New Acquisitions from the Experimental Printmaking Institute
February 25, 2016
Mount Holyoke College Art Museum acquires more than 30 prints from the Experimental Printmaking Institute
Artists represented in the acquisition include Benny Andrews, David Driskell, Grace Hartigan, Faith Ringgold, and others
The Mount Holyoke College Art Museum has recently added to its collection more than thirty prints created at the Experimental Printmaking Institute (EPI) at Lafayette College in Easton, Penn. Founded in 1996 by artist, master printmaker, and Lafayette professor of art Curlee Raven Holton, EPI is a unique printmaking laboratory that enables students to work hand in hand with diverse, professional artists. Using the printmaking process and the workshop environment, the program has offered one of the most artistically challenging forms of a liberal arts education during its 20 years in operation. EPI has produced over 150 editions by more than 100 different participants, including some of this country's most acclaimed artists, such as Faith Ringgold, Richard Anuszkiewicz, David Driskell, Grace Hartigan, and Sam Gilliam.
Including 23 discrete prints and four print portfolios, the works acquired this month through a partial gift-partial purchase from the Experimental Printmaking Institute add significantly to the collection of associated prints previously donated to Mount Holyoke by Janet Hickey Tague (Class of 1966) and her husband, Harold Tague, long-time supporters of EPI. EPI prints at MHCAM now number nearly 50, with works by African-American artists particularly well represented in the collection.
"This group of remarkable prints not only provides a picture into the innovative practices of theExperimentalPrintmakingInstitute,butalsoaugmentsourholdings incontemporary master prints, and in works by African-American artists," noted Assistant Curator Hannah W. Blunt. "The acquisition of artworks by diverse artists is a considerable focus of our collecting goals, and we already have plans to incorporate these prints into upcoming exhibitions and installations."
Highlights from the acquisition include a pair of lithographs by Abstract Expressionist Grace Hartigan; five highly experimental, painterly prints by David Driskell; Curlee Raven Holton's enchanting artist's book and accompanying portfolio of etchings, Othello Re-imagined in Sepia; and ten prints and two portfolios by Faith Ringgold, including her brightly colored and evocative illustrations to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham City Jail. "The richness of imagery and thematic resonances represented in the EPI prints will be relevant for classes from a variety of disciplines--not only art and literature courses but also politics, gender studies, history, psychology, and others. They will significantly enhance our Teaching with Art program," added Ellen Alvord, Interim Director and Weatherbie Curator of Education and Academic Programs.
"The medium of printmaking, perhaps the most democratic form of artistic practices provides unique opportunities for creative collaboration and a doorway for artists of color to participate more fully in the art making process," said Holton. "I am honored that an institution of the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum's stature, and with a national reputation as a teaching museum, has added the work of these artists to their permanent collection."
Editor's Note: Electronic images available on request