Next Job for Bob … at the MET?
Last week, I had the pleasure of going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. There was a special showing of Gustave Courbet. For those of us who didn’t know, including me, he was known as an innovator in Realism and is actually credited with coining the term. His work was extraordinary and I truly enjoyed the show. That is, until the end where the museum sells you prints and books of the show. What a travesty that was. It was, by and large, the worst display of inferior printing I have seen in many a year. I know better than most the limitations of the printing process. I fully understand the theory of “color compression.” That would be the reality of reducing all the colors of a painter’s pallet to reproducible colors using only Magenta, Cyan, Yellow and Black.
All that being said, the reproduction at the MET was unacceptable by any standard. Magazine production personnel would be dumbfounded by the inferior display of printing “talent.”
We all know that good printing is limited by several factors. One is a good original. OK, I must say that the original here is perfect. Second would be the photograph taken for reproduction purposes. This I have not seen, so I can’t comment on its excellence, but I would hope the Museum curators know how to hire a competent photographer. And then comes the actual separation and capture of millions of colors and gradations to an acceptable, printable product. Somewhere in this process the quality ball was dropped. The highlights and middle tones were all dead wrong. This was a project that any of my past apprentices and production journeymen would have completed with far better results than this pathetic performance.
The museum charges 10 times more for its work than magazines charge for theirs, and I guarantee that most magazines at a higher quality despite inferior paper stock and grueling time constraints.
I hereby publicly offer my assistance to the MET to help bring the art of realism to the printed page.