Etch Edgy

It’s been a long time since “Want to come up and see my etchings?” implied anything sensational. Unless you happened to live above Crown Point Press. Twenty years ago, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco obtained Crown Point’s archive — one impression of every print it ever produced, along with a huge number of sketches and working proofs. It was no small acquisition, even then. Despite its humble beginnings in a Berkeley basement, the press is considered by many to be the most important printshop in America. Early output included New York minimalists and conceptual artists such as John Cage, Chris Burden, and Tom Marioni. But Crown Point has proven again and again that etching can be edgy, even when that meant taking the leading edge to Japan to train in old-school woodcutting. Today, Crown Point runs an S.F. gallery and bookstore, as well as a studio where it continues to publish the work of five or six new artists each year. To celebrate half a century of work is “Crossing Into the Eighties,” a group exhibition by artists such as Vito Acconci, Pat Steir, Gunter Brus, and William T. Wiley, who, during the dawn of aerobics, minivans, and video games, found a place where intaglio was still state of the art.
Mondays-Sundays, 10 a.m. Starts: May 24. Continues through June 30, 2012

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