"Poets, Painters, and Paper" on display at WFMA

"Poets, Painters, and Paper" on display at WFMA

The Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU Texas is home to an exhibit that highlights one of America's most fertile times of literary and artistic collaboration. "Poets, Painters, and Paper: Post-World War II American Avant-Garde Art," an exhibition of that fusion of prints and poetry broadsides, is on display now through Aug. 11.

The exhibition, co-curated by WFMA curator Danny Bills and Assistant Professor of English Todd Giles, explores the cross-fertilization of the visual and literary arts made possible by the printmaking renaissance of the '60s and '70s, and fostered by studios and workshops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, and New York.

During the turbulent 1950s, '60s, and '70s, artists and poets worked together to create accessible and affordable artworks by printmaking. Poets and painters celebrated the intersection between the ephemeral nature of works on paper and the art object, and between individual and cooperative production, to create the poetry broadsides - a marriage of words and art on paper.

The exhibition includes lithographs, etchings, and screenprints from the WFMA's permanent collection ranging from works by abstract expressionists Lee Krasner, Robert Motherwell, Willem De Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns, as well as pop artists Tom Wesselmann, Andy Warhol, and James Rosenquist, among others.

"Poets, Painters, and Paper" includes a number of poetry broadsides from Giles' personal poetry collection. The poetry broadsides are supplemented with numerous small press poetry journals such as Yugen, Origin, Dissent, and INTRANSIT, as well as other print ephemera from the period, including Lawrence Ferlinghetti's infamous 1975 "Letter to Stanley Kunitz," where Ferlinghetti rejects an invitation to read at the Library of Congress. The exhibition includes broadsides that were signed and numbered by Robin Blaser, Robert Creeley, Gary Snyder, and Lenore Kandel.