Chelsea Galleries & Robert Blackburn Printmaking / by Cornelius

On Friday, December 2nd, we had our very last visit into New York City for the Contemporary Art Semester. I have to say that I am pretty bummed that it is over and I wish I was able to do the version of the course where I go into the city two times a week but overall, I am extremely happy with my experience.  We ended our semester strolling in and out of various Chelsea galleries and then visisting the Robert Blackburn printmaking workshop.

I do have to say that most of the galleries we visited were filled with great art but personally did not really appeal to me that much, that is, until we went to see Paul McCarthy's show at Hauser & Wirth entitled "Raw Spinoffs Continuations". As soon as I entered the gallery space, my face lit up. I think it was initially an instinctual reaction to a familiar group of characters from my childhood. However, as I started to comprehend what was in front of me, the smile stuck to my face because of the embedded sexual humor in McCarthy's work. Nothing makes me laugh more then sexual connotations in ridiculous contexts. Deconstructing the dwarves from Snow White in a visually gory manner coupled with the placement of various molded dildos throughout the sculptures brought a strange juxtaposition to the innocence of the childhood movie that manifested as a form of dark and perverse humor. When the familiar is made strange, new images flow through your mind in ways you didn't previously know to be possible--thats what I really enjoy about McCarthy's work and it serves a great deal of inspiration to my personal creative process. 

After popping in and out of various galleries, we got to experience first hand the art of print making at Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop. I have taken three printmaking classes at Drew University so this was a familiar environment for me, but I know that for other in my class, being in a printmaking studio was a new experience. Printmaking gets a pretty bad wrap because people don't know the amount of work and history that goes into hand-making prints. The typical assumption is that prints are cheaper versions of originals and they are just laser printed off from a computer printer. I was glad to see my classmates faces as they learned all that goes into a an addition of prints because it does the art world a greater good for people to know more about the difference between printing off a computer printer and hand-printing onto hand-made paper. Aside from illuminating everyone's view on the art form, our host showed us some AMAZING works of art that they had in the workshop archives. It takes a lot to be a master printer (obviously) and it was crazy to see how perfect the prints were--essentially flawless. I know first hand how impossible it feels to get a print to come out the way you want it because there are countless situations that could go wrong and screw up hours and hours of work. This visit made me realize how much of a noooooby printmaker I am! 

 Robert Blackburn

Robert Blackburn