GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Robert Blackburn is credited as one of the artists who definite the “American graphics boom” of the 1960s. While some might think of those words during that time period and envision early comic book art styles, that’s not quite the legacy that Blackburn has left behind. Those who want to see what that legacy looks like, will be able to do so soon in Glens Falls.
The Smithsonian’s “Robert Blackburn & Modern American Printmaking” exhibit is coming to the Hyde Museum in Glens Falls, starting at the end of the month. Open from Jan. 29 until April 24, the exhibit is a walk through the life of Blackburn, who worked in printmaking over a large portion of the 20th century.
“For more than five decades, Robert Blackburn ran a workshop open to everyone. His printmaking knowledge and skill were legendary, and his generosity opened printmaking to generations of artists from around the world,” says Jonathan Canning, The Hyde’s Director of Curatorial Affairs and Programming. “At the same time, he was deeply connected to Black artistic circles including the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s.”
The exhibit includes around 60 works of a few types. Lithographs, woodcutting, intaglio and watercolors are featured, many of which were created by Blackburn in collaboration with fellow artists, including Grace Hartigan, Robert Rauschenberg, Elizabeth Catlett and Romare Bearden.
Blackburn (1920-2003) was born and raised in Harlem, and was a core part of the Harlem Renaissance period. The printmaking workshop he founded in 1947 is still in operation, and is still remembered in the form of the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop Program, which helped organize the exhibition.
“Robert Blackburn & Modern American Printmaking” is part of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, which currently has over a dozen exhibitions at museums across the country. The program puts an emphasis on bringing exhibits to new areas that provide a window into different parts of American culture and history.
The Hyde Museum features a permanent collection, curated by founders Louis and Charlotte Hyde, and additionally hosts national and international exhibits like this on a regular basis. Currently, all museum visitors are asked to wear face masks while inside, in cooperation with COVID-19 protocol.