Elijah Burgher, Toyin Ojih Odutola, and Nathaniel Mary Quinn
This fall, The Drawing Center presents an exhibition that focuses on three young artists—Elijah Burgher, Toyin Ojih Odutola, and Nathaniel Mary Quinn—who explore diverse identities through portraiture and who do so almost exclusively through the medium of drawing. These artists have entirely distinct stylistic approaches and personal backgrounds but they are connected by the way in which they use drawing to investigate subjecthood as well as its resistance to depiction. Indeed, Burgher, Ojih Odutola, and Quinn embrace drawing because it invests surface with the felt intimacy of touch while nonetheless confirming it to be a malleable and uncertain construct. Ultimately, in the intellectual tradition of French theorist Édouard Glissant, these artists believe that the right to refuse explanation is as integral to the formulation of selfhood as is revelation.
For Opacity: Elijah Burgher, Toyin Ojih Odutola, and Nathaniel Mary Quinn is the first museum exhibition to concentrate on the work of Burgher and Quinn and follows on the heels of Ojih Odutola’s successful 2017 New York debut at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In the case of each artist, older drawings will be placed alongside work created expressly for The Drawing Center exhibition to foreground the artists’ sustained and developing dedication to their fields of inquiry. At the same time, the artists’ works will be interspersed throughout the exhibition space to allow for dialogue and cross-connections. Whether using a highly refined illusionistic approach (Burgher), a broad range of material techniques and media (Ojih Odutola), or a fractured, composite aesthetic (Quinn) the artists in For Opacity explore the relationship between insight and obscurity; what a surface can reveal and what it necessarily withholds.
Organized by Claire Gilman, Chief Curator, with Amber Harper, Assistant Curator.
For Opacity: Elijah Burgher, Toyin Ojih Odutola, and Nathaniel Mary Quinn is made possible by Almine Rech Gallery; Burger Collection, Hong Kong; Anderson Cooper; Fairfax Dorn and Marc Glimcher; Stephanie and Timothy Ingrassia; Jack Shainman Gallery; Kathleen Madden and Paul Frantz; Richard Gerrig and Timothy Peterson; Noel E. D. Kirnon; Thomas Lavin; Fiona and Eric Rudin; Beth Rudin DeWoody and Firooz Zahedi; Salon 94; Neil Tennant; Dr. Daniel S. Berger and Scott Wenthe; Rashid Johnson; M+B; P•P•O•W; Rhona Hoffman Gallery; Half Gallery; and Western Exhibitions.
Image: Toyin Ojih Odutola, Paris Apartment, 2016–17. Charcoal, pastel, and pencil on paper, 59 3/8 x 42 inches. Courtesy of The Dean Collection. © Toyin Ojih Odutola. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
Jennifer Wynne Reeves
All Right for Now
Jennifer Wynne Reeves: All Right for Now opens in the Drawing Room on October 12. From the late 1990s until her too-early death from brain cancer in 2014, Jennifer Wynne Reeves (b. 1963, Royal Oak, MI) developed a reputation as an artist’s artist, garnering an intense and loyal following especially among fellow artists who appreciated her ability to load errant scribbles and globs of crusty paint with humor, narrativity, and poignant emotional affect. Her first museum show in New York, The Drawing Center exhibition will be a long overdue consideration of Reeves’s unique contribution to the dialogue between representation and abstraction that has preoccupied recent art. Featuring works on paper, Masonite, and wood, as well as notebooks and text pieces (Reeves wrote copiously and had a large fan base on Facebook), the exhibition will examine the power of line and color to render accessible deeply personal fears and desires. Organized by Claire Gilman, Chief Curator, with Rosario Güiraldes, Assistant Curator.
Organized by Claire Gilman, Chief Curator, with Rosario Guiraldes, Assistant Curator.
Jennifer Wynne Reeves: All Right for Now is made possible by the Jennifer Wynne Reeves Trust; Isabella Hutchinson and Diego Gradowczyk; the Toby Devan Lewis Donor Advised Fund of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland; Fiona and Eric Rudin; Beth Rudin DeWoody and Firooz Zahedi; David Steinhardt; Lee and Louis Reeves; Blick Art Materials, LLC; FM Brush Company; Steve Shane; Dan Lebson and Tom Wilinsky; David Reed; Bernadette Ward and Ladd Forsline, Colorfin; Elena and Holden Stein; and anonymous donors.
Image: Jennifer Wynne Reeves, Bittersweet, 2005. Gouache on paper, 11 x 14 inches. Courtesy of Jennifer Wynne Reeves Estate.
Open Sessions 12
a … is alter(ed)
a…is alter(ed): Open Sessions 12 explores the imaginative determination of “drawing” and “line” by relating it to a development process, social artifacts, psychological trace, and prosthetic memory—journals, maps, technology, and calendars. The poetics of flow between known and unknown is a feedback murmur that leads to clarity when engaging the object. a..is alter(ed) features Joeun Aatchim, Kenseth Armstead, Ludovica Carbotta, Billy and Steven Dufala, LaMont Hamilton, and Ester Partegàs.
For a…is alter(ed), experimental and traditional approaches to drawing are taken as a mode of inquiry, to produce the unexpected through ventriloquism (Aatchim); tell the story of a slave-turned-spy in the American Revolution (Armstead); upend notions of scale by drawing with an excavator shovel (Dufala Brothers); recover the role of imagination by projecting fictional narratives onto objects (Carbotta); welcome the blind and visually impaired into the space through braille-large-scale poems (Hamilton); and to disseminate advertisement-flyer-like drawings across The Lab and the neighborhood (Partegàs).
