Saint Louis Art Museum’s New Exhibition Celebrates Contemporary Printmaking | Arts Stories & Interviews | St. Louis


click to enlarge SLAM installed Bruce Nauman’s “Pay Attention” alongside Kara Walker’s “The Keys to the Coop.” - JESSICA ROGEN

Jessica Rogen

SLAM put in Bruce Nauman’s “Pay Attention” together with Kara Walker’s “The Keys to the Coop.”

Portray, sculpture and installation so usually are what we think of when picturing the visual art that traces museum walls. But prints, and other performs on paper these as photos and drawings, are peaceful gems that typically go underappreciated.

That’s one thing that the curators at the Saint Louis Artwork Museum (1 Wonderful Arts Travel, 314-721-0072) appear to be to be on the way to shifting with their hottest exhibition Catching the Minute: Modern Artwork from the Ted L. and Maryanne Ellison Simmons Selection, open up from June 26 by way of September 11.

“There’s something about will work on paper that are incredibly kind of personal and personalized,” claims Elizabeth Wyckoff, SLAM curator of prints, drawings, and images. “There’s a thing quite tactile, and then they also just inform remarkable stories.”

The exhibition also celebrates SLAM’s 2020 acquisition of additional than 800 will work from Ted L. and Maryanne Ellison Simmons’ personal selection, and about 190 of individuals are on screen. The ability couple — Ted is a previous St. Louis Cardinals player, and Maryanne is a Washington University-qualified printer and founder of Wildwood Push — started collecting modern artwork in earnest soon after attaining Kiki Smith’s “Finger Bowl” sculpture.

click on to enlarge Enrique Chagoya's “Illegal Alien's Guide to Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” - COURTESY SAINT LOUIS ART MUSEUM

Courtesy Saint Louis Art Museum

Enrique Chagoya’s “Illegal Alien’s Guide to Somewhere In excess of the Rainbow.”

Substantially of their collection centers on social challenges and historical times, particularly the civil rights motion, the Vietnam War and the AIDS disaster. Catching the Minute displays a few artists in depth — Kiki Smith (West-German-born American, 1954 to present), Enrique Chagoya (Mexican-born American, 1953 to present) and Tom Huck (Farmington-born St. Louisan, 1971 to current) — as nicely as a smattering of is effective by the artists’ contemporaries.

Smith, Chagoya and Huck have considerably less name recognition than, say, the printers of olde, your Albrecht Dürers or Roy Lichtensteins (however Smith’s “Wolf Girl” was on Gilmore Ladies). But relaxed museum attendees should not be frightened off. Even devoid of having a deep dive into the intention behind the items in Catching the Moment, the work is enjoyable, even quick, to take pleasure in with substantially that’s figurative, pop-tradition derived or brightly partaking. You can spot references to Disney, DC and extra in Chagoya’s prints, for example.

Even though the a few major artists perform in distinctive kinds (Smith has, for case in point, a extremely good illustrative good quality to her strains as opposed to the daring strokes of Huck’s woodprints), all their will work, and all these in the exhibition, invite close evaluation. There are many tiny pieces in the catalogue, these types of as two by Liliana Porter “Disguise” and “The Traveler,” which just can’t be appreciated devoid of some peering — a satisfaction that taps into a childlike delight in miniature issues.

Even the large-scale prints profit from shut viewing. Choose Smith’s “Companions,” a folkloric diptych. Confident, seeking throughout the space, you can tell it is Purple Riding Hood and the wolf, but considerably subtlety of texture and linework is lost. A further case in point is a piece of Huck’s “Snacktime Marcy,” which hangs across from the woodblock it was printed on. Produced from Huck’s St. Louis studio, Evil Prints, it illustrates the tale of a recalled doll. Heading from the print to its reverse on the woodblock, catching particulars of the doll biting down on a kid’s hair as a intended father or mother prepares a pair of scissors, is just, perfectly, entertaining.

click to enlarge Tom Huck's triptych "Snacktime Marcy." - COURTESY SAINT LOUIS ART MUSEUM

Courtesy Saint Louis Artwork Museum

Tom Huck’s triptych “Snacktime Marcy.”

The curator, Wyckoff, together with Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow Andrea L. Ferber and Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs Clare Kobasa, made just about every space of the exhibition all around a particular theme. There is a gallery named “Metamorphosis,” about artwork that recasts day-to-day objects, and yet another named “Pay Awareness,” which contains artwork created in response to politics or explosive planet situations.

Though Wyckoff politely refuses to identify favorites within the exhibition, she did give a nod to the interaction among Bruce Nauman’s “Pay Consideration,” a backward print of the textual content: “Pay interest mother fuckers” and Kara Walker’s “The Keys to the Coop,” which depicts an define of a woman about to swallow the head of a chicken and alludes to Black American historical past and slavery.

simply click to enlarge Jane Hammond's “My Heavens." - COURTESY SAINT LOUIS ART MUSEUM

Courtesy Saint Louis Art Museum

Jane Hammond’s “My Heavens.”

“We seriously like putting people two prints collectively, that pretty type of direct text but then a really information-immediate textual impression,” she states.

In a way, the exhibition also celebrates the act of setting up an artwork selection and what that means for artists and art heritage.

“As a collector, you learn extremely early that you phone you a collector, but what you are 1st is a caretaker, and you don’t get to actually possess everything,” Ted claimed in an job interview printed in the show’s e-book. “Your position and obligation as a collector is to preserve no matter what item it is.”

The Simmons thought deeply about how to establish their collection so that it was the two crucial and personally significant, which is to the advantage of Catching the Second website visitors.

Catching the Second will be open up right until September 11. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and college students and $6 for youngsters aged 6 to 12. The exhibition is free of charge on Fridays and whenever for museum customers.


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