Printing doesn’t have to happen in a studio with heavy, industrial presses and specialized equipment. Many printmakers, especially young artists who are just starting out, do not have the luxury of access to well-equipped facilities. Rather than experiencing this as a constraint, D.I.Y. (do-it-yourself) printers see it as an opportunity for out-of-the-box thinking to creatively and collaboratively problem-solve.
D.I.Y Printing features the work of eight print collectives and 12 artists in the Twin Cities and surrounding area, alongside works drawn from MMAA’s collection. Many of the exhibiting artists work outside of the traditional studio set up, printing in their living room or from the kitchen sink. Others have pooled their resources with like-minded colleagues to set up modest print shops. All of the artists in the show remix traditional techniques such as screen printing, relief printing, and stencils with non-traditional materials.
The rich do-it-yourself ethos that characterizes the Twin Cities print scene is part of a broader cultural trend that advocates for sustainable practices. The D.I.Y. community is by definition self-supporting and purposefully utilizes lower-cost and environmentally-friendly methods. D.I.Y. Printing draws attention to the radical nature of these seemingly modest social practices by connecting it to the history of printmaking more generally as a vehicle of expression outside of mainstream media and dissent because of its ease of reproduction and circulation. In partnership with the Minneapolis Community and Technical College’s Library, a selection of zines—self-published (often highly political) tracts reproduced via photocopier—will be on loan and available for perusal.
Since “doing it yourself” is at the core of this exhibition, there will be plenty of opportunities for visitors to try printing themselves. Several of the featured artists will lead printing workshops, including a community art project that will build on the exhibition on the walls. Related programming will bring in speakers to talk about the role of digitization in a return to the handmade, the rise of small independent presses, and other related topics.
The Minnesota Museum of American Art
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