A current exhibit at the Albuquerque Museum pays tribute to master printers. It is their skills, talents and ability to problem solve that help to create fine art prints. It is the artist, not the printmaker, who gets credit for the work, even though many fine art prints are true collaborations and many printmakers are artists themselves.

Iconic printers, like Kenneth Tyler and Ron Adams, revived the art of lithography in America. They taught many artists how to work with a lithography stone and also collaborated on design and composition.

Ron Adams (1934-2020) was a talented artist and printmaker. He attended the Los Angeles Trade Technical College, Manual Arts Adult Night School, Los Angeles City College, Otis College of Art and Design, UCLA, the University of Mexico.

Adams worked at Ken Tyler’s illustrious Gemini G.E.L. printing workshop in Los Angeles and at Editions Press in San Francisco. He left California in 1974 to found Hand Graphics Ltd. in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Ron Adams worked with Jasper Johns,  Ellsworth Kelly and other artists. He was one of the printers who helped Robert Rauschenberg with his Stoned Moon Series. The works were printed at Gemini G.E.L. after Rauschenberg was invited by NASA to witness the first moon landing. Adams sold Hand Graphics, in 1987, to focus on his own artwork.

Bill Lagattuta took over Hand Graphics and worked with Jim Dine and other artists to help them create fine lithographs. Lagattuta and Dine worked together for more than fourteen years.

The Printer’s Proof: Artist and Printer Collaborations focuses on six master printers. Each printer is also a fine artist and empathetic collaborator. A video of their works and perspectives accompanies the exhibit.

Master printers have had a profound effect on the works of many artists. Kenneth Tyler began working with artists in the 1960s. His expertise had a great impact on American artists and the rise of printmaking. He established some of the finest print workshops on both the East and West coasts of the U.S.

His most famous, and longest, collaboration was with Frank Stella. The pair worked together for more than forty years, until Tyler’s retirement in 2000. Tyler also worked with Helen Frankenthaler, Roy Lichtenstein and David Hockney.

The Printer’s Proof: Artist and Printer Collaborations will be on view at the Albuquerque Museum through May 15, 2022.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the fine art prints available at VFA.


References:
The History Makers. Ron Adams Biography. July 13, 2010.
Nancy Zastudil. Shining a Light on the Art of the Printmaker. Hyperallergic. April 4, 2022.
Museum of Texas Tech University. Crisscross: Bill Lagattuta and Collaborative Printmaking (Series 2 of 3). January 2022.
Princeton University Art Museum. Printing without Limits: Frank Stella, Ken Tyler, and the Making of Juam. 2002.