Printmakers You Should Know: Tamarind Institute

Typically I write about Printmakers You Should Know on the first Monday of the month, but today we're going to shake things up because we just opened a new printmaking-themed exhibit at the Museum, Tamarind: Teaming Up. This exhibit highlights not just a printmaker, but an entire workshop you should know, Tamarind Institute.

But what is Tamarind Institute, you ask?

Tamarind is one of the most important lithography workshops in action today. It was founded in 1960 in Los Angeles by printmaker June Wayne, who thought that the well-being and continuation of lithography as an art form was being threatened due to lack of funding and proper instruction.

June Wayne, collaborating printer Edward Hamilton, Visa/Monday, 1976, color lithograph on paper.

Her goal was to create a workshop where artists and master printers could collaborate on projects. She was joined in this effort by the artists and printers Clinton Adams and Garo Antreasian. For its first ten years, Tamarind operated under the auspices of a Ford Foundation grant. When 1970, when the grant ended, Tamarind relocated to Albuquerque, where it became part of the University of New Mexico.

Clinton Adams, collaborating printer Irwin Hollander, Requiem, 1963, black-and-white lithograph on paper.

Garo Antreasian, collaborating printers Glenn Brill and Michel Toby, Untitled T76-125, 1976, color lithograph on paper.

Tamarind's philosophy revolves around collaboration. Every year, it invites several artists, many of whom have never worked with lithography, to team up with its master printers. Artists such as Ed Ruscha, Elaine de Kooning, and Kiki Smith have created editions here, the sale of which support Tamarind's expenses.

Here are a few of the RMAC's Tamarind prints (apologies for the reflections; all the pictures in today's post were taken in the gallery). Most of our prints date from the 1970s, during Tamarind's first decade at UNM. Kiki Smith's Untitled, printed in 2009, is our most recent piece.

Kiki Smith, collaborating printer Bill Lagattuta, Untitled, 2009, black-and-white lithograph on paper.

Leonard Lehrer, collaborating printers Ben Q. Adams and Glenn Brill, Fronds, 1975, lithograph on paper.

Martyl Schweig Langsdorf, collaborating printer Stephen Britko, Synapse Suite IV, 1974, color lithograph on paper.

Lee Anne Miller, collaborating printer Frances Thiel, Baroque Botique, 1975, black-and-white lithograph on paper.

Tamarind is also an important education center because it trains master printers. Every year, printers from around the world are brought here to train in the workshop. Exceptional students become apprentices, and spend a second year working with artists on their editions.

In short, Tamarind is a cool place, and if you're ever at UNM, you should definitely check out its gallery. Regardless of where you are, you should definitely look at their website, as they're doing a lot of exciting things on an international scale.

Want to learn more? Investigate these sites. The catalogue raisonne is especially helpful, as it lists the specs for every print pulled at Tamarind.

You can also check out more of the RMAC's Tamarind holdings here: