MULTIPLES, INC. 1965-1992
Marian Goodman Gallery is very pleased to present the first historical exhibition of Multiples, Inc., the art publishing company founded by Marian Goodman and a few partners in the 1960s. The show, curated by Dieter Schwarz, is open through Saturday, February 27, 2021 and will be accompanied by a complete catalogue of the editions.
During its existence, Multiples, Inc. published seminal editions with some of the most important artists of the 20th century over a period of almost three decades between 1966 and 1992. The exhibition at the Marian Goodman Gallery New York gathers for the first time a selection of over 150 editions published by Multiples, Inc. in collaboration with over 70 artists. On view will be works in a broad variety of media ranging from objects, works on Plexiglas, jewelry, and furniture pieces to an extensive selection of prints, portfolios and artist books.
An extensively illustrated catalogue has been published on the occasion of the exhibition with a new essay by Dieter Schwarz, and original texts by Harold Rosenberg and Samuel J. Wagstaff Jr. The catalogue includes a historically complete list of all the Multiples, Inc. editions, as well as many documents illustrating its wide-spanned history.
Multiples Gallery Opens, 1965
Multiples, Inc. was founded in 1965 in New York by a group of five partners, some of which had already been producing editioned banners with contemporary artists as part of the Betsy Ross Flag and Banner Company. Multiples, Inc. opened its first gallery on Madison Avenue (close to 74th Street), where it exhibited its own editions as well as those of various other U.S. and European publishers.
In 1966, Multiples, Inc. published its first portfolio, Four on Plexiglas, with works by Philip Guston, Barnett Newman, Claes Oldenburg, and Larry Rivers. Oldenburg used his oversize Tea Bag to create a relief: this was the first work to exploit vacuum-formed Plexiglas, which both replicated a tea bag and splashes of tea and provided a plastic cover. The four multiples—wall objects rather than pictures as such—were accompanied by a text, “Using a New Medium” by Harold Rosenberg.
The 1960s were the high times of multiples; artworks were not conceived as single objects but as objects to be published in several examples, often using new materials and contemporary manufacturing techniques. Producing artworks in editions allowed a democracy of distribution, permitting them to be offered at lower prices, in turn making current developments in the art world available to a larger audience.
While in its initial phase, from the mid-sixties to the early seventies, Multiples, Inc. placed a strong emphasis on publishing three-dimensional works by artists such as Arman, Richard Artschwager, Marisol, and Man Ray. Multiples, Inc. also produced the first multiples of Sol LeWitt, Fred Sandback, and Robert Smithson. Marian Goodman played the main role in artist relations, and during this era, the publishing company also enthusiastically supported emerging Pop artists Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol, amongst others.
In 1969, the Multiples Gallery clarified its definition of the term “multiples”: “We think of multiple as being any work of art done in an edition, whether it be limited or unlimited, signed or unsigned... It’s just that for some reason the word ‘multiple’ has become associated with three-dimensional works of art.”
— “Notes toward the Definition of a Multiple,” Pat Gilmour, Art and Artists, vol. 4, no. 3 (June 1969)
Artists & Photographs, 1970
“The publication I most enjoyed working on was Artists & Photographs, started in 1969 and published in 1970. It was an attempt, maybe one of the first, to show some of the changes in photography set into motion by artists from Warhol and Rauschenberg—through to artists like R. Smithson, D. Graham, R. Long, S. LeWitt, J. Kosuth, and J. Dibbets, to name a few.”
- Marian Goodman in conversation with Jean-François Chevrier, Galeries Magazine, no. 46 (December 1991–January 1992)
The exhibition “Artists & Photographs” opened in the gallery in late March 1970. The importance of the exhibition and publication by Multiples, Inc. was not that it provided a systematic overview; it was notable, above all, for the unusual selection of artists, the individuality of their work—booklets, prints, collections of loose sheets—and their very different approaches to photography. Published in an edition of 1200 copies, the box—which was initially a commercial setback—is now considered an artistic landmark.
