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Leveraging the Limited Edition: Participation and Obligation in Douglas Huebler’s Prints

Though Douglas Huebler is most well-known for his photo-conceptualist works, this article explores how the artist innovatively employed another medium: the limited-edition print. While early chroniclers of Conceptual art often emphasized the artworks’ resistance to being bought and sold, I argue that Huebler created limited editions intended specifically for the collector’s market, using the medium as a conceptual tool to reshape the relationship between artist and collector. The structure of the limited edition both prompted Huebler to conceive of art collecting as a collective endeavor, with each owner of the edition a node in an interconnected network, and endowed the artist with the ability to authorize impressions as authentic and inauthentic. In a moment when works of art were increasingly treated as financial assets, the limited-edition print provided Huebler with a vehicle for questioning the nature of ownership, authorship, and value.
Relevant research areas: North America, 20th Century