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institute for research in art

About Graphicstudio

Christian Marclay working in residence at USF Graphicstudio. photo: Will Lytch

Graphicstudio is a university-based workshop engaged in a unique experiment in art and education. Graphicstudio’s philosophy of providing artists with the freedom to experiment and pursue new directions to advance their practice, matched with an exceptionally talented faculty and staff, has attracted world-renowned contemporary artists to the University of South Florida (USF) campus in Tampa. Their collaborative projects have produced print editions and multiples at the forefront of contemporary art.

USF Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Donald J. Saff, founded Graphicstudio in 1968. Other Directors have been David Yager, Alan Eaker and Hank Hine. In 2001, Graphicstudio merged with the Contemporary Art Museum and Public Art Program to form the Institute for Research in Art, and Professor Margaret A. Miller was appointed Director. The Institute is part of the College of The Arts under Dean James Moy.

Through the years, Graphicstudio has received popular and critical acclaim for its innovative approach to artistic collaboration and technical advancements. Fueled by the renaissance in American printmaking in the 1960s, Saff led his team to develop new processes and treatments of traditional printmaking. Jim Dine, Philip Pearlstein, Robert Rauschenberg and James Rosenquist produced large-scale lithographs and mixed media works. A new process for printing encaustic waxes, called “waxtype,” was developed specifically for Roy Lichtenstein. Relief, the oldest printmaking process, was transformed by using photographically generated stencils allowing for fine detail resulting in a technique known as “heliorelief.”

Artist Robyn O'Neil in residence at Graphicstudio, with Master Printers Tim Baker and Tom Pruitt. photo: Will Lytch

Deli Sacilotto, retired Director of Research, expanded the 19th century photogravure process to allow for the hand printing of unusually large images, as well as four-color photogravures. Chuck Close, Robert Mapplethorpe, Vik Muniz, Ed Ruscha, William Wegman and others have used the photogravure process to advance new concepts and approaches to their work.

Under Hank Hine and Margaret Miller’s leadership the studio invited artists to use the 19th century cameraless cyanotype process in new ways and has produced astounding large-scale unique prints with Alex Katz, Guillermo Kuitca, Arturo Herrera and Christian Marclay. Cyanotypes are photographic prints created by placing objects or film (contact printing) on a photosensitive surface, and are commonly known as “blueprints” because of their distinctive Prussian blue color.

Research and collaborations are not limited to works on paper; the production of sculpture editions and artist’s books has been a significant part of Graphicstudio’s mission. Innovative sculpture multiples produced under Saff’s leadership included Robert Rauschenberg’s mixed media editions for his R.O.C.I. project (Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange) and cast bronze sculptures by Roy Lichtenstein. Hank Hine produced unique book projects with George Baselitz, Ed Ruscha and Kiki Smith among others. In recent years, Miller has reemphasized sculpture production, and the studio fabricators have researched and developed innovative techniques in bronze casting for Louise Bourgeois, Diana Al-Hadid and Esterio Segura; wood constructions for Los Carpinteros and Allan McCollum; cast resin projects for Roxy Paine and Trenton Doyle Hancock; poured basalt forms for Keith Edmier; and water-jet cut, polished stainless steel sculptures for Teresita Fernández. Digital technologies have also been utilized for research and the production of both traditional print and sculpture editions. Use of digital output of films for print processes and rapid prototyping for 3D multiples provide artists with technically advanced tools to expand their research and practice.

Graphicstudio has served a variety of constituencies from its inception. Students and faculty have benefited from educational and professional interaction with visiting artists. Participants in the Research Partners Program collect significant art while supporting research and educational commitments. In 1990, an archive of Graphicstudio’s publications was established at the National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Washington, D.C., which presented a comprehensive exhibition with an accompanying catalogue. Graphicstudio’s editions continue to be acquired by leading museums and collectors including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New York Public Library and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.