William Kentridge Prints at Museum of Modern Art New York

In 1998, David Krut arranged the first exhibition of William Kentridge’s prints in the USA in Chicago. Previously there had been an exhibition of his films and related drawings at the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art. The Chicago exhibition comprised all the editions that Krut had published with Kentridge since the start of their collaboration in 1993 as well as other Kentridge works that Krut was promoting and seeking to bring to the attention of an international audience. The Print Department of the Museum of Modern Art in New York made their first purchase being the “Ubu and the Truth Commission”, and Krut introduced the work to various other Museums in the mid-west. MoMA’s print department has continued to acquire prints by Kentridge and now include some key editioned works in their collection.

These works are featured in a current show at MoMA curated by Judith Hecker, the Assistant Curator in the Department of Prints and Illustrated Books at the Museum. Hecker is frequently in contact with David Krut Projects, New York and has also visited our printmaking workshop and gallery in Johannesburg where we continue to publish prints by Kentridge. Hecker has shown interest not only in Kentridge’s work but also in the work of many South African other artists with whom we collaborate and whose works we have published. Jillian Ross is the workshop manager and senior printer.

From the MoMA website:
This exhibition examines how artists from the late nineteenth century to today have explored contemporary concerns by challenging, redeeming, or personalizing historical subjects. Many of the works take a narrative approach, referring to events in history, ancient mythology, the Bible, or centuries-old fables. Traditionally, artists have used printmaking’s serial format to build such narratives; more recently, artists have exploited printmaking’s ability to easily reproduce and alter existing images to interject their own commentary. This selection of works includes key print cycles and individual prints from earlier periods by Max Beckmann, James Ensor, Pablo Picasso, and others, as well as contemporary prints by such artists as Christian Boltanski, Anselm Kiefer, and William Kentridge. The installation culminates in a gallery devoted to Kara Walker’s monumental series of prints Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated) (2005), which confronts the legacy of slavery and is a new addition to the Museum’s collection.

Organized by Judith B. Hecker, Assistant Curator, Department of Prints and Illustrated Books.


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