An extraordinary, little-known story unfolds in the exhibition Jasper Johns & John Lund: Masters in the Print Studio. Over the past 30 years Johns and Lund have forged a rare artistic collaboration: side-by-side, master printer Lund has helped one of America’s foremost living artists achieve precisely the desired effect he seeks in his prints, 47 of which are featured in the exhibition. This is the first museum exhibition to explore these two masters’ working relationship.
Johns is one of the most prominent and prolific printmakers of the 20th and 21st centuries. While he has collaborated with several master printers during his long career, his relationship with Lund is unique due to the exclusive nature of their working process. Johns and Lund first worked together in 1973 at Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE), the fine art print publisher, where Lund was a lithography printer, working with art world luminaries including Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers, and James Rosenquist. A decade later Lund became integral to Johns’s printmaking process as the sole printer to work on the artist’s intaglio prints. In 1996 Lund and his family moved into a home on Johns’s rural Connecticut property, establishing a private print studio and becoming his on-site master printer.
Together they have created over 70 editions, the vast majority of which are made with intaglio techniques, including etching and aquatint. The imagery in the prints is often related to paintings Johns is in the process of creating or has just completed. There are two layers of singular ability involved in making these prints—the technical and the artistic. Lund’s expert skill is a means by which Johns achieves his creative vision. The exhibition’s chronological installation includes the seminal series The Seasons (1987); Flag on Orange (1998), the first edition published under Johns’s own Low Road Studio imprint; and the Shrinky Dink series (2011-12), which references elements from The Seasons while featuring new imagery.
This one-on-one relationship is uncommon in the print world. Says Lund, “It’s more solitary and concentrated but, hopefully, the result is an instinctual feel for the intention of the artist, knowing what the artist is looking at and what I can do to make it all happen.”
The luxury of having his own print studio permits Johns the freedom of extended experimentation and exploration. Says Lund, “We’ve made spontaneous monoprints, worked out ‘what if’ issues, used printmaking elements that end up as drawings, used equipment and/or print techniques in his paintings—it can be very fluid since I’m just down the hall. In between projects or even in the middle of a print, I never know what Jasper might walk in and ask for....” Johns’s print and painting studios are housed in the same converted carriage barn; their proximity permits the artist’s effortless movement between the different techniques. The exhibition offers an exclusive glimpse into John’s private print studio through a selection of recent photographs.
“This is a story that’s never been publicly told,” says exhibition curator Ellen Keiter. While many of the works featured in Jasper Johns & John Lund: Masters in the Print Studio have been included in other museum and gallery exhibitions, they have not been viewed through the lens of these two masters’ working relationship. Process is explored in proofs and plates, and Lund’s personal photographs of Johns at work are also on display. “Mr. Johns is a famously private person,” says Keiter. “I believe it is out of respect for Lund and his untold contributions that Mr. Johns has granted us open access to his print studio.” Interim Executive Director Belinda Roth adds: “We are delighted to bring this new perspective to Jasper Johns scholarship. The works on display form a telling representation of the second half of his printmaking career. We’re equally proud to recognize John Lund and his singular role in contemporary printmaking.”
The exhibition Jasper Johns & John Lund: Masters in the Print Studio will be on view at the Katonah Museum from March 23 through June 15, 2014. In connection with the exhibition, the Museum will publish an illustrated catalogue with an essay by Wendy Weitman, former Curator in the Department of Prints and Illustrated Books at MoMA, and now an independent curator.
ABOUT THE MUSEUM
The Katonah Museum of Art, committed to presenting exceptional art from all cultures and time periods, through innovative exhibition and education programs, promotes the understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts for diverse audiences. The founders’ decision to be a non-collecting institution resulted in a dynamic and flexible exhibition program, which remains one of the most distinctive features of the KMA. The KMA offers lectures, films, workshops, concerts and other events for a general audience; and presents innovative and substantive programs for over 100 member schools. Our Learning Center is the only interactive space in Westchester County where children can come on a daily basis to explore and create art.
UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS include ICELAND: Artists Respond to Place (June 29 – September 28, 2014) and Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor (October 12, 2014 – January 4, 2015).
Katonah Museum of Art, 134 Jay Street, Katonah, NY 10536
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