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Editor's Pick: Edition Jacob Samuel
at Hammer Museum, West Los Angeles, California
Recommendation by Jeanne Willette

James Welling, 'Quadrilaterals,' 2008, suite of nine photo engravings with aquatint, at the Hammer Museum.

Continuing through August 29, 2010

Beautifully presented and installed, the complete editions from Edition Jacob Samuel provide a showcase for artists' prints. The artists in the exhibition share little in common beyond their collaboration with the publisher. Samuel, well-known in the international art world, was an unfamiliar name to art audiences until this summer. He occupies the enviable position of being an entirely independent publisher and printmaker who can pick and choose his projects. What makes his practice unique is his "portable studio," the printmaking materials, which he brings to the artist's studio, no matter where s/he lives. Using the available materials on site, the artist is in charge of the creative process and it is Samuel's purpose to realize the creator's vision. Samuel is a meticulous craftsperson who puts his considerable skills at the service of the artist, serving as a discrete intermediary who uses his deep understanding of a particular artist's work in the pas-de-deux of collaboration.

To respond to Rebecca Horn's aversion to the mirror image, Samuel used a new kind of paper that was transparent, thus preserving the artist's original images. The result was a suite of prints the color of blood, mounted on paper that matched the creamy skin of the redheaded artist. Just as the flow of blood is one of Horn's trademarks, the prints of Anish Kapoor are immediately recognizable as the artist's aesthetic, with the velvet surfaces and the deep colors mirroring his trademark powdered pigments. Conversely, the prints from Chris Burden are entirely unlike his tough-guy ethos: charming tales of encounters with coyotes, written on notebook paper in a childlike hand, with illustrations interspersed. Many of the suites of prints are combined with the artist's writings, so this exhibition has attracted the literary crowd. Spread through a number of rooms, this compelling collection of master prints reveals both new and familiar sides of some of the great artists of our time.

Published courtesy of ArtSceneCal ©2010

Hammer Museum at UCLA

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