Most people, when they think of Lincoln Center, think of the performing arts: theater, opera, dance, music. But the iconic New York arts center also has a strong visual art program — one that’s actually been commissioning and producing prints from such artists as Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Sol Lewitt, Helen Frankenthaler, Frank Stella, Glenn Ligon, and Chuck Close for the past fifty years.
The Lincoln Center Vera List Art Project was founded by philanthropist and arts patron Vera List, who became involved with Lincoln Center early on. List believed in the power of art and the importance of its accessibility to the general public, so she started the Art Project, which commissions contemporary artists to create posters and limited-edition prints for Lincoln Center.
In 1962, List jumped right in with the contemporary artists of her time, and that tradition continues today. Donald Baechler and Barbara Kruger recently created prints for the project’s 50th anniversary this year, and the program will ring in 2013 with a new work by artist Matthew Brannon.
Brannon’s piece, “Immature, Artist,” is simply clever, playing images and words off each other, as per the artist’s usual style. The large print (35 x 47 inches) depicts blocks and wheels and wedges of cheese arranged in a floating tableaux. Of the connection between cheese and Lincoln Center, Brannon explains that both remind him of when he first moved to New York: he was broke at the time, so him and his friends would hang out outside of Lincoln Center; he also attended a lot of art world events, where cheese was always served. “You could say the print is of artisanal cheeses — aspirational cheeses,” he says.
Underneath the aspirational cheeses — which may also symbolize aspiring artists — Brannon added a punch line: “Immature, Artist.” The joke acknowledges that both artists and cheese get better with age, but also underscores the need for artists to remind open-minded and engaged with the world.
Brannon’s screen print comes in an edition of 9 and is available for $4,000 at Art.LincolnCenter.org. Proceeds from the sale of the work will go toward supporting Lincoln Center’s innovative cultural programming.