For the first time, in its 60th year, the Tamarind Institute at The University of New Mexico announced ahead of time the artist who would create its annual Collectors Club print. The institute has also created a curated selection of lithographs celebrating six decades of collaborative printmaking at Tamarind that will be revealed online each month through February. The world-famous lithography institute has also been working to ensure that, despite the pandemic, students, artists, and faculty can still get their work in the public eye.
“Each year we select a notable artist and this year, our 60th anniversary, we were really honored to add Jaune Quick-to-See Smith as a Collectors Club artist,” said Tamarind marketing and development specialist Shelly Smith. The Collectors Club is limited to only 95 members who pay a yearly subscription fee to access the featured print.
Corrales artist Quick-to-See Smith created this year’s print in a limited edition for the 95 club members. Coyote in Quarantine, 2020 (20-304) is a 26.5 inch by 20 inch nine-color lithograph.
Quick-to-See Smith is a New Mexico-based artist, educator, curator, and activist. She is a Salish member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation, and grew up in Montana.
Her long association with Tamarind, as one of the workshop's most frequent collaborators, started in 1979 when she was a graduate student in Visual Arts at The University of New Mexico. Tamarind has worked with this artist over a period of 40 years, and the workshop’s archive traces an arc of her career through printmaking.
Quick-to-See Smith collaborated with master printer Valpuri Remling and Frederick Hammersley apprentice printer Alyssa Ebinger on the project.
“This collaboration was extraordinary in its own way, given the severity of the public health crisis and the many obstacles experienced by communities everywhere,” Smith said.
"It is said that the Human Beings were created when Coyote turned on the light; or when Otter brought daubs of earth to the surface of the water to form the land; or when Turtle raised its back. That was the beginning of our time—of we, the Human Beings. These creation stories draw parallels to Adam and Eve in the garden and are just as powerful."
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
Quick-to-See Smith persevered with the project, together with the support of her son and collaborating artist Neal Ambrose-Smith. Tamarind’s team of printers, led by master printer Valpuri Remling, sorted out how to deliver the drawing materials as they were needed or imagined. Stone and plate deliveries were made to the doorstep of the artist’s Corrales studio, and ink color consultations happened in writing, over ZOOM, and through trial proofs. This extended collaboration over the summer months allowed more time for the image and the layers to resolve, and the final rendition of Coyote in Quarantine to emerge.
“Next year we are doing the Collectors Club differently, so stay tuned. We plan to announce the new membership model and perks in early November,” Smith said. She noted that although the Collectors Club print is for members only, many more lithographs are available from the Institute website, including from the IFPDA Fine Art Print Fair that is ongoing through Nov. 1.
“Tamarind’s full inventory is online under ‘Purchase Prints.’ We have some surprises in our inventory with prints ranging in price and spanning the last six decades,” Smith said.
To mark its diamond jubilee, Tamarind is offering an online exhibition through Feb. 28, 2021, called The View from Here: Tamarind at Sixty and Beyond.
"The View from Here: Tamarind at Sixty and Beyond is a curated selection of lithographs celebrating six decades of collaborative printmaking at Tamarind. Each month between September 2020 and February 2021, we are using our website as a portal for viewing highlights from each decade," said Tamarind Gallery director Nancy Zastudil. "In addition, we recently launched two new public programs: Tamarind Talks, an online program that provides opportunities to hear directly from artists who have printed at Tamarind, and Behind Closed Drawers, a virtual print viewing program that offers a closer look at selections from our deep inventory. We are happy to continue connecting with artists, collectors, the public, and our UNM community, even if remotely.”
She conducted a Tamarind Talks interview with Quick-to-See Smith in August to find out more about the artist and the creation of this year’s Collectors Club lithograph.
Tamarind director Diana Gaston emphasizes how resourceful the Institute’s printers have been during this period. The workshop was completely closed until June, and the printers used the time for research and planning.
“But as soon as we opened the workshop again the printers started engaging artists with remote collaborations. They sent materials for the artists to work from the safety of their home studios, and we were able to continue the collaborative exchange remotely by sending proofs back and forth. It's definitely not our preferred way of working, but it just demonstrates what problem-solvers the printers are,” Gaston said.
Tamarind Lithography Workshop, Inc. was founded in Los Angeles in 1960 as a means to “rescue” the dying art of lithography. It moved to Albuquerque and became affiliated with UNM in 1970. The building on historic Route 66 houses the nonprofit workshop, gallery, and, before the pandemic, programs and tours for the public. These days, the Tamarind website is a treasure trove of information about the lithographic process, the artists and students, and how and where to purchase the work they produce.
Lithography was invented in 1789 in Germany and requires multiple steps from the artist’s first image to signing and numbering the final print.