This unique anthology presents thirty-two texts on contemporary prints and printmaking written from the mid-1980s to the present. The essays range from academic art history to popular art criticism and creative writing; taken together, they form a critical topography of printmaking today. The book’s four sections provide: A genealogy of printmaking and print culture; A sample of debates on contemporary printmaking, beginning with Ruth Weisberg’s influential ‘The syntax of print’ (1986); A range of critical terms and themes; Examples of some of the major spheres of print activity, such as production, collecting, dissemination, education and research Drawing on a cast of distinguished scholars, artists and curators, the book makes available a selection of widely dispersed and difficult-to-find texts. This includes extracts from works not yet available in English, such as Die Welt als T-Shirt (1997) by Beat Wyss and La Ressemblance par contact (2008) by Georges Didi-Huberman. There are also contributions from scholar and book artist Johanna Drucker, mathematician and computer artist Frieder Nake, curators Daniel F. Herrmann, Gill Saunders and Mari Carmen Ramírez, and the editors of the award-winning website Printeresting. Featuring an overall introduction by the editor, as well as introductions to each of the sections, the anthology is aimed at an audience of international stakeholders in the field of contemporary prints, printmaking and print media, ranging from art students and practising artists to museum curators, critics, educationalists and scholars. It provides the basis for an expansion of the debate in the field and a starting point for further research.
In the last chapter of her book Print Culture, Frances Robertson asks whether the widespread assertion of the ‘death of print’, that is, its displacement by digital technologies and media forms, is accurate. Indeed have the texts and images that we encounter daily become as dematerialised as is constantly argued?
Sheryl Conkelton’s text illuminates print’s historic disseminating role increating and sustaining public discourse. It was written for Philagrafika, the 2009/10 biennale in Philadelphia, USA (see essay by Roca in Part II). Conkelton also charts the changes to public discourse, especially in the twenty-first century: not only has it become global, but the public sphere is no longer conceived as the uniform, monolithic space of old. Instead, it encompasses different local, if overlapping experiences, by multiple publics.
Australian artist and educator Richard Harding explores print’s position within contemporary art through the socio-political notion, developed in the context of postcolonial and queer theory, of ‘otherness’. Viewed through the lens of identity and gender politics, print’s matrixial and reproductive nature and its lack of ‘originality’ result in its ‘queer’ position within art’s medium hierarchy.
One of the earliest computer artists, German Frieder Nake, reflects on the differences between two different types of print matrix, both frequently used by contemporary printmakers – often in the same work of art. These are the physical plate or screen that serve as matrix on the one hand and the digital ‘pixel’ matrix on the other.
Production and dissemination are closely intertwined, especially for a private print publisher. Jeremy Lewinson’s text – written in the 1990s – gives an insight into this important commercial model of print activity by focusing on the equally crucial format of the print portfolio. It charts the establishment of British print publisher Charles Booth-Clibborn’s Paragon Press.
Kathryn Reeves presented her paper ‘The re-vision of printmaking’ at the first IMPACT International Printmaking Conference in Bristol in 1999. It was clearly intended, as the title suggests, as a challenge to the field. In many respects, her text took up the mantle from Weisberg’s 1986 essay to which Reeves refers and whose critical-theoretical scope she expands. Employing the insights of critical theory, especially semiotics, psychoanalysis and feminism, Reeves demonstrates how these can be fruitfully employed to interrogate issues crucial to print, such as authorship, reproduction and originality.
This chapter examines sleeping beauties in the luxury fashion industry. The term 'sleeping beauty' is used to describe a Parisian haute couture brand that, once world-renowned but long dormant, has been rediscovered and reintroduced as a brand in the contemporary market. Drawing upon the conceptual tool elaborated by Pierre Bourdieu, the chapter analyses the cases of two entrepreneurs, Guy de Lummen and his son Arnaud de Lummen, whose investment in dormant fashion firms exemplifies the sleeping beauty phenomenon. It shows how the father-and-son team appropriated the objectified cultural capital of sleeping beauty brands, both materially and symbolically, first, by buying the legal rights to use them, and second, by acquiring the knowledge necessary to commercialize new products. The chapter builds upon a wide range of unpublished sources, including interviews with Arnaud de Lummen, records of the family's firms, and material and objects held in public institutions.
Haute couture and design management in the postwar era
This chapter explores the struggles of postwar couture from three focal points. First, it focuses on the dissemination of Paris couture through the development of agreements with domestic French manufacturers to reproduce couture lines for a wider audience. Next, the chapter addresses the relationship between the couturiers and the French government, and the politics of subventions granted by the state to haute couture during the 1950s. Haute couture catered to exclusive clients, expecting its designs to trickle down from the top and to be imitated by the lower strata of society. Finally, the chapter examines how entrepreneurs in the couture business sought to protect their portfolios of intellectual property rights in the years around the signature of the Treaty of Rome, 1957, which created the foundation for European integration through the formation of the Common Market. These major developments emerged against the backdrop of the development of the welfare state.
Shiona Chillas, Melinda Grewar, and Barbara Townley
This chapter analyses culture and enterprise with reference to the Scottish textiles, tartan and tweed. It considers how rhythms of culture and enterprise are accommodated in the practices of designers, and operated in the production process itself. The chapter investigates the 'fashion as fast' and 'textiles as slow' opposition by examining where and how the material artefacts are produced; the interactions between textile producers and fashion designers; and how and where the symbolic capital of textiles and fashion is manifest and maintained. It focuses on the symbolic capital of textiles as producers reach back in time to valorize traditional patterns, modes of production, and traditional garments to express the timeless qualities of the cloths. The chapter also focuses on how this is parlayed into economic capital in the sphere of enterprise. It discusses symbolic capital in the field of fashion and the place of time in strategies of distinction.