The Southern California–based printer and publisher Jacob Samuel has collaborated with a wide range of international artists between 1988, when he first established his Santa Monica studio, and 2015, when he recently closed its printing program. With a hands-on approach, Samuel has worked with artists regardless of their experience in printmaking, either inviting them to his workshop, or traveling to their own studios, thanks to a portable aquatint box (aquatint is a tonal form of etching) that he designed. This innovation has allowed him to collaborate, as he explained, “without a net, on the road, on the fly.” Over the decades, MoMA has acquired numerous portfolios from Edition Jacob Samuel. Last year, in recognition of his unique contribution to the medium, the Museum acquired the remaining projects, and now holds a complete archive of the workshop’s 65 editions.
On view are three examples of the diverse prints Edition Jacob Samuel has fostered. In the photogravures Some Narrow Views (Either Tall or Wide), John Baldessari catalogues abstract ideas (doubt, confrontation) in vertical or horizontal slices of imagery. For his etchings Entering Paradise, Miroslaw Balka invited 12 homeless men from the Santa Monica seaside to leave their footprints, paying them for the impressions. And Charline von Heyl’s etchings Black Sun: The Brief Transit and Violent Eclipse of Harry Crosby refer to a historical printing outfit—Crosby’s Black Sun Press, which published the work of English-language modernist writers in Paris in the 1920s.