a83 examines its legacy by revisiting an analog age of architectural printmaking and creative culture in New York City

In 2020, a83, a gallery plus print shop, created a hub of sorts for design types nestled right in the beating heart of Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood. Joining the ranks of such downtown archi-institutions like the Storefront for Art and Architecture and Citygroup, a83’s exhibition schedule brings the architecture community together in a beautiful, cast-iron loft space. Led by Owen Nichols and Clara Syme, the shop takes over the space and equipment from John Nichols Printmakers & Publishers, which was operated by Owen’s father from the same space from 1978 until 1994. Nichols and Syme also codirect Chibbernoonie, a self-described “global design empire based in Princeton, New Jersey.”

Highway, Working Proof with Notes, 1981 (Courtesy a83)
Proofs 01
Stair Axonometric with Section (color proof), 1987. (Courtesy a83)
Editions 01
First Wisconsin Plaza, 1979. (PP: 5/10) Serigraph on paper (Courtesy a83)

The gallery’s programming is heavy on craft and experimental forms of representation. Often, works on paper are highlighted—a83’s specialty is in-house risograph printmaking, and editions are produced in its basement workshop. Other shows have focused on painting and alternative forms of architectural image making. To date, the gallery has staged shows on Anthony Ames, Claude Parent, and Reiser + Umemoto, among others.

Editions 02
Greenwich Savings Bank, 1981. (AP: 15/30) Serigraph on paper (Courtesy a83)
happenings v2 03
Chiba JPGA, 1991. (14/50) Serigraph and aluminum leaf (Courtesy a83)
Happenings 01
Creativity = Capital, 1983. (120) lithograph and screenprint on paper (Courtesy a83)
happenings v2 01
Charles Luce, 83-84 Print Projects, Exhibition Invite, 1984. Ink on paper (Courtesy a83)

This year, a83 is mounting an ongoing series titled Architectural Image-Making in 1980s New York. Curated as a three-part series, it began in January with Proofs, which surfaced offprints and tests, and continued this past summer with Editions, the more “complete” drawings that stemmed from those mark-making tests. This fall, it will finish with Happenings, which will continue the journey of an architectural print by sharing announcements and posters. The show is on view through December 17.

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