The Picker recently received a generous gift of eight portfolios featuring prints by more than 50 contemporary artists—many new to the gallery’s collection— from the alternative arts space Exit Art. Founded in 1982 in New York City by Jeanette Ingberman and Papo Colo, Exit Art brought attention to the work of under-recognized and emerging artists through innovative exhibitions, films, and performances until it closed last year. The wide range of materials and techniques offers a veritable history of recent developments in printmaking. For example, in the 2004 portfolio Six by Four, the prints range from an inkjet print with hand perforation to a 4’ x 18’ schematic rendering of a shipping container.
Even less conventional is Chakaia Booker’s print, Quality Time (2004). Working in the print medium for the first time, she creates a vulcanized relief using her signature material—rubber. Known for converting tires into sculpture, Booker proposes an alternative form of waste renewal as she recycles rubber into art. Quality Time subtly extends the artist’s interest in recycling to address ideas about family legacy and what we pass on from one generation to the next. The family theme is suggested by repeated images of two faces, perhaps those of a child and a mother, which appear within a dense interweaving of patterns and textures, jumbled tires, and floral forms. The strong mother-child bond evoked through the print’s title is complicated somewhat by other elements in the print. The numbers 3, 6, 9, and 12 circle the print as if it were a clock face, in a sly attempt to quantify “quality time.” Milk cartons inscribed with the phrase “Say No to Drugs” further question the definition of “quality time” and hint at its complexity in contemporary society.
Elsie Widing ’15, Research Intern, Picker Art Gallery