There are a lot of shows that slip past our radar. Even the big institutions have shows that we are totally unaware of! Apparently a new typography/art/letterpress show just opened at LACMA and it sounds super wonderful: Jack Stauffacher: Typographic Experiments. The show is a look at the San Francisco printer’s work over the past seventy years and how he turned his printmaking into art making. The result of his experiments made for a terrific conversation in his works as they had toes dipped in the world of typography and the world of art.
Stauffacher makes what he calls “typographic meditations” with wooden letters and has been doing work like this since 1966 when he moved into 300 Broadway in San Francisco and reopened The Greenwood Press. He has used letters he has been gifted and has found to make various arrangements of common images into often abstract typography exercises. LACMA sat down with the artist to hear him explain his process and made a neat little video of him talking and telling you what he does. He pulls out woodblocks and shows you how brilliant they can be when you throw two together. “They become something else when I put this H there,” he says, showing us the woodblocks. “And then when you print them, that patine–they’re not all perfect: they’re imperfect. They got scratches. They’ve really been used: they radiate.” As he explains, you find that letters we print with have their own little lives that is given to them from being utilized and utilized and utilized.
The body of work being shown looks nice from what you see in the video and on LACMA’s website. Typographic Experiments is a nice friend to the recently closed Hammer graphic design show that has history and experimentation embedded into it. If this video is indication of anything, it is that we need to visit LACMA very soon. Catch the video below and the work will be on view through July 21.