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Exhibition Unearths Prehistory of New Media
Show offers rare glimpse of vintage artists' multiples, from books to socks to wine bottles
Installation view of Multiples exhibition

OCTOBER 10-NOVEMBER 22, 2006.

Before there were mp3s, there were multiples.

In the 1950s and 60s, artists interested in distributing their works as widely as possible turned to reproducible formats such as prints, note cards, and artists' books--but also socks, toilet paper, and wine bottles. Curators Owen Smith and Walter Tisdale offer a rare glimpse at such "original multiples" in an exhibition at Lord Hall through November 22.

Title wall for "From socks to toilet paper, they were drawn into the art orbit," Smith explains, "as a way to question what art is." The works in "The Art of Printed Books and Artists Multiples" come from the personal collections of New Media Department Chair Owen Smith and fellow faculty member Walter Tisdale. "Multiples have been called the most accessible and reasonably priced contemporary art on the market," the curators explain in their statement.

Before digital files, which can be cloned and uploaded at the click of a mouse, the typical artist's studio was not prepared to distribute 100 or 1000 exact copies of an object across the globe. "Thus part of the creative challenge," write the curators, "comes in researching new methods and sourcing new materials, leading to some unlikely collaborations between artist and fabricators."

Some books open like accordions; others have different sized pages, pockets, or fold-outs. The exhibit is part of the "Maine Print Project: 200 Years of Printmaking in Maine," a series of exhibitions taking place in 25 museums, galleries and college campuses throughout the state of Maine.
Installation view of
Involving two dozen Maine galleries, the Maine Print Project is the largest collaborative arts initiative in Maine history, according to Bruce Brown, a Maine book and art collector who chairs the Maine Print Project.

For information about the Orono exhibit, please contact the UMaine Department of Art at 207 581-3245 or visit the exhibition Web page. For information on the Maine Print Project, visit the Maine Print Project.

Major funding for "The Maine Print Project: Celebrating 200 Years of Printmaking in Maine" is provided by the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpieces Program, and by a major grant from the Maine Community Foundation. Funding is also provided by the Davis Family Foundation, with additional support from the June Fitzpatrick Gallery.

Installation view of

All photographs by Krista Molnar.


Updated: 2006-11-15 by Jon Ippolito

Updated: 2007-02-02 by Jon Ippolito
Posted 2006-11-15 11:00:31 by Jon Ippolito
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