The Democracy of Printing Restarts on Treat Avenue

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Artists from across the United States and Mexico will converge on Treat Avenue Saturday to make prints addressing evictions, immigration and other political issues.

Large-scale relief prints by everyone from the internationally known Swoon to students will be showcased inside the studio at 931 Treat Ave. Visitors can also take a self-guided tour of 17 Mission art galleries that will end in evening receptions at each gallery.

As long as relief printing has been around, it’s been matched with political activism, said Paul Mullowney, a print teacher at the San Francisco Art Institute and the founder of the three-year-old 1400 square-foot studio on Treat. “They weren’t commodities as they are now, so we’re kind of taking back that democratic aspect of it — which is wide dissemination of prints to the people.”

Albrecht Dürer turned to prints in the 16th Century as a way of establishing his name and disseminating his work beyond a small circle of wealthy collectors. Others used prints in a more pointedly political way, including Francisco Goya’s “The Disasters of War” (1810 – 1820) and Jacques Callot’s 16th Century prints recording civic life along the border between France and Germany.

True to the tradition of broad dissemination, some of the artists will engage Saturday in live steamroller printing. The posters will be given out for free.

Oakland-based artist Favianna Rodriguez and her art collective CultureStrike will make prints that “help to envision what it is to live as a migrant these days,” Rodriguez said.

CultureStrike’s contribution will include the work of 15 documented and undocumented migrant artists.

Other showcased work will address evictions in the neighborhood and present reliefs by the homeless artist Ronnie Goodman.

A platform for political discussion on one hand, the exhibition will also present an opportunity for local artists and art students to showcase their work to a broader audience. “I’m very excited to have people who are up-and-coming, like my students, in the same show with somebody like Swoon, who is huge, worldwide, and who has influenced a lot of these younger people,” Mullowney said.

The XXL Relief Show is part of the Southern Graphics Council International. The conference is taking place all over the city and other parts of the Bay area from March 26 to 29 and will feature a variety of exhibitions, panel discussions and art walks, some of which are partly free and open to public.

Details are here.

Block Party: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Treat Avenue between 22nd and 23rd streets.
Artists Reception: Mullowney Press, 931 Treat Ave.
Time: 6 – 9 p.m.

Details for receptions elsewhere and the art walk are below.

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