Where Am I? Prints 1985–2022
The National Museum, Oslo, Norway
Curated by Wenche Volle and Geir Haraldseth
The National Museum is pleased to present Where Am I? Prints 1985–2022, an exhibition of work by the American artist Carroll Dunham. This is the first museum exhibition of the artist's prints in the Nordic region.
Dunham’s prints show considerable range in their expressivity, motifs, and themes. Inspired by his surroundings, personal experience, art history, and pop culture, he directs his gaze at subjects large and small—everything from science fiction and the infinity of the universe to the physical body and the representation of leaves on a tree.
Since the mid-1980s, Dunham has been exploring a range of techniques including lithography, etching, linocut, woodcut, and silkscreen printing. The artist has worked with several of the most renowned print workshops in the US.
The National Museum recently received a significant gift from the artist, consisting of no less than 161 impressions dating from the 1980s to the present. A selection of these are shown in the exhibition.
Dunham often works in series and has a fondness for print portfolios that gather individual prints together into an inclusive whole. The exhibition shows print portfolios from the mid-1980s through to the present, allowing the viewer to trace the artist’s development from abstraction to the figures that make their first appearance in the early 1990s.
Dunham is especially known for his series Bathers, Wrestlers, and Trees, with pictures rooted in art history, pop culture, and the artist’s personal life.
Red Shift (1987–88) is Dunham’s first print portfolio. Containing five lithographs, it was printed by the renowned print workshop Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE). In its idiom, the series echoes his very first lithograph, but in Red Shift Dunham also embarks on an intense exploration of color. No less than 18 lithographic stones and 22 aluminium plates were used to create the series.
It is in the print portfolio Places and Things (1991–1992) that we find the first suggestions of figures. The series uses a simple linear form that is oriented sometimes upwards, sometimes down. Cavities reminiscent of eyes or a mouth add life to the figure—a simplistic cartoon character, or perhaps a monster? The black contours carry references both to comics and to art history—to Walt Disney as well as Matisse and Picasso.
In the late 2000s, the female bather enters Dunham’s work, a theme with a long tradition in the history of art. In the series Where Am I?, a bathing woman is observed by a sunbathing man. The tropical landscape includes elements of blue sea, the sun, and colorful flowers.
February 2, 6–9pm
The National Museum is pleased to invite you to the opening of the exhibition Carroll Dunham: Where Am I? Prints 1985–2022. The event will include a welcoming address by the National Museum’s Director of Exhibitions and Collections, Stina Høgkvist, a speech by Carroll Dunham, and an official opening by H.M. Queen Sonja.
February 4, 2pm
Artist Talk with Carroll Dunham
How does Carroll Dunham work with series and print sets, and how did his career as a printmaker begin? In this conversation, the artist will discuss his role models from art history and how life as an artist in New York has changed since the 1980s. The conversation will be led by the curators of the exhibition, Wenche Volle and Geir Haraldseth, and will be held in English.
February 5, 2pm
February 8, 5:30pm
Join the curators of Where Am I? Prints 1985–2022 for a tour of the exhibition, conducted in Norwegian. This event is free with a general admission ticket to the museum, and no registration is required. Tour tickets are issued on a first-come, first-served basis.
March 15, 6pm
The American Impact
Join us as we examine the American artist Carroll Dunham's prints in light of the renewed interest in the print medium in the United States, from the 1960s until today. This lecture is led by art historian and curator at the National Museum, Øystein Ustvedt, about the major wave of printmaking in the United States from Jasper Johns and Helen Frankenthaler to Carroll Dunham and Tauba Auerbach.