Guggenheim’s Donald Saff to explore art’s collaborative process in Vanderbilt address

November 14, 2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Donald Saff, director of Saff Tech Arts and senior curator of prints and drawings at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, will explore the collaborative process through which art is created on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at Vanderbilt.
Titled “The art of collaboration and the ART of collaboration,” Saff’s lecture begins at 6 p.m. in Room 114 of Furman Hall on the Vanderbilt campus. The event is free and open to the public. A reception precedes the lecture at 5 p.m. in the University Faculty Reading Room located in the Divinity School.

Saff’s lecture will explore the idea that art is facilitated not only by the artist’s creative genius, but also vitally depends on the honed craftsmanship of the artisan to make that genius physically possible. From providing charcoal for drawings to computer chips for digitally generated art, artists depend on the collaborative process of a community of people to transform a flash of inspiration into a finished work.

This collaborative approach to making art was particularly popular in the last half of the 20th century and was typified by the “editions workshops” that proliferated in the United States. Saff’s discussion will review the early history and importance of printmaking in the 1950s with particular emphasis paid to the work produced at the University of South Florida’s Graphicstudio by Jim Dine, Nancy Graves, James Rosenquist, Robert Rauschenberg and Roy Lichtenstein, among others.

Since Saff first brought Philip Pearlstein to Graphicstudio in 1969, other world-renowned artists have made the trek to USF’s Tampa campus. Over the years, art-world stars have collaborated with faculty and students to create limited-edition series of lithographs, screen prints, woodcuts, photography and sculpture.

Graphicstudio’s benefit for the university, as Saff originally envisioned it, was that the operation would expose the USF community to the finest artistic minds of an era. Since its inception, Graphicstudio’s fame in art circles has spread, aided by shows at the Brooklyn Art Museum and the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., which acquired Graphicstudio’s output for its own collection.

Saff also founded Saff Tech Arts in Tampa, but moved the operation to the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 1991. Saff Tech Arts’ aim was to investigate ways technology could be expanded for art production that was both non-traditional and artist-appropriate. Though it ceased publishing artworks in 1998, a small staff at Saff Tech Arts continues to manage its existing inventory and assist both Robert Rauschenberg and James Rosenquist in daily operations.

A distinguished expert in the field of printmaking, Saff is a past recipient of the Fulbright grant and author of Printmaking: History and Process, a definitive text on the subject. In September, Saff was named senior curator of prints and drawings at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Saff’s appearance is sponsored by the Chancellor’s Lecture Series at Vanderbilt. The Chancellor’s Lecture Series is designed to advance and integrate classroom learning at Vanderbilt with broader social issues and concerns and to connect the Vanderbilt and Nashville communities. For more information, call 322-4959, or email

Contact: Kara Furlong,

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