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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Preciousness of the Print

I wrote about this at some length a couple years ago. Obviously, those words remain, um, as wise and apropos as ever. That's the piece where Ctein got some small creases in some prints in shipping, and successfully turned the "ruined" prints in to money in the form of insurance.

I choose to resurrect this piece now, because Mike over at ToP has a piece of his own up in which he does a print crit which begins with him noting a crease in the print. He declares, and I quote, "Ruined."

He then proceeds to use the print successfully and completely in the way it was intended to be used. He looks at it, he talks about it, he shows it to us, and he files it. This print was consigned to this fate, it was sent on this mission. Its fate was fully realized, its mission successfully executed. Manifestly the print was not ruined, it was in fact completely unharmed for all practical purposes. Like a dump truck with a tragically dented fender, it delivered its load.

Yes, I get that the print may no longer meet the artist's high standards (although who is Mike to declare that, not being the artist?) and might be considered in those terms to be "ruined." I do not find that argument particularly convincing, as it seems a bit arbitrary and twee.


  1. In that case, I took "ruined" to mean that if you put it up on a wall, that crease would show and be a distraction. It would drive me nuts. That is, as an object to be used in that way, it was ruined, although the degree of ruination is subjective. Maybe I'm being too literal. But you're correct when you point out that the crease did not prevent discussion about the image.

    1. You just gotta put a balancing crease along the top edge of the print!

    2. Crease symmetry! A new branch of Group Theory?

  2. It's like baseball cards and comic books, innit?