[October 2, 2006
Printmaking: A Colony of the Arts
When I refer to colony, I mean it quite literally: as a territory taken over by another power, where identity is maimed and slowly forgotten, values are shifted and the will for independence becomes ritualized into an increasingly empty and hopeless vow.
When I arrived in New York in 1964 I shared a studio with a painter who would not miss any opportunity to let me know that he considered printmaking a minor and second-rate form of art-making. Although we were close friends, the comments managed to upset me. I seriously considered myself a printmaker
and I didn‘t believe that there were major and minor forms of art-making. Educated in the Bauhaus spirit, fashionable in Uruguay during the fifties, I saw art as a seamless field. For me, therefore, there was art-making, period. I was essentially right and his reasoning was faulty–among other things for being a
painting-imperialist. But deep beneath his needling, there was a point. I was using a technical discipline to define myself and this was conceptually wrong. Somehow I had forgotten that I was supposed to be searching for myself and to be using printmaking as one of the tools in that search. Instead I was limit-
ing my own definition to and within printmaking. I lived the slogan: I make prints, therefore I am. And meanwhile, my friend was having a grand time exploring bad painting and chaos, breaking all the rules he could find. He had that kind of self-assurance that only is possible with metropolitan arrogance….
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