Stars: Contemporary Prints by Derrière L’Étoile Studio (Part Three)

Mar 08, 2014 - Jul 31, 2014
Eisenberg Gallery

Featuring significant contemporary prints by many artists who have defined the American art scene from 1980 to the present, this exhibition for the first time surveys more than three decades of prints produced by Derrière L’Étoile Studio in New York. When the printer Maurice Sánchez founded his workshop in 1978, he called it “Derrière L’Étoile”—meaning “behind the star” in French—to express his role as part of a technical team supporting the artist in printmaking projects. Derrière L’Étoile quickly became one of the leading printmaking studios in America.

Over the years Sánchez has steadily worked behind the scenes and collaboratively with many adventurous artists and print publishers to create extraordinary editions in traditional lithography or to skillfully combine new offset, photographic, and digital technologies to realize the innovative images each artist envisioned. In the late twentieth century, many artists created images by using original photography or by manipulating commercially published stock photographs or film stills, while others liked to combine different printmaking techniques.

Derrière L’Étoile Studio, which particularly excelled at lithography, was among the first workshops to translate photographically derived imagery into stunning inked prints. Because many contemporary artists embraced photographic reproductions and processes in their art making, arts professionals were compelled to redefine for collectors what distinguishes an original fine art print or photograph from a reproduction. In fact, numerous artists of this period created art that challenged notions of originality, authorship, and appropriation.

Selected from the Zimmerli Art Museum’s collection, these prints exemplify how contemporary artists redefined ways to represent perceptions of the world. In pursuit of nontraditional subject matter, some artists exploited current popular culture, consumerism, and mass media, while others adapted the pictorial vocabulary of graffiti and cartoons for artistic purposes. Yet a number of other artists instead explored new forms of abstraction.

Sánchez’s association with the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers dates back to 1982, when the museum launched its Rutgers Archives for Printmaking Studios collection to document aspects of printmaking in the United States. Since then, Sánchez has generously donated more than 500 printer’s proofs to the museum. These prints have become a primary resource for the Zimmerli’s contemporary art exhibitions and public programs, as well as for complementing the studies of Rutgers University faculty and students.

The exhibition is displayed in three parts. Part One included prints from 1980 through the early 1990s, Part Two spotlighted the 1990s, and Part Three showcases prints created from 2000 to 2014 by: John Baldessari, Walton Ford, Eric Fischl, April Gornik, Yvonne Jacquette, Alex Katz, Christian Marclay, Elizabeth Peyton, Raymond Pettibon, and others.

This exhibition is supported in part by the Fifth Floor Foundation.

Elizabeth Peyton
Tony  2000
Two-color lithograph
Gift of Maurice Sánchez, Derrière L’Étoile Studio