten Contemporary Artists Make Posters
July 11 – August 2
Curated by Matthew Spiegelman
Featuring: Olaf Breuning, Nancy Deholl, Martha Friedman, Rachel Mason, Fabian Marti, Michele O’Marah, Mamiko Otsubo, Michael Queenland, Michael Rashkow, and Matthew Spiegelman
Open after all festival performances until 11 and on Sundays from 11-6
A Mount Tremper Arts Commision
Offset Lithography is regularly used to produce reproductions of fine art which are sold in museum stores and poster shops everywhere. Because of its cost, its association with advertising, product sales, and perhaps most specifically, its disposability, the offset process is often considered outside of the high art spectrum. While not new, Offset Lithography is ripe for exploration. With its ability to print on a variety of materials achieving a wide spectrum of color and tone, Offset Lithography is a perfect medium to exercise an experimental endeavor. The application and commercialization of this process is a boon to artists interested in working beyond current interpretations of existing media. After all, a process heralded by one segment of the visual world is in a prime place to be questioned and appropriated by another.
Each of the works in this show take the form of an offset lithographic poster, made on the same large multi-plate presses used to produce magazines, take out menus, and calendars. Offset, as it is known, can act as a medium like any other and some artists have employed it for specific works. This is perhaps best evinced by the endlessly produced poster stacks of Felix Gonzales-Torres, the print work of Lawrence Weiner, and in the small edition books of Ed Ruscha. There are other artists too however, the elevation of offset printed material to a rarefied object is most throughly recognized in the heavily trafficked market of collectable “ephemera” found mainly online, and in specialized point of purchase storefronts.
Collectibility, it can be observed, signals that over time, certain ephemera, transforms into an artifact with value outside its original implementation. Once the transformation occurs, the object’s meaning becomes malleable. For some this is a place to collect; for artists, it can be a point of departure.
The unforeseen outcome of this kind of collectibility and the ensuing transformation of printed matter from illustrative content to material object-hood can be seen through skewed eyes as a tool or process that simply takes effect over time. As the original purpose of printed matter depletes, the poster (in this case) begins to assert its own object-ness. It is the separation from the original intent over time that causes the transformation. My goal here is to see what happens if the artists’ original intent can take advantage of this transformation. What kind of objects can be created? What do the artworks look like? Does the mechanical action of producing multiple works inform the presence of one piece out of the whole?
With this in mind, I have selected 10 artists whom I feel recognize the value of this material and the value of the medium’s mass production as well as those whose artistic practice might take advantage it. Each artist will produce a new work for the show.
Some of the artists selected have already attempted to use the medium in some capacity. Many of the artists have working practices that are informed by an awareness of a printed vernacular.
The artists included in OFFSET are: Olaf Breuning, Nancy de Holl, Martha Friedman, Rachel Mason, Fabian Marti, Michele O’Marah, Mamiko Otsubo, Michael Queenland, Michael Rashkow, and Matthew Spiegelman
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