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Now on Display! Printing Through the Pandemic

Printing Through the Pandemic
J. Willard Marriott, The University of Utah
Levels 1 & 4
June 24 – September 23, 2022

This exhibition is free and open to the public.

Philip Zimmermann
Tucson, AZ: Spaceheater Editions, 2020
N7433.4 Z55 D45 2020

In early March 2020, under orders to evacuate the print shop, Emily Tipps and Marnie Powers-Torrey of the Book Arts Program hurriedly printed the title page and portfolio for the Festschrift for Bill, which Marnie took home to build and disseminate. The project kept minds and hands committed to progress. 

Ed Hutchins
Salem, NY: Editions, 2021
N7433.4 H87 C33 2021

Two months later, still isolated from the presses and the people who use them, the completed portfolios were shipped to participants, who sent messages of warm appreciation in return. Connecting with the book arts community in response to the passing of Bill Stuart of Vamp and Tramp Booksellers was a powerful healing and celebratory opportunity before the pandemic hit, and the impact was exponentially greater once the global grief began to settle in.

Don’t Cut Your Hair, It’s Beautiful, 
Kellee Morgado
Reno, NV: Black Rock Press, 2020
N7433.4 M649 D66 2020

The repetition of printing offers consistency—each pass affirms progress through a stack of blank printer’s sheets, while the racked prints exude productivity. Print exchanges provide shared goals and deadlines, helping to prioritize the making—collectively, printmakers are producing timely, innovative work that serves to connect us with one another and our audiences, despite our being distanced. 

Emily Tipps | Utah: High5 Press


Dan Mayer, the College Book Art Association Southwest Regional Leader, organized a member exchange with the theme of Environment in March 2020. The theme was sufficiently open to consider global or more localized concerns that seemed amplified by the period of intense news-watching and ceiling-staring. The national exchange connected makers in each region and repurposed feelings of angst and hopelessness to fuel ideation and printing. This CBAA Print Exchange is the first collaborative project by SW-Regional Members, produced in an edition of fifteen copies.   

Adrian Rhodes

Ethic of Love 

Stefanie Dykes sent a spontaneous call to print-action in early January 2021 for the Ethic of Love Portfolio, inspired by bell hooks’s essay “Love as the Practice of Freedom.” Propelled by the two-month deadline, the powerful essay, and the knowledge that other printers were making and loving in unison, participants produced a broad range of prints. By April, all twenty-five artists had received a full set of prints, each in a 10” x 5” priority mailer with a window that gave the enclosed exhibition the opportunity to travel and spread the love.   

“Hope Takes Effort” by Virginia Rougon Chavis

Hope is an Action 

In November 2020, Jessica Snow, Kseniya Thomas, and Jenny Wilkson organized the Hope is an Action Print Exchange. The genius was in encouraging participants to take action by hoping – something accessible to all – with individual and combined effort. The inherent potential of collective problem-solving and the power of connection across geographic as well as political and/or cultural divides was striking in the resulting work. During a period when the world seemed suspended in time, involvement in the project gave structure and meaning to creative output. Hopefully, these messages will inspire action, new ways of thinking, and new ways of being. 

“You Can’t Take That Away From Me” by Marnie Powers-Torrey | Book Arts Program & Red Butte Press

The Jazz Age 

In February 2020, Tony Guadagnolo invited twenty Vandercook SP20 owners to produce a 1920s jazz-themed print as a member of the 20 for 20 SP20 Print Collective. The Collective was formed as the pandemic took root, and the project was actuated “separately together” over the course of the year, with flexible deadlines in response to COVID-19 fallout. Tony kept in touch by emailing early jazz trivia questions and mailing collective T-shirts and printers’ manicules to participants. The following February, participants received the smartly designed portfolio of twenty diverse prints. The portfolio was physical evidence of the critical value of collective productivity—being part of a larger whole whose individual members worked in parallel spaces in response to a common call with a shared timeline.    

“Sister Corita Kent” by Rachael Hetzel | Pistachio Press

Inspiring Women

Inspiring Women was created in celebration of the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. The women featured within this portfolio come from many time periods, but all possess a radical spirit that seeks to create change in the world. The portfolio was organized by Kathryn Hunter of Blackbird Letterpress and printed during the 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic. The portfolio features letterpress prints inspired by the likes of Nina Simone, Molly Ivins, Anita Faye Hill, Daisy Bates, Eleanor Roosevelt, Eugenie Clark, Flo Kennedy, Grace Hopper, Ida B. Wells, Janet Davison Rowley, Judy Woodruff, Lucretia Mott, Marsha P. Johnson, Michelle Obama, Patsy Takemoto Mink, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Susan B. Anthony, Susan O’Malley, Sylvia Rivera, and others. 

Throughout the pandemic, for a myriad of reasons, many printers responded to print exchange invitations and others created artists’ books. This exhibition presents prints from a selection of print exchanges and recently purchased artists’ books from the Rare Books Collection, all produced in 2020-2021, and many in direct response to current issues.  


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