• U.S.

Art: College Tries

2 minute read

The U.S. art market may be entering a new era, with signed prints rivaling art reproductions for the buyer’s attention. Etchings, lithographs, silk screens and woodcuts made by the artist himself are bound to have precisely the scale and tone that the artist intended, and none of the distortions of even the most expensive reproductions. Issued in limited editions of a few to a few hundred, they sell for $5 to $100 a sheet. All this can make them particularly attractive to the nation’s growing millions of middle-income art enthusiasts.

Since the vast majority of U.S. artists still prefer to take their chances with high-priced, hard-to-sell oils, no one knows just how the future print market will be supplied. At Seattle’s Art Museum last week, an exhibition of prints from across the nation provided one possible answer: by the colleges. More than 80% of the prints submitted to the show and five of the six prizewinners came from professors and art students working in the seclusion of college campuses.

Top honors went to University of Nebraska Art Teacher Rudy Pozzatti, 30, for his big, bold, richly textured closeup of a grasshopper (see cut). The main strength of Pozzatti’s woodcut lay in its patterning. The print had more to do with decoration than with nature, yet was one of the least abstract pictures on exhibition. A majority of the other prints were out-and-out-and-out abstractions, redeemed from cloudiness only by technical fireworks, and from preciosity only by an evident drive to experiment with new ideas and approaches. But through such college tries could come a renaissance of printmaking in the U.S.

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