crown point press

John Cage
10 Stones 2
Spitbite Aquatint and sugarlift
22.75 x 18.13 inches

At the heart of the work he produced at Crown Point is a series of prints and drawings inspired by the Ryoanji garden in Kyoto, Japan’s most celebrated Zen garden, composed of 15 stones arranged in five mossy islands against a ground of raked gravel. Cage’s prints and drawings, begun in 1983, required him to draw (first with a metal drypoint tool, later in pencil) around the perimeters of 15 stones whose positions on the etching plate or paper were determined by chance. In homage to the restricted space of the Japanese garden, and once more demonstrating his love of delimitation, Cage did not allow any of the stones to cross the edge of the plate, so that the resulting prints look chaotic and serene at the same time, the artist’s line orbiting unpredictably within the rules. The drawings are more tentative and fragile, the pencilled ghosts of the stones sometimes barely insisting on the paper. Later (seen here), Cage extended his practice of drawing around stones at another print workshop at Mountain Lake, Virginia. Here, he painted in watercolour around larger stones taken from a river bed, using feathers for brushes and again producing unpredictable ellipses within a highly structured situation- turned into further aquatint prints at Crown Point.

Happy National Donut Day, everybody! Feast your eyes on Wayne Thiebaud's Dark Cupcakes and Donuts to celebrate. Nom nom!

Wayne Thiebaud (American, b. 1920). Dark Cupcakes and Donuts, 2006. Gravure on gampi paper chine collé. Crown Point Press Archive, gift of Crown Point Press. 2010.39.19.5


10 Eye-Grabbing Works at Miami Art Week that Made You Stop and Stare

Highlights from our member galleries:

Roger Hiorns, Untitled, 2012, clock altered with copper sulphate, at Luhring Augustine. Art Basel Miami Beach.

Sheila Hicks, Lares and Penates (detail), 1990-2013, found objects, at Sikkema Jenkins. Art Basel Miami Beach.

Mateo López, Cajitas de Colores, 2014, at Casey Kaplan. Art Basel Miami Beach. 

Peter Halley, Exploding Cell #10, 2013-14, pearlescent acrylic paint on digitally milled polystyrene, at Carl Solway Gallery. Ink Art Fair.

Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri, Untitled at Salon 94. Art Basel Miami Beach. 

Charline von Heyl, Dust on a White Shirt (Stripes), 2014, color sugar lift aquatint with soft ground etching and drypoint on gambi paper chine colle, at Crown Point Press. Art Basel Miami Beach.

Rachel Perry Welty, Chiral Lines I (detail), 2014, pen on paper, at Yancey Richardson. Miami Project.

León Ferrari, Untitled, 1981, stainless steel, at Sicardi. Art Basel Miami Beach.

Douglas Navarra, Untitled (detail), 2013, gouache, pencil and ink on found paper, at Sandra Gering. UNTITLED. Art Fair.

Natalia Arias, Cannot See the Forest for the Trees, 2014, recounting comments about her work she’s heard over the last 15 years, at Nohra Haime. Pulse.


This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features Robert Bechtle.

Bechtle's work is featured in “Still Life: 1970s Photorealism” at the Yale University Art Gallery. The exhibition, which is drawn from YUAG’s collection, was curated by Cathleen Chaffee and will be on view through March 9. It also includes work by Robert Cottingham, Ralph Goings, Duane Hanson, Malcolm Morley, Gerhard Richter, and John Salt. Bechtle is also exhibiting new paintings and drawings at New York’s Gladstone Gallery through February 22.

This is a corner in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood near which Bechtle lives. He’s made both paintings and prints of scenes around these corner over the years. Two of the best are the 2000 painting Texas Street Intersection (above) and a related 2004 Crown Point Press-published print (below). Bechtle and MAN Podcast host Tyler Green discussed these two works and how and why they’re slightly different.

In 2005 Bechtle was the subject of a San Francisco Museum of Modern Art-organized retrospective that traveled to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and to the Corcoran Gallery of Art. His work is in numerous museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Listen to or download this week’s MAN Podcast above, on SoundCloud, via direct-link mp3, or subscribe to The MAN Podcast (for free) at:

See more images of art discussed on this week’s program.


After checking in for the conference on Wednesday I walked over to see if the Crown Point Press gallery was open. It was and while there I asked gallery associate, Tiffany Harker, how best to request a studio tour on my next visit since the scheduled SGCI tours had been sold out when I registered. She stunned me by offering to walk me through the studio right then and there. It was quick so there are only a few photos and the really good stuff isn’t documented but I’m extremely grateful to have had the chance to experience the space and see the master printers at work.

Attention San Francisco followers!  Looking for something to do this weekend?  Why not stop by the de Young Museum and to visit Chuck Close and Crown Point Press: Forty Years of Creative Collaboration which opens to the public tomorrow!

Photo Credit: Chuck Close, Trial Proof for Keith, 1972. Mezzotint. Crown Point Press Archive, Museum purchase, Bequest of Whitney Warren, Jr. in memory of Mrs. Adolph B. Spreckels. 1991.28.98.; Chuck Close, Working Proof for Keith, 1972. Mezzotint. Foundation purchase, Phyllis C. Wattis Fund for Major Accessions. 2011.1

Printmaking: Pia Fries

Had our goodbye party yesterday, attended mostly by students of Jürgen Partenheimer’s old class. So of course we talked about painting and printmaking, and for a good while about Swiss painter Pia Fries.

Pia Fries: Krapprhizom Luisenkupfer

I found these two great videos about her works at the intersection of painting and printmaking. The first one is from 2010, the second one from 2008.
In “Krapprhizom Luisenkupfer” we get to see how Pia Fries was invited by the Kunsthalle in Karlsruhe, and how the works she produced for this show were based on a print by Dutch painter and engraver Hendrik Goltzius.

Segments of his print were enlarged and screen printed on a series of her canvasses, a foundation to which she then reacted to with her usual intense layers of colour. Rolf-Gunter Dienst once said that he loves butter cream cake and thus feels the same about her paintings, a sentiment i absolutely understand.

The second video was recored three years earlier, about Fries’ cooperation with Crown Point Press. Her works, a mixture of color soap ground, spit bite aquatints, photogravure, soft ground etching and roulette were done in collaboration with Crown Point master printer Emily York.

Pia Fries getting interviewed at Crown Point Press:

Further reading:

Pia Fries at Crown Point Press

Hendrik Goltzius (Wiki)

Represented by so many galleries:

Cabinet of Prints at the Kunsthalle Karlsruhe:
(in the grey box at the right side of the page, click on “Das besondere Blatt” to see the bi-monthly digital exhibition highlighting a hidden gem of the more than 90.000 prints in the colletion. A feature I think way more collections should have)