...And Then Again: Printed Series, 1500-2007
This exhibition examines the development of serial imagery in prints, from the early European Renaissance to the present day. Drawn primarily from the extensive collection of works on paper in the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, the exhibition is one in an ongoing series of exhibitions focusing on the Hammer’s permanent collections.
First inspired by the printed book in the late fifteenth century, early printed series frequently depicted narrative subjects drawn from literary sources. Biblical themes or mythological subjects were portrayed by a wide range of Renaissance artists such as Albrecht Dürer and the German “Little Masters.” Traditional subjects such as the Times of Day, Twelve Months, and Four Seasons offered an ideal pretext for the representation of landscape by Dutch artists of the seventeenth-century. The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries witnessed the development of the improvisational capriccio and artists such as Callot, Goya, and Piranesi invented variations on fantastic and dramatic themes in printed series. These themes of time, landscape, narrative, and capriccio are also explored in contemporary printed series by artists such as Christiane Baumgartner, Chris Burden, Mona Hatoum, and Chris Ofili.
The variety of ways in which these artists have explored the serial image reminds us of the rich dialogue that can take place across centuries and cultures and of the enduring importance of the series in the visual arts.