From October 12 until December 2019 in The Lab, Open Sessions presents five exhibitions organized by Rosario Güiraldes and Lisa Sigal, Open Sessions Curators, together with participating artists. Conceived and organized over fourteen months, The Lab exhibitions present experimental work and ideas, and take the form of thematic group shows. In the second year of the cycle, Open Sessions curators organize a full-museum exhibition to which all Open Sessions artists contribute work that best manifests and/or expands what drawing is.
Joeun Aatchim lives and works in Brooklyn. Her work has been shown at the Jewish Museum and SPRING/BREAK Art Show, both New York; the Long March Space, Beijing; and the SBC Gallery of Contemporary Arts, Montréal.
Kenseth Armstead lives and works in Brooklyn. His work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art; Brooklyn Museum; Studio Museum in Harlem; and Socrates Sculpture Park, all New York; and MIT List Visual Arts Center, Boston. His works are included in the collections of the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Newark Museum, New Jersey; African American Museum, Dallas; and numerous public and private collections.
Ludovica Carbotta lives and works in Spain. Her work has been exhibited at the Kunstlerhaus Museum, Vienna; MAXXI Museum, Rome; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo; Galleria Arte Moderna, both Turin; Marta Cervera Gallery, Madrid; and ON Public, Bologna.
Steven and Billy Dufala live and work in Philadelphia. Their work is represented by Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia.
LaMont Hamilton lives and works in New York. His work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art; The Kitchen; Issue Project Room; and the Studio Museum, all New York.
Ester Partegàs lives and works in New York. Her work has been shown at El Paso Museum of Art/Museo de Arte Ciudad Juárez, Mexico; Museum of the City, New York; and MACBA, Barcelona.
Open Sessions is organized by Rosario Güiraldes and Lisa Sigal, Open Sessions Curators.
Open Sessions artists 2018–20:
Joeun Aatchim; Kenseth Armstead; Bahar Behbahani; Keren Benbenisty; Katarina Burin; Esteban Cabeza de Baca; Alexis Callender; Crystal Z Campbell; Ludovica Carbotta; Jesse Chun; Liz Collins; Mike Crane; Dennis Darkeem; Theodore Darst; Billy and Steven Dufala; Jonathan Ehrenberg; Carolina Fusilier; Rachel Granofsky; LaMont Hamilton; Kunlin He; Victoria Keddie; Young Joo Lee; Lux Lindner; Sharon Madanes; Guadalupe Maravilla; Zatara McIntyre; Ester Partegas; Omid Shekari; Tariku Shiferaw; Johanna Unzueta; Cosmo Whyte.
Open Sessions is made possible by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, the Evelyn Toll Family Foundation, and, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.
Image: Dufala Brothers, Tic Tac Toe, 2015. Video, 22:05 minutes. Image courtesy of the artists and Fleisher Ollman Gallery
As part of its ongoing series of commissions for the Stairwell, The Drawing Center has asked New York artist Inka Essenhigh to create a site-specific wall drawing. Essenhigh’s installation is the third in the series, following Gary Simmons’s Ghost Reels (2016–18) and Abdelkader Benchamma’s Dark Matter (2015–16).
An artist whose influences range from Hokusai to Surrealism and Byzantine icons to graphic novels, Inka Essenhigh is known for her hallucinatory scenes that weave narratives about everyday life with otherworldly and science-fiction themes. For her panoramic installation in The Drawing Center’s stairwell, Essenhigh illustrates the story of an imaginary contest staged on a New York City street in which new glass-and-steel condominiums with human attributes engage in a showdown with the city’s more conventional buildings. Drawn directly on the wall, Essenhigh’s anthropomorphic buildings encircle the central motif of the drawing, a golden sunset that replicates “Manhattanhenge”—the effect of the sun when aligned precisely with the city grid—which has long been a mythic part of the city’s monumental architecture.
Organized by Brett Littman, Executive Director.
Inka Essenhigh: Manhattanhenge is made possible through the support of Miles McEnery Gallery and Stacey and Rob Goergen.
Image: Installation view of Inka Essenhigh: Manhattanhenge. The Drawing Center, New York, 2018. Photograph by Martin Parsekian.
For the second long-term installation presented in the Lab Corridor, The Drawing Center presents a site-specific installation by the Santa Fe-based artist Susan York, which references the internal structure of the museum’s 35 Wooster Street building. Using graphite as a sculptural rather than a two-dimensional medium, York created replicas of parts of the museum’s foundation: irregular granite piers that protrude above the museum’s ground floor. Four graphite drawings, each mirroring the appearance of a pier, hang alongside York’s sculptural works, strengthening the ties between drawing and sculpture in her practice. York’s long-term installation initiates an expanded field of activity at The Drawing Center, offering an opportunity to explore drawing as an interactive and socially-minded practice. By bringing attention to The Drawing Center’s building, York’s installation encourages discussion about the importance of museums as public spaces with historical and physical presence.
Organized by Amber Harper, Assistant Curator.
Susan York: Foundation is made possible by the support of Andrew Wallerstein and Mary Sloane; Diane Karp, P.h.D; James Kelly; and an anonymous donor.
Special thanks to Exhibitions 2d – Marfa.
Image: Susan York, Installation view of Foundation, The Drawing Center, 2017–18.