Misch Kohn

MISCH KOHN: BEYOND THE TRADITION

Hernandez curated the  first major retrospective of work by Misch Kohn, one of the most significant master printmakers of the modern era in 1997. Hailed as a pioneer for “breaking the shackles of conventionality,” Kohn has been lauded for reinvigorating the field of printmaking in postwar America.

Born in 1916 in the small town of Kokomo, Indiana, Kohn began his professional life on the federally-funded Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.). After a year in Mexico, where he met and worked with such local luminaries as José Clemente Orozco and Diego Rivera, he moved to Chicago and went on to international acclaim as a result of the continuing technical breakthroughs he achieved with each printmaking medium he investigated. Pushing the limits of each medium to make it conform to his conceptual explorations, over the years he has moved from black-and-white interpretations of social and political issues to “all-media” celebrations of color, form, and light. Organizer and director of the Graphic Workshop at Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s “New Bauhaus” Institute of Design in Chicago for twenty-two years, Kohn–who now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area–continues to be honored with numerous awards and international exhibitions.

Misch Kohn: Beyond the Tradition chronicles sixty years of Kohn’s prints, a remarkable life’s work by one of America’s most respected artists. The exhibition was accompanied by a book of the same title written by Jo Farb Hernandez, which includes a full catalogue raisonné of the prints as well as an exhibition history, chronology, list of works in public collections, prize list, and bibliography.

This exhibition was organized by the Monterey Museum of Art in Monterey, California, and toured the United States for two years. This retrospective exhibition project was made possible by generous grants from The Cherry Family Foundation, the Richard Florsheim Art Fund, the Waletzky Charitable Trust, and an anonymous donor. Subsequent partial showings were presented at the Montalvo Arts Center (Los Gatos, CA), San Jose State University, the Wiegand Gallery at Notre Dame de Namur University (Belmont, CA), Kala Art Institute (Berkeley, CA), and the City of Hayward, CA.

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