"What is an edition, anyway?," organized by ETC-Industries/C.Editions, Art in Print, and Mana Contemporary Chicago surveys how contemporary artists have exploited and undermined the idea of editions through prints, multiples, books, posters, and other ephemera. The works on view contrast the traditional with the provocative to define the edition today.
At the dawn of the 21st century, Allen Ruppersberg made a lithograph titled "What Is a Print?" whose image consists entirely of questions: Why are there so many of the same thing?; Do I have to frame it?; What is an edition, anyway? Ruppersberg’s creation—a handmade collaboration between artist and printer—offers one answer to these queries. This exhibition, incorporating work that runs from the print and multiples boom of the 1960s to the present, offers dozens of divergent answers, by artists such as Cey Adams, Richard Artschwager, John Baldessari, Janette Beckman, John Cage, Richard Hamilton, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Allan McCollum, Vik Muniz, Claes Oldenburg, Richard Prince, Robert Rauschenberg, Kay Rosen, James Rosenquist, Allen Ruppersberg, Shelter Serra, Andy Warhol, and Terry Winters.
These editions have been designed to distribute ideas, critique the role of the market, and embrace the intimacy of ownership. Though singular in idea, the edition is plural as a material thing. Editions can be limited or unlimited, signed by the artist or not. They may be as large as a painting, or small enough to fit in your pocket. They may be expensive to purchase or free for the taking. Editions permit many people to see or hold the same object. Editions promote a social and intellectual connection through the shared experience of looking at, examining, and understanding the idea behind it. The edition is a marketing tool for ideas, a social network for images.