The Knoxville Museum of Art Announces Contemporary Print Exhibition

January 12, 2018

The Knoxville Museum of Art presents Press Ahead: Contemporary Prints Gifted by Helen and Russell Novak (February 2-April 15, 2018), the first showing of the largest group of prints ever donated to the KMA.  The exhibition features 38 works by great 20th and 21st century artists from around the world including Roger Brown, John Buck, Christo, Lesley Dill, Jim Dine, Helen Frankenthaler, Red Grooms, Sol LeWitt, Barbara Takenaga, William T. Wiley, Brad Brown, Enrique Chagoya, Tom Huck, Jiha Moon, and Hans Schabus. Some of the artists represented are leading printmakers while others work primarily in other media, but became interested in collaborating with master printers in order to realize their ideas in print-based formats. The KMA’s selection includes great examples of each artist’s work, prints produced in small editions, and those representing a broad range of printmaking techniques and formats (including sculptural and book-format prints).

In 2015, Chicago collectors Helen and Russell Novak made the largest gift of prints in the museum’s history. The Novak’s collection includes thousands of contemporary prints acquired over a period of more than 30 years. The Novaks became interested in the KMA thanks to Helen’s childhood friend, Knoxville educator Marilyn Liberman. The Novaks’ desire to place works at the KMA was sparked by the strength of the museum’s existing contemporary art collection, the museum’s long association with printmaking, and the local presence of the University of Tennessee’s School of Art’s top-ranked printmaking program. Press Ahead celebrates the Novak’s generosity, and enables KMA visitors to explore contemporary printmaking and the exciting range of expressive possibilities and technical approaches it encompasses. A complete listing of the Novak’s gift can be found at

An opening reception will take place Thursday, February 1 from 5:30-7:30pm. The reception is free and open to the public. Sponsors for Press Ahead: Contemporary Prints Gifted by Helen and Russell Novak include Texas Instruments and an Anonymous donor.  Media sponsors include Big Wheel, Kurt Zinser Graphic Design, and WBIR.

(detail) Barbara Takenaga (North Platte, Nebraska 1949; lives and works in New York), The Night Visitor, 2002. Color lithograph, 1/2 patron impressions (edition of 25), 24 x 20 inches. Knoxville Museum of Art, gift of Helen and Russell Novak in honor of their children, Janet Novak Goldberg of blessed memory and James Alan Novak

About the Knoxville Museum of Art
The Knoxville Museum of Art (KMA) celebrates the art and artists of East Tennessee, presents new art and new ideas, serves and educates diverse audiences, and enhances Knoxville’s quality of life. The museum is located in downtown Knoxville at 1050 World’s Fair Park and is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 10am–5pm, and Sunday 1pm-5pm. Admission and parking are free. For more information, contact Angela Thomas at 865.934.2034 or visit