Fit to Print is a group exhibition exploring the use of newspapers in art from the post-war era to the present day. Across three thematic sections – Circuits of Print, Print as Transposition and Print Interventions – it addresses how artists work with the medium of newsprint as a nexus where the studio, everyday life and current events perennially merge and collide. This exploration is particularly timely in an age when truth in news is fractured and suspect, due to the proliferation of sensationalist stories pitted against traditional sources of journalism.
Fit to Print features Lisa Blas, Jennifer Bolande, Chryssa, Laura Fields, Jef Geys, Beatriz González, Helena Hernmarck, Rita Maas, Dan Perjovschi, Donna Ruff, Soledad Salamé and Paul Thek. The works of these twelve modern and contemporary artists reveal slippages between everyday life and what is depicted and recounted on the printed, published page. In this exhibition, they present visual spaces of rupture as sites for re-inscription, socio-political critique and material transformation. In each artwork, image and language oscillate, stretching notions of time and triggering memories. When someone says “newspaper,” a very specific image is conjured in the mind. Every day, we skim or read the news and interpret images simultaneously, as if through automatic bodily function. The artists in Fit to Print redefine the newspaper as we know it. They highlight the urgency and implications of our engagement with the news, asking viewers, “What do you read, what do you retain, what do you share?”
Fit to Print is inspired by the legacy of artists who have harnessed the potency of newspaper’s form and surface. Since Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns mined this territory, artists have continued to transform the newspaper and critique its form in a variety of ways. In the early 1980s, Doug Hall painted over newspaper columns in red and black, isolating fragments of text and headline. Concurrently, Simone Forti developed her “Newspaper Animations,” improvised performances that translate the text and images from newspapers into bodily movements. The day after the September 11 attacks in 2001, Hans-Peter Feldmann collected over 100 newspapers from around the world in the installation 9/12 Front Page, which reveals the similarities and differences in coverage across languages, continents and cultures. More recently, Sarah Charlesworth used strategies of redaction in photographs and Joseph Bartscherer created a readymade, minimalist grid of The New York Times front page obituaries. These predecessors inspire and inform the work of artists featured in Fit to Print.
In conjunction with Fit to Print, Lisa Blas has been commissioned to create a site-specific installation for The Print Center’s series Windows on Latimer. Conceived in response to our temporary closure due to COVID-19, it utilizes our building’s iconic bay window in Center City Philadelphia as an exhibition space, providing safe and easy access to art from the street.
Fit to Print is on view from May 1 through June 30, 2021, after which it will be archived on The Print Center’s website. Sign up below for The Print Center’s newsletter to receive updates on the exhibition and related public programs. For optimal viewing, a desktop computer is recommended.
Fit to Print is organized by Dr. Ksenia Nouril, The Print Center’s Jensen Bryan Curator, and exhibition advisor Lisa Blas, who conceived the exhibition’s premise, with Samantha Sacks, Curatorial Intern. The website was designed by Mikaela Hawk, Development & Communications Manager.
The Print Center would like to thank the artists in and lenders to this exhibition.