Co-organized by Indra K. Lācis, PhD, Director of Exhibitions, and Tanya Bakija, MFA, Coordinator of Exhibitions, and Exhibitions Staff, with initial support from Nichole Maury, Professor of Art, Frostic School of Art
Rooted in the belief that learning directly from art objects remains absolutely key, the main purpose of the print collection is to enrich the educational experience of Frostic School of Art students, faculty, and staff. A specialized sub-collection within the larger University Art Collection, the print collection was initiated in 1969 by Professor Emeritus Curtis Rhodes and today includes more than 800 works on paper or multiples. Originally housed in the School of Art’s previous home, Sangren Hall, the Collection relocated to the then newly built Richmond Center for Visual Arts in 2007. Professor of Art Nichole Maury, Curator of the print collection, assumed oversight of the print collection in the early 2000s and worked with graduate student Patrick Trimbath to rehouse and reorganize it. Developed to demonstrate an incredibly wide-ranging history of printmaking, including diverse processes, techniques, and aesthetics, the print collection continues to serve as a flexible and ever-evolving teaching device.
Jumpstarted by a decade of purchases selected from biennial juried exhibitions hosted by WMU’s Department of Art (now the Frostic School of Art) between 1964 and 1974, the print collection continued to grow in subsequent decades through both purchases and generous donations. An artist residency program through which artists spent time on campus and interacted with students led to major acquisitions. The generosity and connectedness of master printer Mike Sims, WMU alumnus (BS, 1968) and owner and master printer of the Lawrence Lithography Workshop in Kansas City, MO, also endowed the collection with great depth; he has donated major works to the collection and made accessible for collecting dozens of works in the collection that WMU might not have otherwise had an opportunity to purchase. And recently, in 2013, Founding Director of Exhibitions Don Desmett facilitated an enormous gift of New York City’s EXIT art print portfolios, which contributed a deeply relevant contemporary sensibility spanning three decades of artists whose work challenged established notions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and equality.
Featuring nearly 100 prints from the University Art Collection, this exhibition includes an extensive and assorted array of post-modern and contemporary artists, including Joseph Albers, Laylah Ali, Terry Allen, Rina Banaerjee, Chakaia Booker, Jim Dine, Leon Golub, Ellsworth Kelly, Grandma (Elizabeth) Layton, Sol Lewitt, Lorna Marsh, Robyn O’Neil, Catherine Opie, Tony Oursler, Richard Hamilton, Robert Rauschenberg, Michael Rovner, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Do Ho Suh, Roger Shimomura, and Cy Twombly, among dozens of other notable artists.