This past Wednesday was the annual International Print Center New York (IPCNY) gala at the gorgeous former bank-turned event space, Capitale. This year IPCNY’s new director Judy Hecker honored artist/printmaker Jim Dine, The Whitney’s David Kiehl, and pioneering gallerist Barbara Krakow, each of whom are powerhouses within the printworld in their own right.
Although prints and multiples are often considered to be more affordable in the larger art world scheme; the overall event raised over $400,000, a substantial amount even by New York standards. In spite of the recent threat to federal arts funding, or perhaps because of it, collectors, artists, and print enthusiasts came out to show their support for the organization’s endeavors. Patrons of print included art world greats such as Kiki Smith, Jeffrey Deitch, Guerilla Girl Zubeida Agha, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Adam Weinberg, Marnie Pillsbury, and Anders Bergstrom, among many others.
The success of the fundraiser undoubtedly boosted by a small, but significant auction of print-based works from established IPCNY alumni such as Mel Bochner, Dan Walsh, Ruth Lingen, Trenton Doyle Hancock, and more. Of particular interest was Miss 2017, a series of screen-printed sashes that were created by artists Louise Eastman, Jess Frost, Tara Geer, Katie Michele, Wendy Small, and Janis Stemmermann, for the 2017 Women’s March on Washington. The inclusion of this remarkable activist-oriented work is a nod to some of the new exhibition initiatives that IPCNY is taking on under the new directorship of Hecker, who joined the organization just under a year ago.
Under Hecker’s leadership, the organization’s exhibition program has taken a curatorial step to addressing more socially evocative work. Her inaugural exhibition and current travelling show, “Black Pulp!” (curated by William Villalongo and Mark Thomas Gibson), is “an exhibition that examines evolving perspectives of black identity in American culture and history from 1912 to 2016 through contemporary works of art and rare historical printed media,” according to a recent release. This type of show is long overdue, not just for IPCNY, but in general. Exhibitions that are not simply about technique, materials, and aesthetics, but really delve into the plurality, heterogeneity, and complexity of identity are essential in a time when xenophobia is re-emerging in a mainstream manner.
Kudos to IPCNY on a fabulous benefit evening, and an era of exciting new programing!