Since 1981 the National Gallery of Art has been home to the complete archive collection of one of Americas greatest printmaking workshops, Gemini G.E.L. (Graphic Editions Limited). This exhibition highlights approximately 50 of the finest prints and works of edition sculpture produced by 50 of the foremost contemporary artists who have collaborated with Geminis master printers and artisans over the last 35 years.
From its beginnings, Gemini has introduced cutting-edge methods of fabrication to realize the visions of its invited artists, said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. We are pleased to present these innovative works by some of the greatest names in contemporary art.
Best Impressions: 35 Years of Prints and Sculpture from Gemini G.E.L. reviews the work of many of the artists who have published with Gemini G.E.L. since its earliest days. The images range from Robert Rauschenbergs early-career masterpiece Booster, which redefined the possibilities of size and scale of contemporary prints when it was published in 1967, to David Hockneys Going Round (1994), which explored fresh possibilities of integrating computer-enhanced imagery in fine art prints.
Long time Gemini artist Roy Lichtenstein produced many series of prints at Gemini. He is here represented with one of his Asian-inspired landscapes created with enlarged Ben Day dots, which he completed shortly before his death in 1997. Included among the many other masters who have worked at Gemini over a long period are Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, and Claes Oldenburg.
Visitors will see an astonishing range of explorations by artists at Gemini, from the intimate to the Herculean. A delicate intaglio by Vija Celmins counterpoints an immense multi part lithograph by French conceptual artist Daniel Buren. Imaginative edition sculpture includes Tang (1977) by Mark di Suvero, a work in steel composed of jigsaw- puzzle-like pieces that can be assembled in multiple configurations, and Krone by Edward Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, a humorous yet ominous sculptural still life enhanced with sound.
In addition, abstract expressionist Robert Motherwell and surrealist Man Ray are represented, as well as key artists who emerged in the pop art era, such as James Rosenquist and Edward Ruscha. Other figures explore the realm of abstraction, including Josef Albers, Frank Stella, and Richard Serra, or reflect the growth of conceptual art, such as John Baldessari. A blossoming of expressive figuration is seen in the imaginative prints of Elizabeth Murray and Saul Steinberg, as well as in Susan Rothenbergs mysterious and atmospheric images.
The work of artists new to Gemini is also included in the exhibition, for example an image by poet/artist Allen Ginsberg, provocative work by Robert Gober, a groundbreaking print by Ann Hamilton, and a lyrical etching with lithograph by Brice Marden. The show is enhanced by a sculpture by architect/artist Frank Gehry, based on a design he utilized on a much larger scale as an architectural element for a bank atrium in Germany.
lithograph and silkscreen
on Curtis Rag paper
National Gallery of Art, Washington,
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Maclyn E. Wade, 1978
Robert Rauschenberg and
Gemini G.E.L./VAGA, New York, NY