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Jim Dine Prints: 1985­2000

July 12 through September 21, 2003


Elvehjem print curator, Andrew Stevens, has selected approximately forty lithographs, intaglios, and woodcuts to illustrate Dine's recent graphic production.

Over the years Dine has worked in performance painting, sculpture, and drawing but his first love is printmaking. Dine is a dedicated, prolific, and inventive printmaker; his virtuosity, penchant for innovation, and ability to tap into the vagaries of the human psyche has resulted in countless works of indisputable power and beauty. During the fifteen years covered in this exhibition, Dine's imagery evolved in extraordinary ways. New iconic elements-the owl, raven, ape, cat, and Pinocchio-supplement his signature repertory of hearts, hands, skulls, tools, and robes. He continually turns to familiar images such as the Venus de Milo, trees, and flowers to evoke a variety of emotional responses. Each one of these old and new motifs resonates with the artist's life experiences, to such a degree that he has openly declared them self-portraits. Now into the twenty-first century, Dine continues to dazzle with iconic and technical innovations that build on and enhance his earlier efforts.

Dine collaborates with master printers from all over the world from Los Angeles, Chicago, Vienna, Milan, Verona, Rome, and Copenhagen to New York, London, Tampa, and Paris. Often his print projects yield works that rival his paintings in scale, presenting a logistical challenge to the mounting of a traditional print exhibition.

Although commonly associated with the Pop art movement of the 1960s, Dine's work pertains more to his lifelong search for meaning and insight. In the early 1960s he worked everyday objects-often his personal possessions-such as tools, articles of clothing, and even a bathroom sink, onto his canvases. This autobiographical content was evident in Dine's early series and appeared in recurrent themes and images, such as the Palettes, Hearts, and bathrobe Self-Portraits. Dine, who has made three-dimensional works and environments, is well known for his drawings and prints. For over four decades he has been producing an astounding body of paintings, sculpture, prints, and photographs. In his paintings, drawings, sculptures, graphics, collages and assemblages he combined different techniques with handwritten texts and words and set common objects against undefined backgrounds. In the 70s he turned to representational painting of a traditional kind.

Born in 1935, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Jim Dine studied at night at the Cincinnati Art Academy during his senior year of high school and then attended the University of Cincinnati, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and Ohio University, Athens, from which he received his BFA in 1957. Dine moved to New York in 1959 and soon became a pioneer creator of Happenings with Allan Kaprow, Claes Oldenburg, and Robert Whitman. His first solo show took place at the Reuben Gallery, New York, in 1960. Dine was guest lecturer at Yale University, artist-in-residence at Oberlin College, and 1967 visiting artist at Cornell University. He has had solo shows in museums in Europe and the United States. In 1970, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, organized a major retrospective of his work, and in 1978 the Museum of Modern Art, New York, presented a retrospective of his etchings.

The Elvehjem selection, which are on loan from Pace Prints in New York, is based on an exhibition, Jim Dine Prints: 1985­2000, shown from May 12 to August 4, 2002 at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Produced for the MIA exhibition, the richly illustrated catalogue raisonée provides a wealth of information on 198 prints, 10 livres d'artiste, and four portfolios. Essays by Elizabeth Carpenter and Joseph Ruzicka give context to Dine's graphic work since 1985 and offer new insights based on conversations with the artists and his printers and collaborators.

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