Jim Steg: Polaroids
December 10, 2022 – January 8, 2023
Opening: Saturday, Dec 10, 6-9 pm
Jim Steg was an influential printmaker who lived, taught, and created ground-breaking work in New Orleans. Late in his career, he began working with Polaroids. We are honored to present these rarely seen, darkly fascinating images in celebration of Steg’s centennial year.
The Steg Polaroids were created in the late ‘80s and ‘90s. He took instant pictures with an SX-70, often from the television screen, then deftly altered them. The subjects include faces, figures, and ephemera, and the images frequently reference art history. As objects, they’re highly manipulated, both by surface pressure to affect the internal chemical development, and external processes including cutting, drawing, painting, and collage. The collection exudes a raw, punkish energy, while also expanding on themes that Steg explored throughout his career.
Co-curated by Russell Lord and Jennifer Shaw.
The gallery will be closed Dec 24 & 25.
To view by appointment, please text 504-344-8943.
Jim Steg (1922–2001) was an artist and educator. Considered the most influential printmaker to be based in New Orleans in the twentieth century, Steg made a substantial impact on the medium through his own work and his 43-year tenure as a professor of printmaking at Newcomb College. A restless innovator, Steg mastered nearly every known printmaking technique – including serigraphs, woodcuts, photoresist etchings, and ink toner drawings – and invented some of his own. His prints are in the permanent collections of more than sixty museums and institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian Institution.
James Louis Steg was born in Alexandria, Virginia, and raised on a farm in Upstate, New York. At the outbreak of WWII he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served within the top-secret Ghost Army unit. After the war, Jim attended the University of Iowa to study printmaking with Mauricio Lasansky. In 1951 he was hired to teach at Tulane University’s Newcomb College, a position he held until his retirement in 1992.
Steg’s archive is maintained by his widow, Frances Swigart. The collection features over 1,000 works and includes collagraphs, serigraphs, woodcuts, aquatints, ink toner drawings, photoresist etchings, drawings, paintings, and sculptures.