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Warhol, Larger Than Live

A high-profile exhibit requires a wide-format welcome.




Montreal print provider Contact Image has completed many small projects for the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, but it was the Yves Saint Laurent fabric installation it produced for the museum, which required approval from YSL headquarters in Paris, that made Contact the obvious choice to create the lobby installation for the high-profile exhibit Warhol Live.

Warhol Live, which runs through mid-January 2009, focuses on the role of music and dance as inspiration for Andy Warhol’s work, and a 1966 photograph by Nat Finkelstein titled “Andy Double Tambourine” was chosen to welcome visitors to the exhibit. While the original image, provided by the museum, was a simple black-and-white photograph, turning it into a large-scale installation was a bit more complicated.

“The head of exhibit installations wanted something that would apply directly to the wall but be removable without damaging the finish. It would also have to endure in a high-traffic area and provide a finish that would work with the specialized sixties-era psychedelic lighting that would be part of the installation,” explains Greg Rivera, a sales representative for Contact Image.

To print the two large murals that comprise the installation, Contact Image used one of its two Mimaki JV-5 64-inch printers and eco-solvent inks. Even though the images are black-and-white, the production team applied a color profile to ensure proper color density and to control ink saturation.

“The color profiles we use are created specifically for each medium-in this case, a white adhesive vinyl-on each printer. The profile itself uses the perfect amounts of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks to replicate the original colors as close as possible,” says Rivera. “The blacks are richer than they would have been with only black inks. The quantity of ink applied is also optimized with this profile. So at the end we have great colors with less inks and shorter drying time. ”


The murals were printed on Avery MPI 2601 low-tac adhesive vinyl and then finished with a Drytac cold EmeryTex laminate. The print run took 15 hours and produced two murals-one measuring 192.18 x 157 inches, the other 178 x 157 inches. Contact Image handled the installation.

“When we received the customer files there was some animated discussion among our staff because of the large dot structure evident. The ironic thing was that in most cases we have to educate customers about the need for the highest possible resolution files to allow for maximum enlargement, and here we were printing something where the dot structure was an intrinsic part of its appeal,” says Rivera.




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