Claes Oldenburg (American, b. 1929). Gemini G.E.L. (publisher), American, established 1966. Richard Wilke (printer). Calpolymers (manufacturer). Profile Airflow, 1969. Cast-polyurethane relief over color lithograph. Anderson Graphic Arts Collection, Gift of the Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson Charitable Foundation. 1996.74.353
New Dimensions: Prints and Multiples from the Anderson Collection
The original objective of Los Angeles–based print workshop Gemini G.E.L. was to print and publish prints. During its first decade, however, collaborations with visiting Pop artists such as Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and Claes Oldenburg spurred the workshop into dimensions previously unexplored. In fact, it was Oldenburg’s ideas for Profile Airflow (1969), a color lithograph encased in molded plastic, that encouraged Gemini to expand its publishing parameters to include small-scale, editioned sculptures called multiples.
The multiples format provided an opportunity for artists to break free from the expectations of previous art movements, such as Abstract Expressionism, which promoted the idea of the physical “trace” of the artist. Attracted to Pop Art’s machine aesthetic, artists were also intrigued by the format’s limitless production possibilities, which made multiples an art form theoretically accessible to all. In reality, however, multiples production was not quite as seamless as its proponents supposed, and the price often proved prohibitive for the mass market.
The collaborative and experimental spirit artists experienced at Gemini led to innovative applications of industrial technologies to both multiples and traditional prints. This exhibition showcases a selection of prints and multiples published during this exploratory period in the workshop’s history.