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Author event: “Contact: Art and the Pull of Print”

Jennifer L. Roberts, Harvard University; James Welling, Lewis Center for the Arts

Mon, 4/29 · 6:00 pm7:00 pm · Community Room, Princeton Public Library

Princeton Public Library; Princeton University Art Museum; Arts Council of Princeton

Jennifer L. Roberts, Drew Gilpin Faust Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, is joined in conversation by James Welling, photographer and professor at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, to discuss her new book, “Contact: Art and the Pull of Print,” which the publisher describes as “a new grammar for understanding the meaning and significance of print.” Registration for this event is requested, but not required. A signing will follow the conversation.

About the Book (from the publisher):

In process and technique, printmaking is an art of physical contact. From woodcut and engraving to lithography and screenprinting, every print is the record of a contact event: the transfer of an image between surfaces, under pressure, followed by release. Contact reveals how the physical properties of print have their own poetics and politics and provides a new framework for understanding the intelligence and continuing relevance of printmaking today.

The seemingly simple physics of printmaking brings with it an array of metamorphoses that give expression to many of the social and conceptual concerns at the heart of modern and contemporary art. Exploring transformations such as reversal, separation, and interference, Jennifer Roberts explores these dynamics in the work of Christiane Baumgartner, David Hammons, Edgar Heap of Birds, Jasper Johns, Corita Kent, Glenn Ligon, Julie Mehretu, Robert Rauschenberg, and many other leading artists who work at the edge of the medium and beyond.

Focusing on the material and spatial transformations of the printmaking process rather than its reproducibility, this beautifully illustrated book explores the connections between print, painting, and sculpture, but also between the fine arts, industrial arts, decorative arts, and domestic arts. Throughout, Roberts asks what artists are learning from print, and what we, in turn, can learn from them.

Published in association with the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington

In conversation:

Jennifer L. Roberts is the Drew Gilpin Faust Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. She is the author of “Transporting Visions: The Movement of Images in Early America,” “Jasper Johns/In Press: The Crosshatch Works and the Logic of Print,” and “Mirror-Travels: Robert Smithson and History.”


James Welling is a photographer whose work has been the subject of a number of significant survey exhibitions. In 2014, he was a recipient of the Infinity Award given by the International Center of Photography, New York, and in 2016 he received the Julius Shulman Institute Excellence in Photography Award from Woodbury University, California. From 1995 to 2016, he was Area Head of Photography at UCLA, and since 2012 he has been a Lecturer with the Rank of Professor at Princeton University.
Presented in partnership with the Princeton University Art Museum and the Arts Council of Princeton and with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this programming do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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