Most of you will have heard me say that the Baltimore Contemporary Print Fair (BCPF) was the most fun we had on the job. (It is seriously depressing that it likely will not happen again under the new administration.) Not only was it a deeply satisfying if exhausting event, but also we were able to use about half the proceeds for purchasing prints for the collection. I was in charge of the biennial fair three times, in 2012, 2015, and 2017, and believe me, none of them would have happened without the hard work of Ben Levy and Morgan Dowty. I owe them everything.
From the 2017 fair, the museum purchased four really great prints or sets of prints by Sascha Braunig, Andrew Raftery, Ambreen Butt, and Ann Hamilton. Sometimes it takes the whole fair to decide if a print is appropriate for the collection--there's a flurry of red dotting at the last moment--and sometimes you know immediately. Such was the case with the Ann Hamilton print, RIGHTS, published by Gemini G.E.L. This is truly a print that doesn't convey in photographs, so here's a bit of description. It's a tall narrow sheet upon which is blind embossed the text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which the United Nations adopted after WWII on December 10, 1948. The letters that line up down the central spine spell out the first sentence. Blue ink was delicately daubed onto the letters forming a ghost of a figure, an everyperson. Hamilton is subtle and not so subtle at the same time. While the message of the UDHR is clearly present, it is difficult to read. It's a push-pull of quiet insistence on the righteousness of the message and screaming about the injustices around us. Yesterday I told you I never shy away from a good, political work of art, and I'm rather pleased that my last acquisition was this startling, stark, delicate, beautiful, impactful, meaningful work of art by the glorious Ann Hamilton.
Ann Hamilton (American, born 1956)
Published by Gemini G.E.L.
Blind embossment with hand-applied ink
Sheet: 2019 x 546 mm. (79 1/2 x 21 ½ in.)
Baltimore Museum of Art: Print, Drawing & Photograph
Society Fund, with proceeds derived from the 2017
Contemporary Print Fair, BMA 2017.66
Ann's art blog
A small corner of the interwebs to share thoughts on objects I acquired for the Baltimore Museum of Art's collection, research I've done on Stanley William Hayter and Atelier 17, experiments in intaglio printmaking, and the Baltimore Contemporary Print Fair.