New Ground

Jacob Samuel and Contemporary Etching

Oct 29, 2023–Mar 16, 2024

MoMA

Charline von Heyl. Untitled from Black Sun: The Brief Transit and Violent Eclipse of Harry Crosby. 2013. One from a portfolio of eight etchings with drypoint, roulette, aquatint, and chine collé; plate: 7 13/16 × 6 7/8" (19.9 × 17.4 cm); sheet: 16 15/16 × 15" (43 × 38.1 cm). Publisher: Edition Jacob Samuel, Santa Monica. Printer: Edition Jacob Samuel, Santa Monica. Edition: 10. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the generosity of John Baldessari, Catie and Donald Marron, and Mary M. and Sash A. Spencer. © 2022 Charline von Heyl
  • MoMA, Floor 2

What makes a 500-year-old printing process new? Master printer and publisher Jacob Samuel has brought etchings—printed images transferred to paper by metal plates dipped in acid—into the 21st century through collaborations with more than 60 contemporary artists. Some of the artists had never made prints; others had hated the process. But with Samuel’s guidance, they all adapted this historic technique to their artistic visions. New Ground: Jacob Samuel and Contemporary Etching gathers the resulting books and print portfolios to show the flexibility of etching and its reinvention for a contemporary world.

Samuel’s career began in the printshop of Abstract Expressionist painter Sam Francis. It was there that he determined the type of etching projects he wanted to publish: small scale, serial, and generally printed in a single tone. Soon, Samuel began to work on prints with a group of diverse and remarkably influential artists—painters like Christopher Wool and Jonas Wood, sculptors like Jannis Kounellis and Cristina Iglesias, musicians like Meredith Monk, and performance artists like Marina Abramović. Encompassing abstraction, figuration, and a diverse range of visual styles and approaches, the works in New Ground reflect Samuel’s success in making the tradition of old master printmaking relevant and inspiring today.

Organized by Esther Adler, Curator, and Margarita Lizcano Hernandez, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints.

Support for the exhibition is provided by the Annual Exhibition Fund. Leadership contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund, in support of the Museum’s collection and collection exhibitions, are generously provided by the Sandra and Tony Tamer Exhibition Fund, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley, Eva and Glenn Dubin, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Anne Dias, Kenneth C. Griffin, Alice and Tom Tisch, the Marella and Giovanni Agnelli Fund for Exhibitions, Mimi Haas, The David Rockefeller Council, The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Kathy and Richard S. Fuld, Jr., The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, and Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder. Major contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund are provided by Emily Rauh Pulitzer, The Sundheim Family Foundation, and Karen and Gary Winnick.

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