Democratic Art: Print Week Descends Upon New York
Even though the Democratic Party is in no mood to celebrate, the “democratic art” — as the 19th century dubbed prints and printmaking — is having quite the party in New York City. This weekend sees the culmination of Print Week, with the 23rd IFPDA Print Fair at the Park Avenue Armory at its heart, and a slew of satellite fairs and special exhibitions taking over the city.
The Independent Fine Print Dealers Association is a prestigious organization of member galleries and private dealers. Increasingly, as the New York Times critic Karen Rosenberg observed this week, the booths are presented as solo exhibitions or curated thematic displays rather than following the model of a relocated traditional print shop with bins and boxes of unframed specimens. This would seem to reflect both the higher prices paid for prints and the revival of the idea of prints as an entry-level-collecting item for those displaced by the astronomical prices of “blue chip” and established artists. The Park Avenue Armory on Park Avenue and 67th Street is open Saturday to 8pm and Sunday from noon to 6pm.
Among the satellite shows around town is E/AB, the Editions and Artists’ Books Fair in Chelsea, organized by the non-profit Lower East Side Printshop. This fair, taking place at the Art Beam building at 540 West 21st Street, attracts dozens of small presses, private dealers and galleries from New York and around the world. Michael Woolworth Publications of Paris, for instance, is presenting advance copies of a long-awaited project of French painter Marc Desgrandchamps, his Fragments, with texts by Pliny the Elder.