Legacy in Ink: Selections from the Print Collection of Charles Cohan

Jacob Lawrence, To The Defense, 39.7/16 x 31", Lithograph


Legacy in Ink: Selections from the Print Collection of Charles Cohan


February 4, 2024 – May 5, 2024

John Young Museum of Art, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Featuring over fifty artists including Terry Adkins, Emmy Bright, Drew Kahuʻāina Broderick, Allyn Bromley (in collaboration with Erin Goodwin-Guerreo, Jaime De la Torre, and Einar De la Torre), Lee Chesney, Andrea Dezsö, Sally French, Helen Gilbert, Charles Gill, Fred Hagstrom, Andrew Keating, Jacob Lawrence, Allison Miller, Abigail Romanchak, Joe Singer, Judy Tuwaletstiwa, Vuyile C. Voyiya, William Walmsley, Judy Watson, WD40 (Walter Lieberman and Dick Weiss), and Judy Woodborne.

Charles Cohan, Professor and Area Chair of Printmaking in the Department of Art and Art History is a celebrated printmaker, educator, and master printer. The prints presented in this exhibition were selected from over two thousand hand printed works on paper collected since 1984. The collection represents prints by fellow printmakers, printers’ proofs produced by Cohan’s Arm and Roller Press, international collaborative exchange portfolios, artists’ books, and zines.

Some prints predate Cohan’s time at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (1994 to present). During his studies at California College of Arts and Crafts, under master lithographer Charles Gill, he gained an understanding of the act of printing for artists, and the collecting of “printers’ proofs” as a byproduct of the artist/printer collaboration. During his graduate work at Cranbrook Academy of Art, as a screen printer for the Graphic Design Program, he received prints as payment. He was a printer at Stone Press Editions in Seattle, where he had the opportunity to work with Jacob Lawrence, one of the most significant artists of the twentieth-century. Cohan printed Lawrence’s work, To the Defense, which examined racial injustice in America.  In the early 1990s, Cohan developed a relationship with the printmaking community in Capetown, South Africa, where he editioned prints for the local artists through a multi-year residency at Jonathan Comerford’s Hard Ground Printmakers Workshop.

As a professor at the University of Hawai‘i, for three decades he has generously shared his printmaking expertise with visiting artists, often guiding them through the process of creating a series of prints. Cohan has also participated in workshops in Italy, New Zealand, and Australia, both as an artist and as a master printmaker. At Pilchuck Glass School, he printed for a number of artists including Terry Adkins, a conceptual artist who bridged Modernism with African aesthetics through the use of an alternative matrix.  At Anderson Ranch he printed an edition for L.A. based painter Allison Miller. As a professor of printmaking since 1989, the number of student prints that have been contributed to his collection is in the hundreds. In addition, Cohan has amassed an archive of over five hundred prints from nearly thirty collaborative portfolio projects. These projects are formed by groups of printmakers who exchange their works, eventually to collate them into portfolios as “sets” inclusive of one print per artist. In addition, Cohan has inherited over one hundred zines and fifty artists’ books from colleagues around the world. Selections from these sets may be seen at this exhibition.

Cohan sees the importance that a collection of prints can play as an educational tool in academic and creative communities. His collection is a testament to the pursuit of excellence in printmaking that he inspires in his students and the printmaking community.

This exhibit was curated by Professor Charles Cohan, Chair of the Printmaking Area, and Professor Debra Drexler, Acting Director of the Galleries and Museum. Thanks to the staff of the University Galleries and the John Young Museum of Art, Sheika Alghezawi, Assistant Director, David Kiyabu, Gallery Exhibition Coordinator, Mia Zheng, Curatorial Graduate Assistant, Hala Megahy, Installation Graduate Assistant, Grace Chang, and Celia Langford and the staff at the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.


Opening Reception
Date: February 4, 2024, Sunday, 2:00–4:00 PM

The JOHN YOUNG MUSEUM OF ART is located in Krauss Hall at 2500 Dole Street Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96822 (Directions).

Museum hours & admission
Tuesday – Friday, & Sunday 12 – 4 p.m.

Closed Saturdays, Mondays, spring break (March 17-19), and state holidays.

Free admission. Donations are appreciated.

Parking fees may apply during weekdays. Parking is free on Sundays

For more information please contact 808.956.8364 and gallery@hawaii.edu