Monday, September 27, 2010

Profile on 300 Broadway - Jack Stauffacher and Greenwood Press - by Anton Stuebner

Poster for SFMoMa's retrospect "Jack Stauffacher: Selections from the Permanent Collection of Architecture and Design," 2002. Jack gave us a signed copy as a studio warming present.

We were thrilled to find that our new studio originally housed a printing press. The building is now home to a number of businesses (including us, as of next week). One of our neighbors, though, is keeping 300 Broadway's printing tradition very alive and well.

Jack Stauffacher established Greenwood Press in 1936, the result of a childhood fascination with letterpress. Based originally in San Mateo, he moved the shop to San Francisco, setting up in North Beach alongside Jack Kerouac and the early Beat poets. After a brief tenure at Stanford University Press and a Fulbright fellowship in Italy, he relocated the press to 300 Broadway, where it still operates today.

Combining Bauhaus modernism with traditional print technique, Stauffacher's work has an abstract beauty. Die cast letters are off-set by numbers and shapes, intersperesed with blocks of color. The assemblage sometimes seems random - and very often is. But in making letters aesthetic objects (like shapes or color), Stauffacher hightens the formal elegance of print, elevating letters and words into visual works of art. His work has influenced many print artists, and in 2002, SFMoMA staged a retrospect of his work, centered on his 1998 portfolio Wooden Letters from 300 Broadway. We're honored to work alongside Mr. Stauffacher at 300 Broadway and look forward to delving further into his body of work.

Title page, Wooden Letters from 300 Broadway, 1998

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