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Spring Online Edition, May 14 - 28, 2021

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Crown Point Press

+1 415-974-6273

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Crown Point Press, founded in 1962 by Kathan Brown, focuses on the art of etching.* Its gallery, bookstore, and studio are in an historic building close to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the gallery is open to the public every day except Sunday. There are two websites: crownpoint.com concentrates on published etchings and magical-secrets.comfeatures video of artists at work in the etching studio and presents practical information for printmakers. Although Crown Point’s main activity is print publishing, it also holds summer etching workshops open to all and publishes books detailing the craft of etching.

 

Art historian Susan Tallman in her 1996 book The Contemporary Print describes Crown Point Press as “the most instrumental American printshop in the revival of etching as a medium of serious art.” Its 25th anniversary was celebrated by an exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and in its 35th year its archives were acquired by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the National Gallery, Washington D.C. Both institutions held Crown Point Press exhibitions and jointly published a catalog.

 

Crown Point Press celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012, and that year Kathan Brown published a memoir, Know That You Are Lucky. In 2013, the exhibition Yes, No, Maybe: Artists Working at Crown Point Press, opened at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. It showed proofs and prints by 25 artists published by Crown Point between 1972 and 2010. The exhibition catalog contains an essay by curators Judith Brodie and Adam Greenhalgh.

 

Artists who Crown Point publishes come to work in its San Francisco studio from all over the world. Richard Diebenkorn, Sol LeWitt and John Cage came frequently over the decades, and also Pat Steir, Tom Marioni, Wayne Thiebaud, Robert Bechtle, and Ed Ruscha. Other published artists are Tomma Abts, Darren Almond, Mamma Andersson, Anne Appleby, John Chiara, Leonardo Drew, Marcel Dzama, Mary Heilmann, Jacqueline Humphries, Julie Mehretu, Matt Mullican, Jockum Nordström, Chris Ofili, Gay Outlaw, Laura Owens, Alyson Shotz, Shahzia Sikander, Patricia Trieb, Charline von Heyl, Mary Weatherford, and John Zurier.

 

Valerie Wade is Director of Crown Point Press; Kathan Brown is Founding director.

 

*Over the years, etching has been Crown Point’s main focus. However, from 1982 until 1990 the Press also published woodblock prints created by artists it sent to work in Japan and China.

Image:

Master Printer Courtney Sennish cards ink on a plate for "Sign in a Sandstorm", 2021.

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"I think of working in a series as hiccups being on top of echoes."
—Ed Ruscha

In this online edition of the IFPDA Spring 2021 Fair, Crown Point Press presents new and earlier etchings by Los Angeles artist Ed Ruscha.

The theme of the presentation is road signs, a subject Ruscha has pursued for over 45 years. The motifs are inspired by the artist's road trips traveling across America between his original hometown in Oklahoma to his home of many years in Los Angeles. Four earlier prints from 2006 and a direct gravure with aquatint from 2019 join three new direct gravures completed in 2021.

Crown Point Press, which turned 57 in 2021, publishes etchings created in our San Francisco studio by artists with technical assistance from our printers. In 2019, Ruscha, who has worked regularly at Crown Point since 1982, made "Lonely Highway". In 2020, I said to him that I thought "Lonely Highway" was very lonesome, and I asked (because of the pandemic) if we could try a similar work, by remote control. He agreed.

Our printers used a technique called direct gravure in which the image is drawn by the artist on film and then transferred to the printing plate through a light-sensitive ground. The resulting images (now a series), "Sign in a Sandstorm" and "Sign in a Rainstorm", are sharp and straightforward, similar to "Lonely Highway". Ruscha worked closely with Crown Point's master printers Courtney Sennish and Emily York to produce those prints. A final print in the series, "Sign in a Mudstorm", is planned. At Crown Point Press, we are grateful to Ed Ruscha for finding a way forward during this time of the pandemic.

--Valerie Wade, Director, Crown Point Press, May, 2021

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Crown Point Press: Signs of a Series

Ed Ruscha

Sign in a Rainstorm

2021

28½ x 24½ inches

Direct gravure printed in black and blue

Crown Point Press

Edition 40

$11,500

Ed Ruscha

Sign in a Sandstorm

2021

28½ x 24½ inches

Direct gravure printed in black and brown

Crown Point Press

Edition 40

$11,500

Ed Ruscha

Lonely Highway

2019

21¼ x 29½ inches

Color direct gravure with aquatint

Crown Point Press

Edition 40

$9,500

Ed Ruscha

Desert Gravure

2006

21¼ x 24¾ inches

Photogrvaure

Crown Point Press

Edition 30

$9,500

Ed Ruscha signing "Sign in a Rainstorm" in his Los Angeles studio, 2021.

Ed Ruscha

Your Space Gravure

2006

28¾ x 21 inches

Photogravure with color aquatint and hard ground etching printed on gampi paper chine collé

Crown Point Press

Edition 30

$9,000

A gallery view of "Sign in a Rainstorm", "Sign in a Sandstorm", and "Lonely Highway" by Ed Ruscha.

Ed Ruscha

Sign in a Rainstorm

28½ x 24½ inches

Direct gravure printed in black and blue

Edition 40

$11,500

Ed Ruscha

Sign in a Sandstorm

28½ x 24½ inches

Direct gravure printed in black and brown

Edition 40

$11,500

Ed Ruscha

Lonely Highway

21¼ x 29½ inches

Color direct gravure with aquatint

Edition 40

$9,500

Ed Ruscha

Desert Gravure

21¼ x 24¾ inches

Photogrvaure

Edition 30

$9,500

Ed Ruscha

Your Space Gravure

28¾ x 21 inches

Photogravure with color aquatint and hard ground etching printed on gampi paper chine collé

Edition 30

$9,000