Times Art Writer

The County Museum of Art has acquired the archive of Cirrus Editions, a highly regarded Los Angeles publisher of graphic works.

The archive of prints and related materials is in part a gift of Cirrus Editions, supplemented by funds from the museum's Graphic Arts Council and the Director's Round Table (a group that raises funds for projects at the discretion of director Earl A. Powell).

The cache of about 800 artworks consists of 400 lithographs, screenprints, etchings, woodcuts and mixed-media prints, and about an equal number of proofs in various stages of completion. The archive also includes a group of woodblocks and metal printing plates used to produce the prints.

Every edition printed at Cirrus during its 15-year history is represented in the archive, which will be updated with the addition of one signed copy of each print produced in the next five years.

Cirrus Editions--located with Cirrus Gallery in an industrial area of downtown Los Angeles-- was founded in 1970 by Jean Milant. Concentrating on works by Southern California artists, the workshop has also produced prints by such New York artists as Jedd Garet and Robert Cumming.

Among works in the archive are Peter Alexander's hand-painted and glitter-strewn lithographs of explosive skies; crisp, colorful screenprints by Edward Ruscha and Kenneth Price and lithographic abstractions by Charles Christopher Hill and Craig Kauffman. Cirrus' prestigious roster of published artists also lists Vija Celmins, Ed Moses, Joe Goode and Bruce Nauman.

The new acquisition greatly enlarges the museum's holdings of contemporary graphic arts and enhances its position as a center for the study of prints produced in Los Angeles. The Cirrus archive joins the museum's collection of more than 2,000 prints produced from 1960 to 1970 at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop (founded by June Wayne). A group of about 450 prints produced at Gemini G.E.L. also resides at the museum on a long-term loan from the Dorothy J. and Benjamin B. Smith collection.

A daylong "Contemporary Print Symposium" on May 17 will celebrate the museum's growing graphic arts collection. Artist David Hockney will deliver the keynote address. Three panels of dealers and publishers will discuss "Contemporary Print Publishing," "Status of the Contemporary Print Gallery" and "Collaboration Between Artist and Printer."

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