WashU Spaces: Dubinsky Printmaking Studio

Tall, north-facing windows provide ample natural light in the Dubinsky Printmaking Studio in Bixby Hall. To tour the space, hover over images. (All photos: James Byard/Washington University)

“Be nice.” “Clean up after yourself.” “Don’t lie.”

The three house rules are good advice — but especially critical in a busy print shop. On any given afternoon, a dozen students, faculty and visiting artists might be preparing plates, cutting paper, mixing ink and running the presses in Bixby Hall’s Dubinsky Printmaking Studio.

Lisa Bulawsky, printmaking area coordinator and director of Island Press

“It’s a collaborative space,” said Lisa Bulawsky, professor of art and printmaking area coordinator in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.

“It’s also a combined space,” Bulawsky added. “Most shops have separate studios for lithography, for etching, for silkscreen — everything is divided up. Here, the idea is about mixing and experimenting.”

The state-of-the-art facility, which was designed by professor emeritus Joan Hall, also serves as home to Island Press, which publishes innovative prints and multiples by many of today’s most challenging artists. Over the years, Island Press projects have been showcased at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Venice Biennale and the university’s own Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, among many others.

Island Press takes its name from a massively oversized etching press — 60 inches wide by 120 inches long — that was built in the early 1990s by Peter Marcus, professor emeritus, in collaboration with St. Louis machinist Warren Sauer.

“It’s pretty unusual for a student facility,” Bulawsky said. “The beauty of printmaking is that it’s something you do with other people. There’s always a built-in network and built-in help.

“It’s a democratic activity.”

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