The Chicago Center for the Print has been decking local walls since 1979. Split in half, the gallery has two major areas of specialization: original prints by living artists and vintage advertising posters.
The front of the shop is devoted to original works, and houses a stable roster of artists. Various printing methods are showcased, but there are absolutely no giclees, the cheaper, lower quality ink-jet method that has flooded the print market. Ladislav Hanka's beautiful little bird prints caught my eye (starting at $85).
The back of the gallery houses the vast selection of vintage posters, which date back to the 1920s. Advertising posters were the dominant method of promotion before radio and TV exploded, and the Chicago Center for the Print has the expansive collection to prove it. With gorgeous graphics and eye-popping color, these posters don't come cheap; most are priced at $600-$4,000, with highly collectible pieces priced as high as $21,000.
If you want to get your feet wet but don't have that kind of bank, check out the two flip racks in the back for a great selection of reproductions that emphasize iconic Chicago photography and prints; starting price is $20. The Chicago Center for the Print has a full service custom frame shop to encase your treasures however you see fit.
Centerstage Reviewer: Roni Shapira