LWA 10.17 by Kennedy Prints for 20x200
Hi, it’s Jen. How are you? Or, as my free-clinic Freudian shrink back in college days used to say with a thick German accent (for real!), “How are you?” Not so good, maybe? I sure can’t blame you if you’re feeling blue, or anxious or angry, or all of the above. We’re all pretty worn down by the seemingly endless stream of bad news. As I said last night on Twitter, it’s sure hard to write about art in the midst of so much hardship, loss, and tragedy, but I also truly believe that art is more essential than ever in these times. So I here I am, to talk about today’s very special, super affordable edition and the incredible guy that made it for us in honor of our tenth anniversary.
“Live with art—it’s good for you.” has been my personal rallying cry since the doors of my gallery opened on Spring St in NYC back in 2003—in fact, it was emblazoned ON our door!—and it’s been a pillar of 20x200’s mission from day one. It’s previously been immortalized in letterpress prints created especially for us by Mikey Burton and Kelli Anderson, and it’s the bold statement that has made our tote bags so beloved. Creating a new version in honor of our anniversary was a no-brainer. And even better still—Amos Kennedy, a living embodiment of our own Art for Everyone ethos, is the man who lovingly produced this new iteration in his Detroit studio.
I met Amos a few months back at his opening at Mule Gallery, where I snatched up an armful of his beautiful, inspiring and incredibly affordable prints and was lucky enough to chat with the man himself. I’m pretty sure that he barely remembers meeting me in the blur of the evening, but that show and our brief conversation during the reception reinvigorated my passion for what we do at 20x200 and why we do it.
LWA 10.17 by Kennedy Prints for 20x200
If you’ve read any interviews with Amos or seen the aptly titled Proceed and Be Bold, the feature-length documentary about his life and work, you’ll know that his oft-proclaimed humility is laced with subversion and that his unlikely path to becoming a printer is the stuff of legend. His approach to printing challenges assumptions about race, work, what art is and who it's for.
Amos resolutely refers to himself as “a humble Negro printer” a short, intentionally discomfiting phrase that’s rife with meaning. He considers himself a messy maker of things, embracing the mistakes borne of that messiness and rejecting the moniker of artist. And yes, he intends to make you squirm a bit when he refers to himself as a “Negro” because as he puts it in this great interview with fellow printmaker Jen Hewett, “There is a profound difference between ‘negro’ and africanamerican. My ancestors were the enslaved peoples whose labor built the wealth of this civilization.”
Amos embraced the task of producing our anniversary edition with an appropriate mix of seriousness, playfulness and provocation. He kindly sent us a snap via email of the first print’s first pass through the press, with the subject line “The madness begins.” and while I was captivated by what I saw (of course!) I was also nervous that I hadn’t described what we needed clearly enough. When I emailed him to clarify, he was quick to poke fun at my neuroses and quell any doubts, forcing me to sit back and trust the process.
When all two hundred prints were delivered to 20x200 just a few days later, I literally cried with joy at how beautiful they are. That might seem kinda weird, but if you’re lucky enough to snag one, you’ll see what I mean. Each of the two hundred prints is unique; Amos ran each one through the press seven times, layering in the phrase “art for everyone” and nine instances of our name before positioning a final tenth 20x200 front and center on each one’s last pass. The prints are also outsized (like Amos’s personality!) measuring a whopping 12” x 19” inches, and we’re able to offer them at the throwback price of $20 each thanks to his generosity and abiding commitment to the idea that art is indeed for everyone.
With all of the above in mind, these are likely to fly out the door, so don’t delay on placing your order, and do so with a few small caveats in mind:
- Each print is unique. We’re not able to accommodate requests for specific colorways, but don’t worry, every single one is beautiful!
- There’s a limit of one print per customer +/or address. It’s only fair.
- These prints are not eligible for any discounts, nor can they be returned or exchanged.
With art for everyone,