Hammer Museum, LACMA jointly acquire print archive of Edition Jacob Samuel


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The print archive of Santa Monica-based publisher Jacob Samuel is about to get a new home -- or rather, two new homes.

The Hammer Museum‘s Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art said Tuesday that they have jointly acquired the complete archive of prints by Edition Jacob Samuel. The museums said that they have been collaborating for more than two years on the acquisition and that the archive consists of more than 43 portfolios and 800 prints.


Each portfolio contains six to 36 prints by a specific artist. Among the artists whose work is represented are Ed Moses, Chris Burden, Ed Ruscha, Marina Abramovic and Wangechi Mutu.

Starting May 23, the Hammer will host ‘Outside the Box: Edition Jacob Samuel, 1988-2010,’ an in-depth exhibition featuring works from the archive.

The museums said all objects in the archive will be jointly owned and housed at the Hammer and LACMA, and that the two institutions have agreed to acquire additional publications through 2013.

Throughout his career, Samuel has partnered with international artists to create individual series, or portfolios, of print works. His role is to serve as a technical engineer to help them realize their creative visions.

Samuel said Monday that his style of collaboration offers artists opportunities of working that they haven’t had before. ‘It allows them to work at a different tangent from what is considered their signature style,’ he said.

Samuel said that the Grunwald Center first expressed interest in acquiring the archive nearly five years ago. LACMA also communicated an interest in the archive, resulting in a collaboration with the Hammer.


‘It took a while for the legalities to be worked out,’ Samuel said when asked about the two museums working together.

Annie Philbin, the director of the Hammer, said ‘acquisitions are challenging financially, and so a collaboration like this is beautiful.’ She added that a non-local art institution likely would have purchased the archive if the museums hadn’t acted.

Neither the Hammer nor Samuel would disclose the acquisition price.

The acquisition includes one copy of all Edition Jacob Samuel portfolios as well as selected Litho Shop and Lapis publications. It will also include working proofs and trial proofs from a number of projects.

Other artists whose works are included in the collection are John Baldessari, Mona Hatoum, Rebecca Horn, Anish Kapoor, Barry McGee, Matthew Monahan, Gabriel Orozco, Nancy Rubins, Robert Therrien, James Welling, Christopher Wool and Andrea Zittel.

-- David Ng

Photo (top): an etching by Barry McGee that is part of the Edition Jacob Samuel archive. Credit: Hammer Museum

Photo (bottom): Jacob Samuel. Credit: Hammer Museum