Letterform Archive announces exhibition showcasing rare monoprints from Bay Area printer Jack Stauffacher
Typographic Jazz: The Monoprints of Jack Stauffacher
Opening January 27, 2024
Date & Time
January 26, 2023, 3:00–5:30pm
SAN FRANCISCO, California, January 9, 2024 — Letterform Archive announces Typographic Jazz: The Monoprints of Jack Stauffacher, a new exhibition of rarely seen work opening January 27, 2024. Curated by Rob Saunders, the show explores the playful and improvisational typography of iconic Bay Area printer Jack Stauffacher and features more than 100 prints, sketches, iterative proofs, and other experiments exploring his creative process.
Jack Stauffacher was a fixture of the Bay Area creative community as an active participant in the local literary and artistic avant-garde, as well as a celebrated teacher and the craftsman behind major publications designed at his own Greenwood Press in San Francisco. Stauffacher’s experiments in inking and layering led to an extraordinary body of monoprints, each one-of-a-kind.
Letterform Archive’s extensive collection of Jack Stauffacher’s work provides the content for Typographic Jazz. The focus of the exhibition is a set of prints made with a mismatched set of 19th-century wood block letters to reimagine type as abstract form. This work, much of which has never been shown publicly, demonstrates the creative potential of letterpress with wood type. Through sketches, iterative proofs, and other unfinished work, viewers get to peek into Stauffacher’s mind and observe his use of abstraction, color, form, rotation, overprinting, ink manipulation, and transparency
“For these monoprints, Stauffacher used letters as simple geometric shapes to create abstract compositions,” says Letterform Archive Curator and Executive Director RobSaunders. “It took careful planning and precision, but also spontaneity. That’s what makes them so exciting, because it takes them out of the world of graphic design and into the world of modern art.”
The recently published Only on Saturday: The Wood Type Prints of Jack Stauffacher from Letterform Archive Books will be sold alongside the exhibition. It is the first volume dedicated to Stauffacher’s astonishing letterpress wood type prints, which now appear in the collections of SFMOMA, LACMA, and other major institutions. The publication features unparalleled reproductions of both well-known and rarely seen work (from the 1960s almost up to the present), offering readers an in-depth look at Stauffacher’s development and influences, and positioning his work in the context of his storied life as a titan of typography and a beloved printer in the Bay. Also available for purchase will be The Art of Wood Type, a set of 20 unique notecards and envelopes with beautiful reproductions of prints by Jack Stauffacher.
$10 for adults; $5 for students and seniors (65+); Archive members and children under 12 free. Free to the public on Thursdays. Advance tickets available at https://letterformarchive.org/visit.
Regular Exhibition Hours
Thu, 1–8pm (free admission); Fri–Sun, 11am–6pm; closed Mon–Wed.
About Letterform Archive
Based in San Francisco, Letterform Archive is a nonprofit center for inspiration, education, and community. It preserves important artifacts in the history of letterforms and graphic design, and it strives to actively share them with the public. Since it opened to visitors in 2015, the collection has quintupled in size through the generosity of donors, and now includes over 100,000 items related to the letter arts. The Archive serves a global community through social media, publications, and the Online Archive, and offers a full-year postgraduate certificate program in type design as well as public workshops in calligraphy, lettering, and typography. Additionally, the Archive curates local and international exhibitions, organizes lectures, and hosts salons to showcase collections. Learn more atletterformarchive.org.