College of Communications and Fine Arts Art Museum of the University of Memphis
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Ten Works x Ten Painters: A Portfolio of Screenprints

1964 was a year of hot, cold and cool. America unleashed its undeclared war on Vietnam, violence erupted against Civil Rights workers and Beatlemania raged among high school and college kids. The temperature of relations between the US and the USSR under new leadership was frosty but less dangerous than during the recent heart-stopping Cuban missile crisis. Through all of it, establishment elites and counterculture intellectuals populated distant planets of cool detachment. In 1964, prints were at the beginning of a steep ascent in popularity. Pop Art focused on contemporary mass market imagery, and commercial printing methods suddenly made sense as fine art techniques. Other artists appreciated prints' unique visual qualities as well as the opportunity to develop audiences beyond a circle of wealthy collectors. Although perfected by fine art printers Norman Ives and Seward Sillman, the works in "Ten X Ten" are made by the silkscreen process used to produce advertisements, packaging and wallpaper. The ten works represent many 20th century late modernist styles—Pop, Op, Color Field, Minimalism, American Cubism—but most are united by emotional distance—a cool rationality of colors and shapes that react against the primal passions of Abstract Expressionism. The artistic philosophy of the time was "formalism," or art about art and nothing else. Even Pop Art with its focus on mass marketing celebrated its visual characteristics but maintained silence on social and cultural implications.

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Ten Works x Ten Painters: A Portfolio of Screenprints Hartford, Connecticut: The Wadsworth Atheneum, 1964 Printed by Ives-Sillman Mohawk Superfine paper or Mylar Edition 500 Gift of Samuel Dorsky (Artists listed from top row to bottom row / left to right) Andy Warhol, Robert Motherwell, Frank Stella, Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, George Ortman, Roy Lichtenstein, Ad Reinhardt, Larry Poons, Stuart Davis

ten x ten installation photo


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Last Updated: 10/26/12