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Cheekwood Presents Exhibition of British & American Screen Prints
Jacob Lawrence, The 1920s: The Migrants Cast Their Ballots, 1974. Screenprint, 92/125. Gift of the Lorillard Company, 1976.4.30.
NASHVILLE,TN.- In the late 1960s, screen printing rose beyond its use in the industrial realm when artists adopted the machine to make art. Intrigued by the widespread impact screen printing had on popular culture, the aesthetic contributed to perceptual abstractions and color optics that pioneered Pop Art. Artists in the United States and Great Britain were at the forefront of developing screen printing as an art forum. The exhibition is on view from July 9 through October 2, 2011 at Cheekwood.

Joseph Albers was a member of the German Bauhaus group before immigrating to the United States. He was very interested in precision and craft, and the screen printing process allowed him to create his series Homage to the Square.

R.B. Kitaj was drawn to the spontaneity of the medium to combine different images from art, literature, and history. Eduardo Paolozzi, an Italian artist who worked in England, inserted his own sense of humor into printmaking, contrasting Donald Duck with the Dutch modernist painter Piet Mondrian. The American and British prints in this exhibition are all selected from Cheekwood’s permanent print collection.

Screen printing is a stencil technique that had its origin in East Asia where artisans used actual silk screens to hold a stencil and print a design pattern. The medium has since evolved from the use of hand-cut stencils, silk, and paint, to the use of glues, photographic gelatins, synthetic fabrics, and mechanical printing presses. Artists began to experiment with screen printing in the 1930s, largely motivated by a need to produce large numbers of prints for public consumption. Since the 1960s, artists have more fully embraced the artistic potential of the medium. From Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art, the screen print became a versatile form of printmaking that allowed artists to create complex, expressive images with the finish and “cold” look of industrial or commercial prints.

Artists in the United States and Great Britain were at the forefront of developing screen printing as an art form. Joseph Albers was a member of the German Bauhaus group before immigrating to the United States. He was very interested in precision and craft, and the screen printing process allowed him to realize his series Homage to the Square. R.B. Kitaj was an American-born artist who spent most of his life in England. For Kitaj, it was the spontaneity of the medium, the ability to combine different images from art, literature, and history that drew him to screen printing. Eduardo Paolozzi, an Italian artist who worked in England, inserted his own sense of humor into printmaking, contrasting Donald Duck with the Dutch modernist painter Piet Mondrian. The American and British prints in this exhibition were all selected from Cheekwood’s collection.



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