Monterey Museum of Art

Monterey, CA




Misch Kohn: Beyond the Tradition

The Monterey Museum of Art announces the first full scale retrospective documenting six decades of professional work by Misch Kohn (b. 1916). Misch Kohn: Beyond the Tradition, will premiere in the Work Gallery January 17 to March 22, 1998, at the Civic Center location, 559 Pacific Street. After the Monterey show, the exhibit will tour nationally through January, 2000. The exhibition will be accompanied by the first major publication ever produced on this master artist, including the first catalogue raisonne of his prints.

Lament, 1941, wood engraving, 4 15/16 x 7 inches, private collection, Photography by Ben Blackwell

Hailed as a pioneer for his early large-scale wood engravings and his succeeding innovations with sugar-lift ground aquatint etching, chine colle and handmade embedded paper processes, Misch Kohn has been a major force in American printmaking for six decades. This exhibition, featuring approximately 100 prints, will include work from all phases of his illustrious career.

Destruction of 5 (I), 1974, Lithography, chine colle, 22 5/8 x 14 1/2 inches, Photography by Ben Blackwell


Kohn's earliest lithographs and wood engravings, created on the federal W. P. A. project, express his deep connection and concern with the social and political climate of the times. Later, he was the first to take wood engraving from the traditional book-size illustration to a large scale; in order to take this step, he broke down technological barriers and changed the field's entire approach to this medium. From his beginnings in black and white representational art, he moved increasingly towards color and abstraction, while also expanding into etching and combined media. In the late 1950s, Kohn experimented with the then-radical technique of printing his etchings over collages of colored papers. By the 1970s, when he moved to California to take a position as Professor of Art at Califomia State University at Hayward, he began fabricating his own paper. His many years of innovation and technical mastery now allow him the freedom to mix many media within a single composition. In a single print he might use engraving, etching, aquatint, woodcut, and chine colle, with each technique exhibiting its own characteristics while at the same time creating something entirely new out of the interaction.

Kohn's oeuvre is represented in more than 100 museums internationally. In the United States, large collections are held at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He has received numerous awards, including two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Ford Foundation grant, a Tamarind Institute Fellowship, a visual artist fellowship from the National Endowments for the Arts, an honorary doctorate, and exhibitions in the Biennales of Venice, Sao Paulo, Ljubljana, Tokyo and Mexico City.

The publication of Misch Kohn: Beyond the Tradition, the first comprehensive book on one of America's leading printmakers, includes an introduction by Alan Fern, Director of the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, and an essay about Kohn's life and an analysis of his work by exhibition curator and former MMA director, Jo Farb Hernandez. This 300 page full color book is the first to reproduce and examine work from Kohn's entire career, including the last fifteen years of his (previously unpublished) work. The book includes a catalogue raisonne and over 200 reproductions, in addition to a complete exhibition history, bibliography, and an international list of public collections.

There will be an Opening Reception on Friday, January 16, from 5:00 to 6:00 for Museum members and 6:00 to 7:30, for the general public.


Text and images courtesy of Monterey Museum of Art.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 11/8/11

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