In spring 1973 the Multiples Gallery presented an exhibition of editions produced by the gallerist René Block, who suggested to Goodman that they should jointly issue a multiple by Joseph Beuys. Consequently, Beuys’s Das Schweigen (1973)—a galvanized stack of film reels—and Mirror Piece (1975), were the first editions by Beuys to be offered for sale on the American art market.
Prints and portfolios
While many publishers emerged in the U.S. and in Europe in the 1960s, not all of these organizations remained active into the future, whereas Multiples, Inc. survived the initial impetus of the new medium and went on to increasingly produce prints in the 1970s and 1980s. The art publishing company edited a number of more classical print portfolios, featuring some of the period’s greatest printmakers.
Multiples, Inc. published numerous editions in collaboration with Castelli Graphics, such as the Horse Blinders series in 1972 by James Rosenquist, and Robert Rauschenberg’s Star Quarters, an edition commissioned by Fortune magazine focusing on what the artist himself described as “a subject foreign to no one: the sky.” Shortly after, they jointly published Warhol’s Mao portfolio with ten screenprints.
Marian Goodman Gallery Opens, 1977
Besides commissioning works from U.S. artists, Multiples, Inc. also worked with European artists including Joseph Beuys, Marcel Broodthaers, Jan Dibbets, and Richard Hamilton.
For a brief time in the early 1970s, Multiples, Inc. maintained a branch in Los Angeles. In 1974, Marian Goodman assumed sole ownership over the company, and in 1977 she also opened Marian Goodman Gallery.
“Marian Goodman’s aim in running Multiples, Inc. and her gallery, was to put together “a classical program of artists I felt would go on, that have been around, and would continue to be around. They represent the main—not only force, but substance. Certain artists have a depth and a breadth. They’re made by their times, but they’re also leaders into it. They’re guides, and they’re able to break new ground. It’s hard to put into words. They see things in a new way. They add something to art history—and to life.”
- Marian Goodman in “Dealing Contemporary Art on 57th Street,” by Robert Becker, Art & Auction, vol. 6, no. 9 (March 1984)
Even with the inauguration of the new gallery on 57th Street, the publication of editions under the Multiples, Inc. imprint continued with artists Dan Flavin, Richard Tuttle and Tom Wesselmann, among others. Marian Goodman further published extensive portfolios of works by Sol LeWitt and a suite of prints and multi-part wall objects by John Baldessari, a newcomer at the gallery.
In 1992, Richard Artschwager and Lawrence Weiner—both of whom had a keen interest in multiplied art—signed the last editions that were released by Multiples, Inc.; thus, involuntarily and with no hint of pathos, they drew the final chapter in the history of Multiples, Inc. to a close.
The Multiples, Inc. exhibition stands as a historical survey of the pioneering art publishing company, which in turn established the intellectual and artistic trajectory of what has become the Marian Goodman Gallery. During its existence, over 80 objects and over 800 prints were published in collaboration with more than 90 artists.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Dieter Schwarz (b. 1953, Switzerland) is a curator, author and consultant for modern and contemporary art, based in Zürich. He studied German and French literature, and Linguistics and Comparatistics. From 1983 to 1985, Schwarz conducted research in Paris on a scholarship from the Swiss National Science Foundation, leading to a publication on Stéphane Mallarmé. In 1985, he became Curator at Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, and served as Director from 1990 until 2017.
As a curator, Schwarz has organized numerous exhibitions and publications on art, from early Modernism to the present day, and with a particular emphasis on recent American, Italian and German art. He has published essays on numerous artists such as Giovanni Anselmo, Richard Artschwager, Forrest Bess, Matt Mullican, Luciano Fabro, Mario Merz, Jannis Kounellis, Giulio Paolini, Giuseppe Penone, Gerhard Richter, Fred Sandback, Thomas Schütte, Joel Shapiro, Richard Tuttle and Lawrence Weiner. His most recent book is a monograph on Sol LeWitt’s Folds & Rips.
Artists in the Exhibition
Bernd and Hilla Becher
Billy Al Bengston
Ger Van Elk