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'Multiple States': Print is not dead

| Wednesday, April 4, 2012

With works by such famous artists as cartoonist Robert Crumb, pop artist Jasper Johns and sculptor Richard Serra, the exhibit "Multiple States: Original Prints 2012" currently on display at Concept Art Gallery in Regent Square offers something for everyone.

"It's a really good opportunity for collectors to get original artworks by really important artists," says gallery owner Sam Berkovitz.

Organized by Berkovitz and gallery director Alison Brand Oehler, the exhibit is the 15th all-print-and-multiple show the gallery has exhibited over the past 40 years.

Berkovitz says that the prints and multiple-edition sculptures have been a mainstay at the gallery since the beginning, because, "They reflect all of our interests."

"We buy things we like, that we think are good," Oehler says. "Our strategy is to buy long-term holds. Things that, if we don't sell them tomorrow, we will be happy to hold onto them."

Concept Art Gallery has dealt almost exclusively in contemporary art since Berkovitz's parents opened the gallery in 1972 in Squirrel Hill. Some of the pieces on display date as far back as the 1970s, and nearly 3/4 of the works are by artists who have been included in the Carnegie Internationals over the past 40 years.

For example, there is a vibrant abstract screen print by Sol Lewitt, whose "wall drawing" was installed during the 1985 Carnegie International and currently graces the stairway that ascends to the Scaife and Heinz Galleries at Carnegie Museum of Art; three small figurative screen prints by Luc Tuymans who showed a suite of paintings from his series "The Passion" in the 1999/2000 Carnegie International; and several colorful abstract screen prints by Richard Anuszkiewicz of Erie, who exhibited his work way back in the 1964 Carnegie International.

There are many recently created works on display as well, such as the screen print "One Million Dots" by Michael Hegedus. Literally comprised of 1 million tiny dots of color, Oehler says of it, "I think there are actually 250,000 of each color. That's how it works out. It's incredibly meticulous."

Berkovitz says that even though many of the works are one of an edition of many, some are unique unto themselves, such as Jonas Wood's "Bird Cage XVIII," another screen print to which the artist has colored in the feathers on several birds that surround a birdcage.

"This is a hybrid print," Berkovitz says. "It's really very interesting because there is a lot of hand coloring. He did a whole series of prints with birds, with different postures. It's just beautiful."

Also unique is Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz's assemblage sculpture "The Same Old Shoe." One of an edition of 40, it was made to look like a small TV, but actually consists of an overnight luggage bag, an old wooden shoe last, a lightbulb, and a TV antenna.

"It's a multiple in the sense that they used similar parts (to create) each piece," Berkovitz says. "For example, the case that they used was different in each one, and so is each antennae and so on."

There's also a fair amount of photography represented, with many of the prints coming from the third portfolio produced by the Brooklyn Academy of Music as a fundraising activity.

Developed in 2000, Brooklyn Academy of Music Photography Portfolios feature prints that were published in editions of 40, in partnership with Serge Sorokko Gallery, San Francisco. The past three portfolios have included work from some of the most celebrated names in contemporary art and photography. In the gallery, visitors will find works by Rineke Dijkstra, Candida Hofer and James Welling representing the cutting edge in terms of contemporary photography.

The exhibit also includes a locally produced suite of prints, the Pittsburgh 250 Portfolio, which was created to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the city of Pittsburgh.

Begun in 2008, the portfolio is comprised of seven different prints in an edition of 20 each. They were printed at Artist Image Resource on the North Side and were recently completed and signed by each artist two weeks prior to the opening of this exhibit.

Additional Information:

'Multiple States: Original Prints 2012'

When: Through April 22. Hours: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays; noon to 4 p.m. Sundays; until 8 p.m. Thursdays.

Admission: Free

Where: Concept Art Gallery, 1031 S. Braddock Ave., Regent Square

Details: 412-242-9200 or website

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