Butler Art Institute opens 2 exhibits Sunday

Submitted photo This silkscreen print featuring Deborah Harry and the band Blondie by Shepard Fairey is among the collaborative works featured in “Gary Lichtenstein: Painter and Master Printer,” which opens Sunday at the Butler Institute of American Art.

YOUNGSTOWN — Prints and collaborations by Gary Lichtenstein and large-scale digital works by Kent artist Steve McCallum open Sunday at the Butler Institute of American Art.

In his 45-year career, Lichtenstein has created his own work and collaborated with more than 90 artists on prints and editions at his studio, Gary Lichtenstein Editions, in Jersey City, N.J.

His work has been exhibited and collected by The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian, the San Francisco Art Institute, the Chicago Art Institute and others.

“The fact that he worked with a lot of avant garde artists, I thought it was very important to show the community what is going on now, especially in New York,” Executive Director Louis A. Zona said. “Some of it’s pretty crazy, some of it’s very traditional. He’s all over the map, and I think that’s an indication of what contemporary art is all about now. No longer is there just a movement that the artists are a part of. There are multiple movements, multiple directions.”

In a recent interview with J. Scott Orr, Lichtenstein said of the Butler exhibition, “It’s not a retrospective, it’s a survey of projects and stories. It’s an opportunity to bring a lot of these prints, along with the stories behind them, to the museum.”

In addition to seven examples Lichtenstein’s own work, the Butler show include collaborations with Marina Abramovic, Alfred Leslie, Robert Indiana, Jeff Gibson, Duane Slick, Charles Hinman, Yigal Ozeri, Jinwon Chang, Jane Dickson, Elizabeth Gregory, Shelter Serra, Phil Smith, Danielle Frankenthal, Cey Adams, Hubert Phipps, Robert Scott, Charlie Ahearn, Janette Beckman, Crash and Daze, Al Diaz, Oasa DuVerney, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Futura, Bob Gruen, Indie 184, Dave Navarro, Richard Corman, Eric Orr and Keith Haring, Chris Tschupp, Vincent Valdez, Jessica Stockholder, Robert Cottingham, Robert Fried and Ken Price.

“We let him pick pretty much the best of the best of what he had,” said Susan Carfano, executive administrative assistant.

Also opening Sunday is McCallum’s “CASPITA!”

According to the artist, “For the last 2 0 years, I have been exploring the nuances of computer ‘built’ digital images and photographic manipulation, the results of which are expressed in large format digital prints. The transition from painter to digital composer has yielded expansive possibilities for my work, including the obvious introduction of recognizable elements and incorporation of more modulated forms.

“My work aesthetic, work ethic and dedication to experimentation have remained intact and unchanged for over 50 years. I strive to yield a lasting, resonant and convincing visual illusion by optimizing color, organization, principles of perception, applying sound studio practices and staying current with technology.”

The result is massive works. The largest, “Hadrian’s Portal,” is nearly 10-feet tall and 32 -feet long and fills a gallery wall.

“I suggested ‘Let’s do a really gigantic one,’ but I didn’t think it would be this big,” Zona said. “It’s really impressive. Your eyes have no place to rest.”

McCallum earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art from Kent State University, and hr taught at Youngstown State University, the University of Akron and Kent. After moving to New York in 1980, he served as a studio assistant to James Rosenquist, Helen Frankenthaler and Al Held.

Both Lichtenstein and McCallum will be in attendance for meet-the-artist receptions from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Butler.


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