AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting – Tamarind Institute Tour

Posted on behalf of Debora Mayer.

The tour of the Tamarind Lithography Workshop was a highlight of the conference. Tamarind was founded in Los Angeles in 1960 as a means to invigorate the art of lithography by training master printers and forging collaborations with artists. Tamarind moved to Albuquerque in 1970, became affiliated with the University of New Mexico and continues to train printers in a MFA program.

As a student in lithography in the 1970’s I was enamored with and extensively referenced the textbook The Tamarind Book of Lithography Art and Techniques by Garo Antreasian and Clinton Adams. My copy of the book is now deteriorating and brittle from exposure to studio chemicals. Many of my favorite artists such as Jim Dine and Ed Ruscha have printed at Tamarind and their prints were on the wall and their presence was felt on the day of the tour.

The tour began with the group watching a 1973 documentary film “Four Stones for Kanemitsu” detailing the collaboration between artist Matsumi Kanemitsu and Master Printer Serge Lozingot as they create and print a four-color lithograph. Best of all, was the delight of seeing in the film– co-star, conservator and colleague Betty Fiske. Betty was curator at Tamarind at the time of the filming and she spoke to the process of creating the documentation sheet that records the materials and techniques used to create each edition. By the way these documentation sheets are in the process of being scanned and will soon be available as PDFs for collectors.

The tour continued to the print studio filled with presses, shelves of rollers, inks, and litho stones. A print of an owl was being pulled by MFA students in the apprentice program. The smell of ink was wonderful.

Walking across the street to the U of NM Art Museum I participated in the (AIC) tour of the museum. To complete the story, the museum is the repository for the print archive of the Tamarind workshop- housed in their newly renovated print study and storage area.

Debora Mayer