Fair  October 22, 2019  Jeremy Howell

Discussing the Fine Art Print Fair with its New Executive Director


Beatriz Milhazes, Dovetail, 2019, Woodblock technique, Durham Press. 

This year, the International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA) named Jenny Gibbs its new Executive Director. Previously, Gibbs was the Director of the MA in Art Business program at Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Chief among her new duties is running the IFDPA's annual Fine Art Print Fair. We spoke to Jenny Gibbs about her role at IFPDA, the state of fine art prints, and what visitors to the upcoming Fine Art Print Fair can expect.

Jeremy Howell: You were recently named the executive director for IFPDA and the Fine Art Print Fair. What drew you to become involved with IFPDA?

Jenny Gibbs: This is an incredible opportunity to work with 160 galleries in 13 countries, an international art fair, and a grant-making foundation. Also, the chance to work with our Board President, legendary old master prints and drawings dealer David Tunick!


Jenny Gibbs

JH: How has your time as the Director of the MA in Art Business program at Sotheby’s Institute of Art prepared you for your new role? What do you hope to contribute to the IFPDA and its fair?

JG: My time with Sotheby’s Institute of Art gave me a front-row view into current market trends and took me to art fairs around the world. My experience as a museum director and curator helped us develop the kinds of public programs and exhibitions which make the IFPDA Fine Art Print Fair an experience and event not to be missed.

JH: Why do you believe the art fair as an institution is still vital in a world where art is increasingly sold online?

JG: Your relationship with your art will develop IRL, as the kids say. OkCupid and Tinder might help you get the conversation started, but you need to show up to see if there is chemistry. Art fairs are like speed-dating for art collectors—amazing, exciting opportunities to be in the same room with all the things you love.


Julie Cockburn, Nirvana 2, 2018, paper, full margins, Edition: Unique, Flowers Gallery.

JH: This year, the Fine Art Print Fair will present a conversation between Jeff Koons and Christophe Cherix, the Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings and Prints at MoMA. What other events can fair visitors look forward to?

JG: We are so excited to present the conversation between Jeff Koons and Christophe Cherix of MoMA. The conversation originated with an idea for a panel of curators to address the question, “What is an original print in the 21st century?” We thought it would be really interesting to pose that question to an artist who has fully adopted 21st century technologies—and continued old master studio practices—to bring the artists intention into the conversation and, perhaps, expand the definition.

We are also pleased to present conversations between Mel Bochner, Matthew Day Jackon and Jordan Schintzer; between Jim Dine and two master printers; and between Swoon and curator, Nadine Orenstein. With all our programming we tried to foreground the role of the artist in printmaking.

JH: Are there any first time exhibitors that you are particularly excited about?

JG: I am really excited to see the work first-time exhibitors, Cirrus Galler / Cirrus Editions are bringing to the fair. They are a West Coast gallery and publisher with fresh work from Mark Bradford, Math Bass, Judy Chicago, and Fred Eversley.

JH: Prints are often the first art objects individuals collect due to their relative affordability. What other advantages do prints offer emerging collectors?

JG: Studying and collecting prints are a wonderful way to see inside an artist’s thought process and studio practice. You can see how work develops in stages and the hierarchy of their creative thought process.


Scene from the 2018 Fine Art Print Fair.

JH: What advice would you give a first-time visitor to the IFPDA fair who is interested in collecting prints?

JG: Talk to the exhibitors! If you pooled all the years of experience amongst our members and exhibitors, it would be in the tens of thousands. So much expertise in one room! I would also encourage slow looking. The quality of the paper, the depth of the impression, the quality of the lines, the layering of ink—it’s all part of the process.

JH: Is there anything else about the Fine Art Print Fair’s 2019 edition that you would like our readers to know?

JG: We hope that visitors leave with a happy understanding of how printmaking is part of an artist’s practice and with how prints are made and collected. It is a wonderful international community of artists, printmakers, publishers, scholars, and galleries.

About the Author

Jeremy Howell

Jeremy Howell is the Co-Creator and Editor-In-Chief of Art & Object.

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