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Pat Steir

Milky Way

2000

Artist

Pat Steir (1940-)

Title

Milky Way

Date

2000

Medium

Aquatint

Dimensions

Sheet: 40 7/8 × 39 3/4 in. (103.8 × 101 cm) Plate: 29 15/16 × 29 9/16 in. (76 × 75.1 cm)

Edition information

16/25 | 10 APs, 5 TPs, BAT

Publication information

Printed and published by Crown Point Press

Credit line

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase, with funds from Ruth and Richard Shack and David W. Kiehl in memory of Karen McCready

Accession number

2001.22

Object Label

With its arresting washes of indigo punctuated by spattered dots, Milky Way—one of a series of prints on the theme of natural phenomena—appears nonrepresentational, the end result of spontaneous, improvisatory procedures. Yet while this image (like Pat Steir’s earlier, landmark series of Waterfall paintings) depends on the effects of gravity on the medium and the exigencies of chance, it was also precisely planned and realized according to a set of rules that the artist determined for herself. Steir’s approach is at once contingent on process and prearranged—a duality paralleled in the way that her work traverses the boundary between abstraction and representation. For all of its abstract qualities, the loopy lines of dots and illuminated flashes of Milky Way conjure the experience of seeing the cosmos from our position on the earth.