In 1964 after moving to New York from his native Uruguay, Camnitzer co-founded The New York Graphic Workshop, along with fellow artists, Argentine Liliana Porter and Venezuelan Guillermo Castillo (1941–1999). For six years, until 1970, they examined the conceptual meaning behind printmaking, and sought to test and expand the definition of the medium. In 1964, Camnitzer wrote a manifesto on printmaking that was later adopted by the group as a statement of intent. In this text, Camnitzer argues that printmaking should not restrict, but rather amplify the possibilities of an artist to generate conceptually rich ideas through strong images.
This idea would dominate Camnitzer’s artistic practice through the later part of the 1960s and well into the 1970s. During this time Camnitzer developed a body of work that explored language as primary medium, shifting from printing text on paper or walls, such as his Dictionary etchings and the room-size installation, Living Room (both 1969). As his interest in language unfolded, so did his aim to identify socio-political problems through his art. Camnitzer responded in great part to the growing wave of Latin American military regimes taking root in the late 1960s, but his work also points to the dynamic political landscape of his adopted country, the United States.
Always interested in philosophical concerns, Camnitzer deeply explored the concept of tautology by generating self-referential etchings, such as Tape (1968) and Horizon (1968), among other examples. Camnitzer would further expand this interest during the 1970s through a series of objects in different media to represent the idea of an object covering its own image.