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Limited Editions: 20th-Century Prints from the Ponderosa Collection
February 23 - April 27, 2008

 

The Dayton Art Institute is displaying Limited Editions: 20th-Century Prints from the Ponderosa Collection from February 23 through April 27, 2008. Works by such renowned artists as Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Jim Dine, Julian Schnabel, Susan Rothenberg and David Salle are among those featured in the collection of more than 100 limited edition prints -- a collection with a history unique to Dayton itself.

In 1987, The Dayton Art Institute made a bold and unprecedented move: in less than a week, the museum's director and board of trustees secured a $1.5 million loan to purchase the contemporary art collection of Ponderosa, Inc., the Dayton-based chain of steak restaurants. The corporate collection, which encompassed more than 300 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and photographs, offered a virtual survey of American art in the second half of the 20th century.

Due to their sensitivity to light, most of the prints in the Ponderosa Collection have remained in storage at The Dayton Art Institute since they were purchased in 1987. Some prints have never before been on public display, while others have not been seen in years.

"Limited Editions features some of the most important examples of the flourishing of American printmaking from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s and testifies to the enthusiasm of the Dayton citizens in assuring that this outstanding collection stayed in the community," said Janice Driesbach, Director and CEO of The Dayton Art Institute. "The exhibition promises to be visually exciting and a celebration of community support for the arts."

The period of time represented by the prints in Limited Editions mirrors the collecting years of Ponderosa, Inc. (1968 -1987). Established in the late 1960s, Ponderosa grew quickly, built modern headquarters in Dayton, and began collecting art. The company focused on contemporary American art; especially art that might be considered cutting edge. While Ponderosa CEO Gerald Office provided the inspiration for the collection, Cincinnati gallery owner Carl Solway supplied the artistic vision.

The Ponderosa Collection might have remained a footnote in Dayton history if not for Solway and the inspired work and contributions of The Dayton Art Institute's leadership in 1987. That was the year Ponderosa was the target of a leveraged buyout by a New York investor who quickly sought to "liquidate" all "non-essential assets." It was Solway who called then museum director Bruce Evans about the impending sale of the art at auction. By this time, the collection -- which had been accessible for tours throughout the years -- had come to be viewed as an essential part of community cultural life.

The purchase of the Ponderosa collection was lauded by the community and supported by a fundraising campaign entitled "The Art of Our Time." While the art is no longer exactly "of our time," it is still timely, fresh, and representative of some of the best work from the period.

To view images please click here.

 

A curator's perspective

Just over 20 years ago, The Dayton Art Institute accomplished something truly remarkable: in less than a week, it made a decision and secured a loan enabling it to spend $1.5 million dollars on more than 300 works of contemporary art.
 
Admittedly, there were a few things that were remarkable about the transaction. There was, of course, the speed with which the Board of Trustees acted and the scale of the purchase. But there is also the quality of the art. Although many examples of this purchase have been on view over the years -- such as Andy Warhol's Russell Means and Robert Motherwell's Study in Black and White #2 -- more than 100 of the acquisitions were limited edition prints. As works on paper, the museum has been unable to exhibit these works together for any length of time: many are quite sizeable and all are, of course, sensitive to light.
 
For the first time, Limited Editions: 20th-Century Prints from the Ponderosa Collection will present nearly all of these works in a single special exhibition. eaturing such artists as Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Jim Dine, Julian Schnabel, Susan Rothenberg and David Salle, this collection is a stunning review of some of the most interesting prints from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s.
 
The period of time represented by the prints mirrors the collecting years of Ponderosa, Inc. (1968-1987). Although familiar to Dayton natives and those with a fondness for a good steak in the 1970s, Ponderosa is no longer the lively corporate presence it once was. Established in the late 1960s, it grew quickly, built modern headquarters in Dayton, and began collecting art. In an effort to express its "progressive" corporate philosophy, the company focused on contemporary American art; especially art that might be considered cutting edge. While Ponderosa CEO Gerald Office provided the inspiration for the collection, Cincinnati gallery owner Carl Solway supplied the artistic vision.
 
The Ponderosa Collection might have remained a footnote in Dayton history if not for Solway and the inspired work and contributions of the museum leadership in 1987. That was the year Ponderosa was the target of a leveraged buyout by a New York investor who quickly sought to "liquidate" all "non-essential assets." It was Solway who called then museum director Bruce Evans about the impending sale of the art at auction. By this time, the collection-which had been accessible for tours throughout the years-had come to be viewed as an essential part of community cultural life.
 
The purchase was lauded by the community and supported in a campaign entitled "The Art of Our Time." While the art is no longer exactly "of our time," it is still timely, fresh, and representative of some of the best work from the period.
 
Ironically, although the prints have escalated dramatically in value, they now fulfill the original mission of the print: to make the artist's work more widely available. This was part of the initial, idealistic impetus for some of the print publishing houses of the 1960s, such as Marian Goodman's Multiples. Indeed, in Limited Editions, audiences will see exceptional works on paper by James Rosenquist, Cy Twombly, and Richard Diebenkorn -- artists not represented in The Dayton Art Institute's collection with paintings.
 
The prints also document -- with their often-dramatic size, techniques and materials-the new mode of collaborative production developed by publishing houses such as Gemini, GEL, and Tyler Graphics. In this new model, artists worked side by side with master printers to create limited edition works, favoring lithography and silkscreen over traditional intaglio methods. Jasper Johns' "rainbow roll" Color Numeral series from 1969 is a classic early example of this approach.
 
