7/20/2023 - 12/17/2023

Printmaking — Worldmaking

Printmaking | Worldmaking presents a selection of prints old and new that engage in acts of worldmaking.

Worldmaking suggests the construction of stories, sites, and sights, real and invented. It permits the creation of multiple worlds by drawing on diverse perspectives, beliefs, experiences, and imaginings. Worldmaking makes room for representation and experimentation, for shuffling categories of knowledge and hierarchies, and for the conception of new and old subjects in art.

As consumers of digital and social mass media, many of us are conditioned to worldmaking as a daily praxis. We take photographs on smartphones of people we love, views and fleeting effects, occasions we want to remember, which we store and share as mobile pieces of visual information.

However, before the current landscape of social media and virtual realities, prints were a particularly effective medium for worldmaking. And they remain so. As a technology rooted in the principle of making physical impressions and imprints, printmaking has a long history as an authoritative medium of recording and representing the world. Yet rather than merely documenting or reflecting the world, prints also can instantiate new worlds. They create spaces for the fantastical, the fictionalized details of a mythic past, the foreign and alien, the marginalized, invisible, extraordinary and even the utterly commonplace.

Because the print is generally a portable medium of multiples, prints are both intimately experienced and shared among many anonymous viewers. Through the potency of repetition, prints can establish and disseminate their own truths, sometimes reinforcing power structures and ideologies, but just as often breaking down socio-political, cultural, and artistic norms. Whether as stand-alone images or parts of larger printed series, prints construct and occupy alternative worlds and temporalities for encounters, exchanges, and open-ended conversations to take place.

The recent gift of over one-hundred twenty Early Modern prints from Drs. Jeanine and Val Czubaroff serves as the core collection for this exhibition, through which the curators aim to reflect upon the vital role of prints as a form of visual communication and technology of worldmaking.

Curated by Ashley West, Jessica Braum, Danielle Cooke, Natalie Cruz, Emma Holter, Rachael Reynolds, Samantha Rhodes, Brittany Rubin, Alexandra Schoolman, and Jessica Sternbach from the Art History Graduate Program at Temple University, The Tyler School of Art & Architecture. We wish to thank the Berman Museum for their kind invitation to curate.

The Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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