Contemporary print fair returns to the BMA

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Carol Sorgen
A print of Jim Dine’s “New Mexican Aloe” will be available during the Baltimore Contemporary Print Fair at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The fair offers neophyte and experienced collectors alike the opportunity to buy prints and learn about printmaking.
Photo courtesy of BMA

You can take a closer look at prints by leading contemporary artists and innovators in printmaking when the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) brings together 20 presses, printers and galleries from around the country for the Baltimore Contemporary Print Fair on April 28 and 29.

This biennial event provides new and established collectors the opportunity to peruse and purchase limited editions, single prints, portfolios, photographs and drawings by artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Faith Ringgold, Richard Serra and Kiki Smith.

The weekend also offers visitors an opportunity to take advantage of the museum’s intimate and informal setting to talk with artists, curators and printers to learn more about contemporary art and printmaking techniques.

Baltimore company featured

Among the vendors participating in this year’s event is Baltimore’s own Goya Contemporary & Goya-Girl Press, the only vendor from Charm City.

“As one of the only museum-housed print fairs focused on contemporary art, the BMA does an appreciable job assembling a fresh and relevant group of dealers from around the country who are the trendsetters of print media,” said Goya Executive Director and Curator Amy Eva Raehse. “I’ve always relished the intimate, inviting atmosphere of the BMA print fair.”

Goya was founded in the mid-1990s, originally to engage in a dialogue with artists through printmaking. After several expansions over the years, Goya has matured into a nationally recognized exhibition space, designed to promote “the art and culture of our time” through print publishing, artist representation, private and public collection facilitation, appraisals and work at auction.

“We are dedicated to bringing the top artists of our time to Baltimore, as well as [promoting] the top Baltimore artists outside the borders of our city,” said Raehse.

“We have a vibrant and talented community, and if we could find a way to expand on the longevity of community support, i.e., support not just of the most emerging, or the most established artists, but of all who fall in between, then we would be better able to write the story of Baltimore’s relevance and role in the larger art world.”

While the print fair focuses on contemporary art, Raehse is quick to dispel the notion that “contemporary” suggests a certain genre of art, or that it appeals to a certain (i.e., younger) audience.

“Contemporary art is art produced since World War II,” she explained. “It is a huge injustice to suggest that contemporary art is art that is just produced or enjoyed by young people. In fact, the most basic definition of contemporary art would simply be ‘the art of our time.’”

Starting a print collection

To get the most from the experience, Raehse advises visitors to take the opportunity to ask questions and engage in discussions about the work.

“Printmaking affords many people their first entry into collecting,” she said, “with prices that tend to be on the lower spectrum of an artist’s market.”

When working with clients interested in building or expanding a collection, Raehse always suggests that they begin by gravitating toward work that moves them in some way, and then expand on their knowledge from there.

“More than anything, however,” she advised, “one should not look at art just as an investment, but also as something that provides an elevated level of fulfillment. Living with art is transformative!”

The print fair will be held on Saturday, April 28 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, April 29 from noon to 6 p.m.

Tickets are $10 per person for one day or $15 per person for both days, and free for BMA Members. Proceeds from the fair are used to acquire contemporary works on paper for the BMA’s collection.

Tickets are available in person at the BMA box office, online at www.artbma.org, or by phone at 1-800-919-6272. Service charges apply to phone and online orders.

Several special events are being held in conjunction with the print fair. At 7 p.m. on April 26 artist Trenton Doyle Hancock, one of the youngest artists ever to be selected for the prestigious Whitney Biennial, talks with a curator. The event is free.

At 11 a.m. on April 29, hear from the founders of the website Printeresting.org about the myriad ways printmaking impacts your life. That event is also free.

The BMA is located at 10 Art Museum Dr. For more information, call (443) 573-1789 or visit www.artbma.org.