In the catalogue, focused monographic sections on 10 artists are broken up by intervening sections in which a number of series by various artists (each reproduced in full, including all 139 etchings in Thomas Schütte’s Low Tide Wandering) are essentially scattered throughout the book, held together by a Ben-Day dot motif that continues inward from the cover. Through its exploded spatialization of images, the catalogue responds diligently to the way contemporary print media often incorporates Internet-inspired seriality as a strategy alongside other forms of repetition and older technologies like letterpress and intaglio. Christophe Cherix, Chief Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books and the exhibition organizer, says in his essay, “Over the last two decades, artists with no prior experience with printmaking have produced truly ambitious printed projects, often integrating newly available technologies with traditional techniques and choosing to work independently.”
Print/Out: 20 Years in Print pays keen attention to print’s quintessential form of repetition, the edition, now burst open. In order to experience the edition in its entirety, the reader must flip back and forth between the Ben-Day dot sections and the index at the back of the book, where full captions, including dimensions and materials, are listed. Individual images are labeled only with the title, year, and artist’s name in scattered huddles throughout the volume, with no obvious organizational logic other than motif, so that the works exist incompletely, at once here and elsewhere and never all in the same place. Additionally, several kinds of paper of varying weights, sizes, and textures are used, calling attention the the printed page as yet another form of “printmaking.”
The award-winning duo Mevis and Van Deursen of Amsterdam designed the catalogue and played an important role in designing the exhibition—which in many ways imitates the catalogue. Works hang from floor to ceiling (the catalogue’s transitional Ben-Day sections become wallpaper segments in the show), as if from bottom of page to top. Some of the catalogue’s pages are reproduced on the gallery walls in order to highlight the influence of graphic design on contemporary print media. With its screenprinted cover, featuring Ben-Day dots overlying a Martin Kippenberger print, the catalogue is itself a fine-art print edition—and a testament to the lasting vitality of that tradition in the digital era.