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“Selections from Collectors’ Graphics, 1959-1963,” an exhibition of lithographs curated by Easton resident Julia Damiano ’02, is on display through June 28 at the Williams Center for the Arts Gallery.

Damiano received a bachelor of arts degree with majors in art and history at Lafayette’s 167th commencement May 25.

The public is invited to view the exhibition free of charge during summer gallery hours, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays, or via appointment by calling the gallery at 610-330-5361.

The artists represented in the exhibition are Carmen Cicero, Marisol Escobar, Antonio Frasconi, Jane Freilicher, Robert Goodnough, John Heliker, Fannie Hillsmith, Wolf Kahn, Alex Katz, Lan-Bar, Mara McAfee, Richard Mayhew, Michael Mazur, Constantinio Nivola, Reginald Pollack, Fairfield Porter, Tobias Schneebaum, Burt Silverman, and Reuben Tam.

In 1998, Lafayette received a gift of 116 lithographs produced from 1959-1963 in collaboration between artist Reginald Pollack and Manhattan­based commercial printer Jules Sherman. Damiano interviewed Sherman and selected 26 prints to mat and frame.

“Before collaborating, seeking a way to make lithography more spontaneous, each man had experimented with an alternative method to producing lithographs, in an attempt to transcend the traditional method using several expensive stones, one for each color,” says Damiano.

Pollack felt that the workshops of the 1950s and early 1960s were focused too much on lithographic technology, as opposed to the actual art, Damiano explains. His interests in alternative methods brought him to Sherman. Plastic impregnated paper, used by commercial printers, replaced cumbersome lithography stones in their experiment. Sherman then printed the lithographs using a three-roller off-set press at his commercial print shop instead of a traditional flat-bed lithography press. This process was much less expensive, allowing for experimentation. Artists living and working on the east end of Long Island were invited to work with this medium.

“This was an interesting group of prints, because Sherman and Pollack developed faster and inexpensive processes to create lithographs,” says Michiko Okaya, director of the Williams Center art gallery. “Many of the artists who experimented with the technique are still working today. It is interesting to see what they were doing early in their careers, and to see these prints in the context of their mature style. It’s a great study collection.”

The experimental nature of the collection bears particular relevance in relation to Lafayette’s Experimental Printmaking Institute, directed by Curlee Holton, associate professor of art, adds Okaya.

Pollack’s brother, Lou Pollack, was the owner of the Peridot Gallery in Manhattan, where this collection of lithographs was exhibited as Collectors’ Graphics from Dec. 10, 1963, through Jan. 4, 1964, notes Damiano. This was the only time that these works were shown together as a unified collection.

“Sherman’s son, Michael, donated these lithographs to Lafayette primarily as a teaching tool, noting the importance of limitless experimentation and risk-taking represented in the collection,” says Damiano.

Damiano learned the art of curating this school year as an EXCEL Scholar with Okaya. In EXCEL, students assist faculty with research while earning a stipend.

“I worked on cataloging, installation, and deinstallation in the Williams Center gallery and completed a research project on the collection of lithographs,” says Damiano.

Damiano credits her mentor with offering her a variety of tasks to build her knowledge, including curating the inaugural exhibit of the Underground Gallery located in the Dean of Studies office suite. She also selected photographs for the second exhibition in the Underground Gallery, “Wish You Were Here!” and oversaw the enlargements, framing, and hanging, in addition to producing a brochure. The show consists of photographs taken by Lafayette students during study abroad experiences.

“Michiko has been an amazing teacher,” she says. “She has given me so many opportunities to learn about the role of a curator. I explored many different aspects of a gallery/museum operation with Michiko.”

Okaya describes her student as “very independent, very capable. She’s genuinely interested in her work.”

This work builds on an experience gleaned during an internship at the Artists Space in Soho, where Damiano became intrigued with the art world. Damiano says she loves “the excitement of the contemporary art scene and the creative environment.”

“I can’t imagine another place where I could work so closely with so many talented professionals,” she says. “That is something only a small school like Lafayette can offer.”

Damiano joined the Williams Center staff May 5 in the Forks of the Delaware Shad Tournament Doo-Dah Parade in downtown Easton. Williams Center technical director Richard Kendrick and costume designer Polly Kendrick created a “plaid shad” over 12 feet long that they marched in along with Okaya, Williams Center director Ellis Finger, and operations director Allison Blatt. Damiano and fellow students Katherine Rewinkel ’03 (Sunnyvale, Calif.), Zakia Dilday ’02 (Boston, Mass.), and Julie Castner ’04 (North Arlington, N.J.) carried lengths of greenish fabric alongside, waving it to simulate water. All of the Lafayette participants wore plaid pants or plaid flannel pajama bottoms.

Damiano’s art has been displayed in galleries of the Williams Center for the Arts and the David A. Portlock Black Cultural Center. For the past two years, Damiano has raised thousands of dollars for the Make-a-Wish Foundation through fund-raisers. She serves as co-chair of the Community Service Committee for the Association of Black Collegians, is a peer educator on stress management, and belongs to the student group QUestioning Established Sexual Taboos. Damiano spoke at the annual Lafayette Leadership Institute in February and was a cast member of the student production of The Vagina Monologues performed this spring.

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