Exhibit Features Prints By Depression-Era Artists

By Mara McGinnis

Release Date: April 29, 1998 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Hundreds of Depression-era art prints that resurfaced in 1960 when the State of New York took them out of storage and gave them to Rikers-Island inmates for use as drawing paper will be exhibited from May 1 through Sept. 13 at the University at Buffalo.

The Research Center in Art and Culture in the University at Buffalo Art Gallery will present the "Meyer Family Collection: Prints from the New York Federal Art Project" in the gallery located on the first floor of the Center for the Arts on the UB North (Amherst) Campus.

A reception will be held from 7-9 p.m. on May 8 in the gallery.

The current gallery hours are 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. The gallery's summer hours, effective May 18 through Sept. 13, will be noon to 5 p.m. daily.

The exhibit is a selection of the Meyer family's more than 300 fine-art prints produced by artists employed under the Graphic Arts Division of the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project (WPA/FAP). The FAP employed a small percentage of the 3 million workers on the national WPA rolls from 1935-43 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal.

The prints originated in the Graphic Arts Division's printmaking workshop in New York City -- the nation's first shop of this kind. The print workshop fostered unparalleled expansion in the areas of lithography, woodcut, linocut and color printing, allowing these art forms to flourish for the first time in this country.

The exhibit presents the broad spectrum of technical, stylistic and representational diversity that characterized the WPA/FAP's experimental printmaking program.

"Whether raw or polished, the prints are enormously engaging; beyond visual pleasure, they offer us a potent legacy of creative experiment and candid ingenuity," says Lisa Fischman, associate curator of the UB Art Gallery. "They are evidence of a careful balancing act between the imperatives of artistic freedom and social pertinence, individual and community, and private vision and public interests, which remains central to contemporary discourse on the arts."

For more information about the exhibit, call (716) 645-6912, ext. 1421.