he Metropolitan Museum of Art will release a limited-edition print portfolio featuring works by 12 contemporary artists from around the world in late October 2021. This carefully curated portfolio—commissioned in celebration of the Museum’s 150th anniversary in 2020 and titled The Met 150—follows in the tradition of the limited-edition print that The Met invited Robert Rauschenberg to create, Centennial Certificate MMA, on the occasion of the Museum’s 100th anniversary. For this project, more than 50 years later, the Museum expanded on the idea in order to reflect its position as a global art institution and invited a small group of international artists of diverse backgrounds, interests, and styles, who also have a strong history and connection with the Museum, to create an original work of art for a limited-edition print portfolio.
The contributing artists are Siah Armajani, Vija Celmins, Jasper Johns, Kerry James Marshall, Julie Mehretu, Wangechi Mutu, Gabriel Orozco, Ed Ruscha, Ranjani Shettar, Richard Serra, Sarah Sze, and Xu Bing. The Met has acquired the first edition of the print portfolio. It will be on view beginning September 16, 2021 on the second floor of the Museum in the passageway opposite Galleries 691–693.
Max Hollein, the Marina Kellen French Director of The Met, commented, “This print portfolio celebrates both The Met’s anniversary, and the importance of art and expression in this very moment. It is also a manifestation of The Met’s deep engagement with contemporary art and the generosity of artists towards supporting the Museum. Each of the twelve prints are captivating in their own right, and when considered together, the range of perspectives and practices represented by this tremendous group of artists speaks to the power of valuing diversity and difference, in seeking new ways of seeing and understanding the world, and in making connections through art. Much has changed in the world since this project was first conceived, and it is very moving to consider how—with the help and support of so many—this important and celebratory print portfolio came into being. In that sense it also reflects the resiliency of art, artists, and The Met.”
“The talent, creativity, and generosity of the artists—all of whom made prints specifically for this portfolio project—was truly exceptional,” said Jennifer Farrell, Curator in The Met’s Department of Drawings and Prints. “The artists were given complete artistic freedom, and the powerful and poetic works they created capture the vitality and dynamism of contemporary printmaking. Gemini G.E.L.LLC and co-publisher Sharon Coplan Hurowitz, our partners in this endeavor, enabled the project to be the compelling and important work that it is. The portfolio does more than commemorate this historic occasion; rather, it is a work that future generations will study and enjoy.”
Co-publisher Sharon Coplan Hurowitz added, “It is an honor to partner with The Met, the 12 remarkable and generous artists, and the incredible team at Gemini G.E.L.LLC to create this portfolio celebrating the anniversary of one of the world’s greatest institutions and a New York treasure. This landmark project is not only a celebration of The Met and its extraordinary mission but a testament to the power of art and creativity to lift the world in extremely challenging times. I am grateful to all who gave their time, vision, and effort to realize this meaningful project. “
The results reflect not only a variety of interests and styles but also a diversity of techniques. Kerry James Marshall, for example, combined woodblock, linocut, and screenprint in his vibrant print Untitled (Exquisite Corps). Xu Bing’s Art for the People for The Met, a six-color lithograph and relief print, includes two components: Square Word Calligraphy and multiple red “seals” based on ancient Chinese ink painting on paper scrolls; on closer inspection, the seals contain QR codes that link the user’s digital screen to a URL link that will also be on The Met’s website. Wangechi Mutu’s two-color lithograph, titled girl, juxtaposes elements and images drawn from myriad sources, including art history, science fiction, contemporary fashion, and popular culture, to create the image of a woman who evokes both historical and contemporary associations. For Sarah Sze’s 11-color screenprint with embossment, Papillon, the artist creates fields of various light and dark colors in which she layers multiple references with abstract elements to create a dynamic composition that seems to expand beyond the confines of the paper.
The 150th-anniversary print portfolio is co-published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Sharon Coplan Hurowitz, printed and produced by the legendary artists’ workshop Gemini G.E.L.LLC in Los Angeles. It will be sold exclusively in the Mezzanine Gallery at The Met Store, with proceeds going to support The Met’s collection, study, conservation, and presentation of 5,000 years of art.
The edition is limited to 60 portfolios. Each print is signed, numbered, and dated by the artist. The 12 prints are housed together in a red linen clamshell box (15 x 15 inches) and are accompanied by essays written by Max Hollein, The Met’s Marina Kellen French Director, and Jennifer Farrell, Curator in The Met’s Department of Drawings and Prints, and Sharon Coplan Hurowitz, co-publisher.
About The Met
The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 by a group of American citizens—businessmen and financiers as well as leading artists and thinkers of the day—who wanted to create a museum to bring art and art education to the American people. Today, The Met displays tens of thousands of objects covering 5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy. The Museum lives in two iconic sites in New York City—The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters. Millions of people also take part in The Met experience online. Since its founding, The Met has always aspired to be more than a treasury of rare and beautiful objects. Every day, art comes alive in the Museum’s galleries and through its exhibitions and events, revealing both new ideas and unexpected connections across time and across cultures.
About Sharon Coplan Hurowitz
Sharon Coplan Hurowitz is an independent curator and publisher of editions for nonprofit institutions; these editions have included works by Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, and Christopher Wool. She is the author of John Baldessari: A Catalogue Raisonne of Prints and Multiples and the co-author of OPEN STUDIO: Do-It-Yourself Art Projects by Contemporary Artists. Previously, she was a specialist in contemporary prints at Sotheby’s and Christie’s.
About Gemini G.E.L.LLC
Gemini G.E.L.LLC was founded in 1966 as an artists’ workshop and publisher of hand-printed limited-edition lithographs. Gemini has collaborated on major bodies of work with many of the most accomplished painters and sculptors of the 20th and 21st centuries. Over its 55-year history, the Gemini workshop has offered artists the opportunity to create many iconic and important editioned works of contemporary art.