Hotbed of Art Innovation Gallery Show Highlights Workshop at University of South Florida

By Louise Sweeney, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, December 6, 1991 | Go to article overview

Hotbed of Art Innovation Gallery Show Highlights Workshop at University of South Florida


Louise Sweeney, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


WALKING into the Graphicstudio show at the National Gallery of Art is like walking into a visual version of "Who's Who" in contemporary art.

There's a Robert Rauschenberg photograph, "Chinese Wall," rioting from one wall to another for 100 feet; a Chuck Close portrait slightly smaller than the Jolly Green Giant; a muscled Robert Mapplethorpe nude photo bathed in red light; a Roy Lichtenstein "brushstroke chair" which you can actually sit on, as he does; a Nancy Graves fantasy sculpture more complicated than the Aeneid; and a Jim Dine signature heart as big as all outdoors.

The Graphicstudio exhibition of 90 prints, sculptures, and photographs highlights the product of the collaborative workshop founded at the University of South Florida (USF) in 1968 by artist Donald Saff. He describes it as "a yeasty environment: things happened, scale happened, work was profuse, place was talked about...." He says that artists lined up to come to Florida to participate, and a continuing dialogue took place between artists and students.

The show, which runs through Jan. 5 in the gallery's West Building, is drawn from the Graphicstudio Archive established at the National Gallery in 1986.

Although the Graphicstudio workshop was in hiatus for five years (1976-81) for financial reasons, it came back forcefully and is viewed as one of the foremost workshops involved in original production of fine art editions in the the US.

Jim Dine's beautiful blue, yellow, and black heart exemplifies the sort of innovative stretch of creativity and technique that Graphicstudio strives for.

Ruth Fine, the show's curator, is also curator of the gallery's modern prints and drawings and author of the catalog with research associate Mary Lee Corlett. …

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