Sunday, October 27, 2019
Living History in Contemporary Printmaking: The New Renaissance of Etching
A conversation with artist Swoon, Nadine Orenstein, Drue Heinz Curator in Charge, Department of Drawings & Prints, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Jenny Gibbs, Executive Director of the IFPDA; moderated by Sarah Douglas, Editor-in-Chief, ARTnews
Caledonia Curry, whose work appears under the name Swoon, is a Brooklyn-based artist and is widely known as the first woman to gain large-scale recognition in the male-dominated world of street art. Callie took to the streets of New York while attending the Pratt Institute of Art in 1999, pasting her paper portraits to the sides of buildings with the goal of making art and the public space of the city more accessible.
In a moment when contemporary art often holds a conflicted relationship to beauty, Callie’s work carries with it an earnestness, treating the beautiful as sublime even as she explores the darker sides of her subjects. Her work has become known for marrying the whimsical to the grounded, often weaving in slivers of fairy-tales, scraps of myth, and a recurring motif of the sacred feminine. Tendrils of her own family history—and a legacy of her parents’ struggles with addiction and substance abuse—recur throughout her work.
While much of Callie’s art plays with the fantastical, there is also a strong element of realism. This can be seen in her myriad social endeavors, including a long-term community revitalization project in Braddock, Pennsylvania and her efforts to build earthquake-resistant homes in Haiti through Konbit Shelter. Her non-profit, the Heliotrope Foundation, was created in order to further support these ventures.
Today, Callie’s work can be found on the sides of buildings worldwide and has been given both permanent and transient homes in more classical institutions, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Tate Modern, and the São Paulo Museum of Art. Most recently, she has begun using film animation to explore the boundaries of visual storytelling.
Nadine M. Orenstein received her PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University for her dissertation, Hendrick Hondius and the Business of Prints in Seventeenth-Century Holland (published 1996). She has written and lectured extensively on seventeenth-century Northern European prints and drawings, and her publications include several volumes for the New Hollstein Dutch series. Her exhibitions at The Met include Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Drawings and Prints (2001), Hendrick Goltzius, Dutch Master (1558–1617): Prints, Drawings, and Paintings (2003), Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine (2011), The Mysterious Landscapes of Hercules Segers (2017), and a 2019 exhibition on Renaissance etching. She also co-authored A Centennial Album: Drawings, Prints, and Photographs (2017).
Prior to joining the IFPDA as Executive Director in February 2019, Jenny Gibbs most recently held the position of Director of the MA in Art Business program at Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Prior to Sotheby’s Gibbs served as Executive Director of Elmhurst Art Museum, leading the Chicago-area institution through a period of significant growth with major gifts and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, developing the vision and planning for the restoration of Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House (1952). Before joining Elmhurst Art Museum Gibbs headed the graduate programs at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. Gibbs has also worked with Bard College as the Executive Director of the Lacoste School of the Arts in France. Gibbs began her career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at Christie's as an old master painting specialist.
Sarah Douglas is Editor-in-Chief of ARTnews. She has been an art journalist and editor for numerous publications for 20 years, beginning her career with four years running the U.S. editorial office of The Art Newspaper. Before ARTnews, she was Culture Editor at The New York Observer and launched their visual art site Gallerist. Douglas has contributed to The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Economist and The National, among other publications. In 2013, she was the recipient of ArtTable’s New Leadership award.
Founded in 1902, ARTnews is the oldest and most widely circulated art magazine in the world. Its readership of 180,000 in 124 countries includes collectors, dealers, historians, artists, museum directors, curators, connoisseurs, and enthusiasts. Published in print four times a year, it reports on the art, people, issues, trends, and events shaping the international art world.