Building on the Appeal of Lower-Priced Online Sales, Zwirner Launches an Editions Company to Publish Artists’ Prints
Zwirner says prints and printmaking have been a passion since his earliest days in the art world.
Mega-gallery David Zwirner is growing again. Today, it unveiled Utopia Editions, a new publisher of original prints by contemporary artists. It will be overseen by Elleree Erdos, who joined the gallery in August as director of prints and multiples.
One offer right out of the gate are three new print editions by Marcel Dzama, each in an edition of 75, priced at $2,500 each. The works are titled: Under for opening eyelids of the moon; The flowers of indulgence; and And now we have Mother Nature on the run. The works are lithographs that were made by master printer Maurice Sanchez of Derriere L’Etoile Studios in Queens, in collaboration with the artist. All three are currently available on platformart.com.
Next up, Utopia Editions will release lithographs by Neo Rauch and Rosa Loy on December 8, and a silkscreen edition by Ebecho Muslimova in early 2022. Additional artists to release prints include Katherine Bernhardt, Cy Gavin, Raymond Pettibon, Cynthia Talmadge, and Luc Tuymans, and others.
Asked about the impetus for the new initiative, gallery founder David Zwirner told Artnet News via email that, once the gallery launched Platform in 2020, right after the lockdown kicked in, “I saw how quickly our client base was growing, I realized that our publishing avenue needed to be developed further.”
Zwirner added that from the time he first opened the gallery, he wanted to be a publisher as well as an art dealer. His first job in the art world was working for Brooke Alexander Editions. “I started there in 1990. I was in charge of the production of prints and multiples, where we worked with artists like Bruce Nauman, Richard Tuttle, Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg, John Baldessari, to name just a few. At that point, I fell in love with the medium and the endless possibilities for expression as artists collaborated with master printmakers.”
Though he initially undertook print projects with artists like Raymond Pettibon and Chris Ofili, he says that “the realities of running my growing gallery kept me busy.”
However, once the gallery started establishing itself in the online world in early 2017, Zwirner says he reconnected with his interest in fine art prints and embarked on successful projects with Lisa Yuskavage, Neo Rauch, Alice Neel, Josh Smith, and others, offering their prints through davidzwirner.com. “We were excited to see that our activities reached a different kind of collector, looking for great art at a lower price point. Young collectors who were just getting started responded immediately, as did seasoned collectors,” he added.
Following the launch of Platform last year, “I started to look for somebody to lead our efforts establishing the new publishing house at our gallery and was fortunate to find Elleree Erdos,” Zwirner said. “Her deep knowledge and expertise in the world of prints allows us to establish Utopia Editions with a leader at the helm.”
Asked about pricing for the various editions, Erdos explained that it will be set by a group of gallery directors, including herself, “in collaboration with the artists who are making them. We will also be publishing prints with artists outside of the David Zwirner roster, so these prices will be decided by those artists and their galleries.”
In general though, Erdos noted, pricing will depend on a combination of factors such as edition size, physical size of the print, and the printing technique or techniques used.
Of the work being released today, Dzama said: “I love the tradition of printmaking, how it changed the world and the ability to make multiples but still be an original work. Some of my favorite works of art were prints made by Dürer and Goya. This series of work was made during this monumental time of change in the world with the pandemic, tyrannical leaders, and destructive climate change. These works have a bit of an escape in mind but also knowledge that a threat is at our doorstep.”
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