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National Print Exhibition, 20th Biennial: 30 Years of American Printmaking

DATES November 20, 1976 through January 30, 1977
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  • October 25, 1976 30 Years of American Printmaking, including The 20th National Print Exhibition, will be on view at The Brooklyn Museum, Eastern Parkway and Washington Avenue, from November 20, 1976, through January 30, 1977. The Museum’s major winter exhibition--both a retrospective and a current survey of the best graphics made in America--includes about 350 works by 211 artists. According to Gene Baro, Guest Curator, the show presents “the broadest spectrum of contemporary American printmaking to be held anywhere in the country in the past quarter century."

    Among artists represented in the exhibition are Jim Dine, Jasper Johns, Louise Nevelson, Robert Rauschenberg, Leonard Baskin, Red Grooms, Andy Warhol, Christo, Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Indiana, Alex Katz, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Motherwell, Claes Oldenburg, and Tom Wesselmann. But, as Gene Baro points out in the exhibition catalogue,* “The Brooklyn Nationals have been a showcase for the new and have afforded an opportunity to compare the new with the established." Many works on view here are by innovative artists without established reputations. “I have examined thousands upon thousands of prints all over the country and have the impression of skillful printmakers everywhere,” Mr. Baro says. It is heartening to see that contemporary printmaking is not a phenomenon solely of New York or Los Angeles, and certainly not of the workshops alone, but of many individuals all over this nation, graphic artists who have qualities that would command widespread respect and admiration were they better known.”

    For thirty years The Brooklyn Museum’s National Print Exhibitions have focused international attention on the flourishing developments in American graphics. Under the guidance of Una E. Johnson, the Museum’s Curator of Prints and Drawings from 1937 to 1969, then under Jo Miller, Curator from 1969 to 1975, almost every contemporary printmaker of international stature who has made prints in the United States has been included in a Brooklyn National, often when he or she was virtually unknown.

    The Nationals began in 1947 and were held annually through 1956. The rapidity of stylistic and technical developments in the graphic mediums led the Museum to restructure the Nationals as biennial exhibitions in 1958, so that contemporary production could be seen in greater perspective.

    The perspective has been lengthened further for 30 Years of American Printmaking, combining a retrospective of Brooklyn’s past nineteen National Print Exhibitions with works chosen for the Twentieth. The retrospective is not limited to particular works shown in previous Nationals, but includes important examples from the entire production of a number of artists previously represented.

    Gene Baro is widely known in art and literary circles. A former Director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., he has been associated with more than one hundred visual arts exhibitions shown at museums and other institutions in the United States and abroad. Mr. Baro writes frequently on cultural subjects and has been a regular contributor to Art In America, Arts Magazine, Studio International, and Art International. He has also written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Vogue, and the New Yorker. He is author of The Drawings of Claes Oldenburg, and of Louise Nevelson: The Graphics. He lectures and broadcasts frequently on the arts.

    The exhibition is made possible in part through a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts.

    *30 Years of American Printmaking, Including the 20th Nationa[l] Print Exhibition. Foreward by Michael Botwinick, Director, The Brooklyn Museum; text by Gene Baro; with statements by the artists, glossary of printmaking terms, complete index by medium; 160 pp.; 302 illustrations, 18 in color. Published by The Brooklyn Museum. Paperback $8.95.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1976, 014-15.
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