Once an under-appreciated artistic medium, the contemporary print started to come into its own in the late 1950s. It now enjoys a position as one of visual art's most popular and accessible genres.
Jordan D. Schnitzer, 60, a Portland, Ore., businessman and philanthropist, doesn't see art prints as inferior and has amassed a huge collection of them. He bought his first at age 14, and today his collection of prints by major artists of the 1950s through today is considered one of the most comprehensive in the United States.
“Under Pressure: Contemporary Prints From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation,” an exhibition featuring 65 works by major print artists from the past 50 years, opens at Omaha's Joslyn Art Museum on Saturday.
Some of the earliest works in the show are mid-1960s prints by Ed Ruscha, an Omaha native now in his 70s who lives and works in California.
Other prominent artists in “Under Pressure” include Sol LeWitt, Helen Frankenthaler, John Baldessari, Donald Judd, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Enrique Chagoya, Sarah Morris, Barbara Kruger, Chuck Close and Roger Shimomura.
The youngest artist represented in the exhibit is Radcliffe Bailey, 44, from Atlanta. The newest work displayed will be a 2009 print by Hung Liu. Eleven of the artists are women; all but five of the 39 are still alive.
In a 2007 interview in The Oregonian, Schnitzer said that while he collects what he likes, it is always with the intention of sharing the thousands of works with the world. He said he delights in exposing people to new artists and new works.
Schnitzer met Joslyn's chief curator, Toby Jurovics, in spring 2011 and offered Joslyn a chance to develop an exhibition to share with audiences in Nebraska. The museum jumped at the chance.
“Under Pressure” will be on view through Jan. 6.
Some of the special events connected to the exhibition include the members' preview, with Schnitzer as a special guest, at 6 p.m. Friday; a free Family Fun Day, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 14; gallery talks by Karin Campbell, Joslyn's Phil Willson Curator of Contemporary Art, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18 and Jan. 3; “The Art of Dance: Momentum and Under Pressure” with Ballet Nebraska, 8 p.m. Oct. 19 and 2 p.m. Oct. 21; and “Framing the Flame: Art That Ignites” gallery presentation, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13.
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