In its foundational years, The Block Museum of Art gained a reputation for presenting groundbreaking exhibitions that considered the unique roles prints and printmaking have played within visual culture. Printmaking stands apart from other artistic media in its capacity for reproduction and dissemination and is an ideal medium for telling stories about human experience to the broadest audiences. The Block began to build its collection around etchings, lithographs, screen prints, and other printed media. While the museum’s mission has evolved over time, prints continue to resonate with its aspiration to present art across time, cultures, and media and to inspire interdisciplinary discussions relevant to our lives today.
On the occasion of The Block’s 40th anniversary, For One and All: Prints from The Block’s Collection celebrates prints and printmaking by bringing together a diverse range of artwork from the permanent collection. The exhibition considers print production through various lenses layering complex histories of reproduction, circulation, collecting, and social activism.
For One and All places highlights from The Block’s collection, many of which have not previously been on view, into conversation with one another. The exhibition includes examples of works that have been in the collection since the founding of the Block in 1980, along with recent acquisitions and gifts. From early modern European prints, to Depression-era and social activist prints, and those produced at print workshops throughout the United States, the exhibition surveys the depth and breadth of the Block’s print collection and showcases the vital role that prints serve within the context of academic art museums.
Curated by Cait DiMartino, 2019–20 Block Curatorial Graduate Fellow, and Corinne Granof, Academic Curator. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.