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Prints POP in “It’s New / It’s Now”

Posted on by Minneapolis Institute of Arts

The 1970s

We recall the 1970s as an era of disco, environmentalism, hot pants, and anti-war protests. The political awareness of the 1960s spilled into the 1970s. However, political demonstrations became more violent. In the US, citizens took firm stances against nuclear warfare, calling for peace and an end to war hawk tendencies. Public distrust in large corporations rose to an all time high and the public concern for the natural environment took center stage.

In the 1970s, printmaking experienced changes of its own, entering into the modern repertoire of popular artists like Roy Lichtenstein, Sam Francis and Jasper Johns. The popularization of printmaking was influenced by print shops’ new multidisciplinary approach that allowed artists to cross mediums and push boundaries.

This 1971 print titled White Bone is featured in “It’s New / It’s Now: Recent Gifts of Contemporary Prints and Drawings.” In White Bone, artist Sam Francis evokes the sensation of colored light, like looking through a kaleidoscope. Read more below.

Check back next week when we explore the yuppies, hairspray, monotypes, aerobics, and neo-expressionism of the 1980s.

White Bone_520Sam Francis (American, 1923–94), White Bone, 1971, color lithograph on Arches cover paper. Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles; edition of 65. Gift of Helen and J. Kimball Whitney

More about the artist and print

Abstract Expressionist Sam Francis considered printmaking fundamental to his artistic vision, producing more than 450 editioned lithographs, etchings, and screenprints. In the 1960s, he began collaborating with leading print workshops, including Gemini G.E.L. and Tamarind Lithography Workshop, both in his hometown of Los Angeles. In 1970, Francis founded his own lithography studio in Santa Monica, California, which became the center of his print production.

White Bone embodies Francis’s mature style of fluid, gestural abstraction. Printed in three contrasting tones of blue ink, the lithograph illustrates his mark-making technique, a deliberative process of dripping and splashing layers of amorphous shapes of semi-transparent color against a white ground. His intent was to evoke the sensation of colored light, like looking through a kaleidoscope, an effect he described as “ceaseless instability.”

Visit “It’s New / It’s Now: Recent Gifts of Contemporary Prints and Drawings” to see White Bone and 120 other contemporary prints and drawings in person. Reserve your tickets today!

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