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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Robert Blackburn & Modern American Printmaking

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Detroit Institute of Arts Museum / Detroit / Art

The “printmaker’s printmaker”—otherwise known as Robert Hamilton Blackburn—grew up in Harlem, in a family of Jamaican immigrants. It was the 1920s and 30s, and the Harlem Renaissance was in full swing. But it was the unpopular craft of lithography that attracted Blackburn. He created vibrant prints, moving from figurative works in the 30s to abstract compositions in the 40s. In 1947, he opened the Printmaking Workshop—in Chelsea, on West 17th Street—where he trained and encouraged culturally diverse artists. A fringe society at first, Blackburn and his printmaking protégés became a New York staple, establishing the aesthetic of the New York graphics boom. With over 75 works, this exhibition presents intaglio prints, lithographs, and woodcuts by Blackburn and by artists with whom he collaborated, including Elizabeth Catlett, Grace Hartigan, Robert Rauschenberg, and Charles White. —E.C.

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Detroit Institute of Arts Museum 5200 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202
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