Despite the collaborative approach, the artist's hand is still apparent in these works. Evidence of the artist's touch translates well in lithography and even in the sophisticated use made of silkscreen, in which images can be hand-painted as well as photo-transferred onto the screen. The woodblock print -- here often employed on a huge scale by artists such as Jim Dine and Susan Rothenberg -- records the vigorous gouges and marks of the artist, a virtual record of artistic physicality. Finally, each is signed and numbered by the artist, sometimes subtly, occasionally flamboyantly.
 
Thoughtfully imagined, scrupulously executed, these prints offer a window onto one of the most exciting periods of American art production and collection.
 
-- Eileen Carr, Curator, Limited Editions


Related programs

For more information or to register for any of the following programs, please contact The Dayton Art Institute at (937) 223-5277.
 
 
For adults
 
The Art of Collecting Prints
Sunday, March 16, 2:00 p.m.
Join Dayton Art Institute Director and CEO Janice Driesbach as she moderates a panel of experts discussing the "art of collecting prints." Limited edition prints offer an accessible way to enter the art collecting market. Hear from Carl Solway of Carl Solway Gallery in Cincinnati; Linda Lombard, an avid print collector; David Leach, printmaker and collector; and Limited Editions curator Eileen Carr. This panel promises to give you curatorial and artistic insight as well as practical information and advice on how to navigate your way in the print market. Learn how to get started, understand the terminology used, and know what to look for when you're buying. Free for museum members, Fee for non-members
 
Master Printmaker: Andy Warhol
Thursday, April 24
Gallery Talk at 6:30 p.m.
Join Curator Eileen Carr inside Limited Editions: 20th-Century Prints from the Ponderosa Collection for an up-close look at the work of Andy Warhol and a few of his famous Pop Art contemporaries. Non-members should purchase a ticket to the exhibition to go on this gallery talk.
Documentary Film from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Enjoy a special screening of excerpts from American Masters
Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film in partnership with Think TV
This program is free.
 
Non-Toxic Printmaking with Color Monotypes
Saturday, March 8, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Ages 16 +
Instructor: Erin Holscher Almazan
Learn how to create colorful monotypes with water-based inks and other non-toxic materials.
Monotypes offer a painterly approach to printmaking and a great starting point for the beginner. Using a plexiglass printmaking plate, learn different techniques for adding and removing ink. The spontaneity of monotypes makes them the perfect medium for students who love to experiment. Fee for museum members and non-members. All materials and admission to Limited Editions included.
 
Personalized Solar Printmaking
Saturday, March 15, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Ages 16 +
Instructor: Matt Burgy
Using a light-sensitive solar plate, learn how to make an eye-popping photo-realistic print from your own photographs. Then print the plate in a variety of colors and combine it with monotype and collagraph techniques. This exciting new water-based process is safe enough to do at home.
Fee for museum members and non-members. All materials and admission to Limited Editions included.
 
Lithography
Saturday, March 29, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Ages 16 +
Instructor: David Sweeney
This workshop will be held at the Dayton Printmakers Cooperative, located less than 2 miles from the museum. View their multi-faceted collection of lithographs. Then learn how to use a lithography press, plates, crayons and other traditional tools to create your own lithograph.
Bring your drawings and ideas. A map will be included in your confirmation.
Fee for museum members and non-members. All materials and admission to Limited Editions included.
 
Woodcut Printmaking
Saturdays, April 5, 12, 19, and 26, 1:00 -3:30 p.m.
Ages 16 +
Instructor: Lucy Leaverton
Learn the basics of creating a relief print with linoleum and wood by using different methods of carving and printing on a press. Using a variety of techniques, participants can create bold, graphic or tonal forms in multi-colored prints. Stenciling, multiple blocks, and layering in order to create a collage image will be demonstrated. Participants will also explore the work of traditional and contemporary artists, gaining inspiration and insight into woodcut prints.
Fee for museum members and non-members. All materials and admission to Limited Editions included.
 
 
For teens
 
Art Lab: T-Shirt Screenprinting Workshop
Saturdays, March 29 - May 3, 1:00 - 3:30 p.m.
Instructor: Heather Caulfield
Explore the world of screenprinting and create your own unique T-shirt design. Using both graphic collage and your hand-drawn images, you will be introduced to a variety of techniques and materials including photo-transfer, wax pencil, and masking film. Please supply your own T-shirts. Fee for museum members and non-members. All materials provided.
 
 
 
For youth
 
After School Club: Experience Printmaking
Thursdays, April 3 - 24, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Ages 6-12
Instructor: Matt Burgy
View the many prints throughout the museum and then experience the world of printmaking starting with painterly monoprints. You will learn how to use the press to make a relief print and more. Fee for museum members and non-members. All materials provided.
 
 
 
For families
 
Squirt, Roll and Squeeze! Family Printmaking Workshop
Sunday, April 13, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Ages 5 -15 with an adult partner
Join us for an afternoon of printmaking with some fun and unusual materials. Watch a printmaker at work as they demonstrate how to make prints both on and off the press. Then children with their adult partners will try their hand at printmaking.
Fee for museum members and non-members.


RL Editor's note: Readers may enjoy:

and this video:

Andy Warhol: A Documentary (from American Masters). PBS says about this 240 minutes 2006 PBS Home Video DVD filmed in 16 x 9 aspect ratio: "Winner of the Peabody Award! No artist in the second half of the 20th century was more famous, or misunderstood, than Andy Warhol. This film explores his astonishing output from the late 1940s to his death in 1987. Obsessed with the desire to transcend his origins, Warhol grasped the realities of modern society and became the high priest of one of the most radical experiments in American culture, penetrating the barrier between art and commerce."

TFAO does not maintain a lending library of videos or sell videos. Click here for information on how to borrow or purchase copies of VHS videos and DVDs listed in TFAO's Videos -DVD/VHS, an authoritative guide to videos in VHS and DVD format

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