International printmaking conference at Sam Fox School March 16-19

More than 1,200 printmakers descend on St. Louis for annual meeting of the SGC International

The SGC International is the largest printmaking organization in North America, with thousands of members in all 50 states, Canada, South America and Europe.

Next week, the SGCI will bring more than 1,200 printmakers from around the world to the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, which is hosting Equilibrium, the organization’s 2011 conference.


“Without question, the annual SGC International Conference is one of the most significant gatherings of printmakers worldwide — and a considerable undertaking,” says Carmon Colangelo, the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Collaboration in the Arts and dean of the Sam Fox School. “After more than a year of planning, we are ready and excited to have the printmaking community descend upon St. Louis.”

Equilibrium, which takes place Wednesday through Saturday, March 16-19, marks Colangelo’s second time hosting the SGCI Conference. The first came during his tenure as chair of art at West Virginia University, where he organized the 1996 conference, Remote Sensing.

At the time, “printmakers were already pondering the impact of the information highway and a new paradigm that was changing the nature of production and location,” Colangelo remembers. “This year’s conference theme, Equilibrium, acknowledges the amazing ingenuity of print artists in responding to constant change and to innovating expanded practices that reflect the dynamic condition of the field.”

The chair for this year’s conference is Lisa Bulawsky, associate professor of art in the Sam Fox School and herself an accomplished printmaker. Primarily known for mixed media works that integrate printed images with painting, drawing and collage, Bulawsky also has explored printmaking’s populist traditions in a variety of public works and installations.


“Contemporary printmaking is an extremely diverse and energetic field, encompassing — and integrating — a wide variety of practices and approaches,” Bulawsky says. “Equilibrium attempts to address the constantly fluctuating relationship between artist and process, as well as how both intersect with current critical discourse, contemporary art and popular culture.

“Hosting this conference at Washington University presents the perfect opportunity to examine the full spectrum of current activity,” Bulawsky says. “There’s a kind of rhythmic vibration all along that spectrum that is beautifully symbolized in St. Louis — from the (do-it-yourself), grassroots print shops, to the vibrant commercial printers, to the innovative and rigorous academic programs, to the astonishing array of fine art print publishers.”

In conjunction with the conference, the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum is now hosting three exhibitions focused on printmaking: Ghost: Elizabeth Peyton, featuring prints by the acclaimed portraitist; Island Press: Three Decades of Printmaking, which surveys the Sam Fox School’s renowned contract print shop; and Luis Camnitzer: Forewords and Last Words, featuring works by the pioneering conceptual artist.

Camnitzer, as part of the conference, will receive the SGCI’s prestigious Printmaker Emeritus Award. Hung Liu — a former visiting artist in the Sam Fox School, whose work is featured in the Island Press exhibition — will receive the Lifetime Achievement in Printmaking Award.

Brooklyn-based artist Caledonia Curry, aka Swoon — known for life-size woodblock and cut-paper portraits hung on city walls around the world — will receive the Community Engagement Award. During the conference, she will create a new installation on the east wall of the Bruno David Gallery, with the support of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts.

Peter Marcus, professor emeritus of printmaking in the Sam Fox School and founder of Island Press, will receive the Excellence in Teaching Printmaking Award. In conjunction with the award, an exhibition of Marcus’ own work, titled Peter Marcus: Forms in Architecture, will be on view in Steinberg Hall Gallery throughout the conference.

Individual sessions, which take place on Washington University’s Danforth Campus and at The Chase Park Plaza hotel in St. Louis’ Central West End, are only open to SGCI members, though on-site registration will be available.

However, galleries and arts organizations throughout the area are hosting a number of public exhibitions and events relating to the conference.

For a complete schedule, visit


Equilibrium is organized by a steering committee led by Colangelo and Bulawsky, along with Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and Buzz Spector, the Jane Reuter Hitzeman and Herbert F. Hitzeman, Jr. Professor of Art and dean of the College and Graduate School of Art.

Other members of the steering committee include a variety of Sam Fox School faculty, staff and alumni, as well as community volunteers. These include Todd Anderson, Brandon Anschultz, Ken Botnick, Bunny Burson, Yvette Drury Dubinsky, Joan Hall, Jana Harper, Tom Lang, Angela Malchionno, Patricia Olynyk, Sharron Pollack, Tom Reed, Jeff Sippel and Amanda Verbeck.


The Sam Fox School is a unique collaboration in architecture, art and design education. Offering professional studio programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, the Sam Fox School links four academic units — the College of Art, College of Architecture, Graduate School of Art and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design — with the university’s nationally recognized Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.

The SGCI dates back to 1972, when Boyd Saunders, from the University of South Carolina, invited every printmaker he knew in the South to meet in New Orleans at the annual convention of the Southeastern College Art Conference. The group that assembled included Saunders, Bernie Solomon and John O’Neil, who wrote and approved by-laws for a printmaker’s organization. The following year, the Southeastern Graphics Council was officially chartered as a non-profit by the State of South Carolina.

Saunders served as the first president, from 1972-74. Solomon hosted the first annual workshop conference in 1974, at his home institution of Georgia Southern College. In 1978, as the organization grew in membership, the name was changed to the Southern Graphics Council. Over the next 30 years, conferences were held not only in Southern states, but in New Jersey, Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin. In 2010, the name was changed again, to its current SGC International.

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