Press Releases

Multiplicity: Contemporary Prints from the Smithsonian American Art Museum

For Release: October 2013

New Exhibition Features Works by Leading American Artists and Provocative Programming


Multiplicity, an exhibition showcasing contemporary prints from the outstanding collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, offers an inspiring art experience at the Akron Art Museum November 23, 2013 – March 16, 2014. The exhibition demonstrates how established painters and sculptors, encouraged by visionary publishers and skilled printers, have engaged with printmaking in recent decades. In addition, it includes examples of the creative ways artists of many generations are approaching the print media.

More than 80 prints are featured in Multiplicity, including examples by leading artists with important works in the Akron Art Museum collection. The exhibition further offers opportunities for visitors to compare and contrast how artists such as Chuck Close, Jim Dine, Helen Frankenthaler, Sol LeWitt and Kiki Smith explore different media, offering viewers the opportunity to fully understand the scope of their careers.
Multiplicity references how prints are created from a matrix that has been manipulated to produce multiple images—each considered an original work of art. In addition, Joann Moser, senior curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, notes that “multiplicity implies abundance and variation” and that “these prints are the result of collaboration between the artist and professional printers who help realize the artist’s vision. They challenge the authority of the unique masterpiece and alter the stereotype of the artist working alone in the studio.” 
As well, many of the works on view are parts of series or sequences comprised of multiple sections. These include John Baldessari’s nine-part Black Dice, which is based on a film still from a British gangster film; seven woodcuts Martin Puryear created for a luxury edition of Jean Toomer’s Cane, a masterpiece of Harlem Renaissance literature; and seven screenprints of the days of creation that resulted from a collaboration Tim Rollins undertook with at-risk kids in Maryland, who he asked to respond together to Franz Josef Haydn’s The Creation oratorio.
Multiplicity exhibits the variety of styles and subjects contemporary artists are pursuing, ranging from Robert Bechtle’s photographically portrayed view of a San Francisco neighborhood and Vija Celmins’ Night Sky to Sean Scully and Judy Pfaff’s evocative abstractions. The exhibition likewise offers insights into the processes artists use to achieve their compositions, many of which are notable for their ambitious scale and dramatic impact.
“The Akron Art Museum is delighted to be the only Midwest venue for this exhibition, which complements its collections and offers a wonderful opportunity for visitors to learn more about the print media. We are fortunate to have many outstanding printmakers in our midst who are assisting us in programming for this important exhibition,” commented Executive Director and CEO Mark Masuoka.
Multiplicity is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The C. F. Foundation in Atlanta supports the museum’s traveling exhibition program.
Exhibition-Related Programs: LOOK, TASTE, SHOP, ENJOY
For an inspiring art experience roam the galleries, relax in the new iQcafé, shop the museum store and enjoy art talks, classes and films.
There’s something for everyone at the museum’s fall opening party. Explore a fantastic selection of prints by an all-star roster of contemporary artists in Multiplicity, and experience how New York artist Diana Al-Hadid’s work has transformed the museum’s permanent collection galleries. Members can learn more about her work and career during Diana Al-Hadid’s Artist Talk at 6:15 pm, in the museum’s auditorium.
How has printmaking changed over the last century? Although artists were once known for making, printing and marketing their own images, there is a new paradigm of artists who become well-known as painters and sculptors working with professionally trained printers to produce images that are distributed by publishers. Delve into the printmaking medium in this illustrated discussion for art novices and experts.
Want to see hundreds of fresh prints and learn what printmakers love about printmaking? Stick around after Art History 101 and get a chance view prints created by students at the University of Akron’s Myers School of Art, Kent State University, Youngstown State University and the Cleveland Institute of Art, as well as local printmakers. This event is a great opportunity for budding artists to display their work, get feedback and network with other artists in the printmaking community and the public at large.
Printmaking Demonstrations and Talks · Thursdays at 6:30 pm
Do you ever look at an artwork and wonder how it was made? Do printmaking tools like brayers and rockers look more like torture instruments to you than art supplies? Discover how the prints in Multiplicity were created as you experience the exhibition with local printmakers who will discuss their favorite works in the exhibition, talk about their own printing processes and demonstrate printmaking techniques.
Over his 30 years as a master printer, Craig Zammiello has established himself as a foremost specialist of intaglio printmaking in the United States. He is the author of Conversations from the Print Studio: A Master Printer in Collaboration with Ten Artists as well as a studio manual on photogravure.
Zammiello worked 25 years at Universal Limited Art Editions, where he collaborated with numerous artists, notably Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Elizabeth Murray, Terry Winters and Kiki Smith. Currently he is master printer at Two Palms and working with Cecily Brown, Carroll Dunham, Ellen Gallagher, Elizabeth Peyton, Chris Ofili, Mel Bochner and Matthew Ritchie.
He received his M.F.A. from SUNY at Stony Brook in 1995. He has taught numerous workshops and classes at New York University, Yale University and the Flemish Government Center for the Graphic Arts. He is presently an adjunct professor at Columbia University in NYC.
He has exhibited his own work in the US and abroad. His prints can be found in the collections of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium; Yale University Art Gallery; and the Hoesch Museum in Duren, Germany.
Ever used a rubber stamp? If you said yes, you’ve created a print. Young artists become master printmakers at this fun family drop-in by experimenting with printmaking techniques using unusual supplies such as racecars, Jell-o and shaving cream. Become a print connoisseur by trading your finished multiples with others.
The newly opened iQcafé is a fun place to meet with friends, discuss the exhibition, read your new book purchase from the Museum Store or just relax and check your messages. The special bill of fare features a custom blend coffee from Bent Tree Roasters in Kent, a custom brew from Thirsty Dog Brewery in Akron, popular beverages and delectable pastries from Blue Door Café in Cuyahoga Falls. The café’s philosophy is to select food and beverage items from popular venues and will eventually expand to include sandwich and salad selections from other restaurants. Offerings are prepared exclusively for the museum and only available at the iQcafé.
Museum Store
Open during regular gallery hours, the Museum Store offers a unique assortment of contemporary artful accessories for your home and lifestyle. Choose from beautifully handmade objects, including jewelry from local artists, fair-trade items from across the globe, award-winning art supplies and toys for children. Among the Multiplicity-inspired items, select from an assortment of printmaking books to help expand your artistic skills and knowledge, as well as stamp kits to embellish everything from cards and gift tags to cleverly decorated cookies.
Gallery admission is not required to visit the iQcafé or Museum Store.

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