SCHMALTZ AND SASS Detail from a poster by Kennedy Jr.
Over the past couple decades, a great deal of art energy in Providence has been generated by local printmaking — from the RISD printshops to Shepard Fairey to Fort Thunder to the Dirt Palace. These days, the central power plant is AS220's Community Printshop. This month they're raising money for continued operations via the annual "Print Lottery." For a $100 ticket, you get a randomly-selected work drawn on September 29 from the preview exhibit of "200 artists from around the world" at AS220's Main Gallery (115 Empire Street, Providence). The lottery includes political broadsides, delicate beauty, and world-famous street artist Swoon, who contributes a mediocre screenprint of an old guy. But the most of the wildcat electricity comes from lesser-known folks.

Chris Fritton's concert poster for Deerhoof at first looks like a dazzling computer-designed pattern of Wingdings characters, but — wow — it's actually a hand-done arrangement of letterpress decorative borders. Lara Henderson's monotype and lithograph is a dance of jellyfish in lush reds and gold. Alex Lukas's lithograph, printed by Amanda D'Amico, depicts a city overgrown by post-apocalypse vines and moss. Recent AS220 visiting artist Dennis McNett contributes silkscreens of snarling wolves.

Amos Paul Kennedy Jr., who will give a workshop here on September 27 and speak on September 28, is one of the underground heroes of the letterpress revival. His prints are a mix of old carnival posters, wise poetry, homespun schmaltz, and sass: "Life/You're not gonna get rich/So you might as well get happy"; "Love/Queer/Love"; "Accept/And/Be"; "We've upped our/standards so/Up/Yours."

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