Cecily Brown: Rehearsal is the artist’s first solo museum show in New York and the first exhibition dedicated to her drawings. Arranged thematically, the more than eighty small drawings, large-scale works, and sketchbooks on view will foreground Brown’s iterative reworking of motifs from her wide-reaching arsenal of source material—prints by eighteenth-century draftsman William Hogarth, pages from animal clip-art books, and the cover of Jimi Hendrix’s 1968 album Electric Ladyland are just some of the images that Brown has rendered again and again in her own hand. These drawings are not studies for her paintings but rather a distinct form of aesthetic inquiry, one that isolates the investigatory impulse that grounds Brown’s art in general.
Where Brown’s canvases revel in the visceral immediacy of paint, her drawings offer fragmentary motifs that build upon and undo each other. Their logic productively relates to the concept of ‘rehearsal’—a term derived from the Old French rehercier that originally meant to go over something again with the aim of more fully understanding it. The notion that this repetitive action was geared toward a culminating performance was a later conceit that has obscured the original definition of the word as valuing inquiry in its own right.
Indeed, what we witness in Brown’s sketches is the artist’s desire to visualize and respond to the images that attract and confound her (Brown has said that learning to draw is teaching yourself how to see). Painstaking and obsessive in their efforts to work and rework either an entire scene or the slightest of gestures—a turn of a lion’s head here, the arch of a boy’s torso there—Brown’s drawings take the act of looking as their very subject.
Curated by Claire Gilman, Senior Curator
The New York Times review > click here
"The final result of all this repetition — and I assume this has been as true for Ms. Brown when she made the drawings as it was for me as I viewed them — is that everything else falls away, even the object being looked at or the figure being drawn, and the activity of drawing itself is revealed in all its strange particularity."
The New Yorker review > click here
"The London-born, New York-based painter’s bright and turbulent works on paper, installed on petal-pink walls, might be the season’s sexiest show. "
Cecily Brown: Rehearsal is made possible by support from the James Family Foundation, Nancy and Fred Poses, Jane and Ned Sadaka, and Marlies Verhoeven.
Special thanks to Thomas Dane Gallery.
Image: Cecily Brown, Strolling Actresses (After Hogarth), 2015. Watercolor and ink on paper. 51 1/2 x 79 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
Read Drawing Papers 128: Cecily Brown Rehearsal
Buy the catalogue.
Olga Chernysheva: Vague Accent is a series of drawings the Moscow-based artist made during a month-long visit to New York in November 2015. This new work is a departure for Chernysheva: although she has depicted the urban landscape throughout her career, her focus has been her home country. Vague Accent explores the relation between travel and attentiveness through a collection of ordinary scenes—subway stations, museums, city streets—overlaid with collaged texts by the artist. In her words, these works “show things that are already visible…things not asking to be looked at.”
Curated by Nova Benway, Assistant Curator and Open Sessions Curator
Olga Chernysheva: Vague Accent is made possible by the support of Josef and Margot Lakonishok; GRAD: Gallery for Russian Arts and Design, London; Dita Amory; Suzanne Dubois; Erika Hoffmann; Meryl Rose; Anna L. Zelenova; Lori Spector and Max Lang; and Jan ter Haar.
Special thanks to Pace London; Gallery DIEHL, Berlin; Foxy Production, New York; Matthew Stephenson; and Yulia Dultsina.
Image: Olga Chernysheva, Untitled [Forbidden…], 2016. Charcoal and collage on paper, 23 1/2 x 33 inches (60.5 x 84 cm). © Olga Chernysheva, courtesy Gallery DIEHL, Berlin; Foxy Production, New York; and Pace London.
Read Drawing Papers 129: Olga Chernysheva Vague Accent
Buy the catalogue.
Open Sessions 9
Cartography of Ghosts
Open Sessions: Cartography of Ghosts explores architecture’s role in shaping human behavior, creating entrenched habits and modes of thought, and even standardized forms of intimacy. While the architectural spaces we occupy often obstruct our ability to intervene in or even fully comprehend the society we have built, they also bear traces of resistance, improvisation, and misuse that allow us to imagine other ways of being. Featuring the work of Regina Agu, Mustafa Faruki, jc lenochan, Florentine and Alexandre Lamarche-Ovize, Sreshta Rit Premnath, and Gabriela Salazar, Open Sessions: Cartography of Ghosts explores drawing as a tool to make visible the personal and human traces that haunt the public and material. Through objects, drawings, collages, installations, and architecture, the works conjure apparitional traces of a present and future body.
In conjunction with Open Sessions 9: Cartography of Ghosts, please join us for an Artist Talk featuring artists Kabir Carter, Torkwase Dyson, and Chat Travieso on Thursday, December 15 at 6:30pm.
Curated by Lisa Sigal and Nova Benway
Regina Agu Drape is a series of works on paper that explores economic shifts in the built environment as they shape public discourse framing black communities. The artist returns to a text by poet Akilah Oliver, the visible unseen, as a conceptual framework for these new drawings. Renderings of tarps, drop cloths, and polyvinyl sheeting are featured as temporary landmarks of displacement and loss.
Mustafa Faruki Celebatorium is a proposal for micro-housing designed to shelter the unmarried, unloved, unwanted or otherwise permanently alone.
jc lenochan unfinished business: 12 ways to initiate a conversation is an ongoing series of drawings that focuses on pedagogical methods. On paper resembling a chalkboard surface, images and text collide, combining public school curriculum, standardized teaching jargon, fragmented lesson plans, and footnotes. Each composition intends to sharpen discourse around urgent topics. The illustrations invite pedagogical critiques in which questions and answers circle each other in the hopes of transforming barriers into paths to progress.
Florentine and Alexandre Lamarche-Ovize The Never Ending Pictures is a new series of drawings, including two large works each with an accompanying zine. The series explores narrative through a combination of pattern and figuration. The artists mix topical images from daily newspapers and magazines with personal, domestic moments to produce new images of quotidian reality.
Gabriela Salazar’s Contour for Leading, Contour for Supporting Role, and Contour for Dark Corner is a serial sculpture that simultaneously appears to be a support for, and is supported by, the room where it is installed. Following the planes of The Drawing Center’s Lab Gallery, Contour reiterates and adheres to the rules of found architectural choices, meanwhile suggesting a closer, unexpected, experience of those surfaces and planes. Made of two clays—ceramic and plasticine—Contour confuses these materials’ usual lexicons and properties to create a precarious mimesis of the useful and the sturdy.
Sreshta Rit Premnath Slump and Wedge are site-specific pieces that are part of Sreshta Rit Premnath’s ongoing project Plot, which has taken the form of photographic prints, installations and videos over the past three years. These figure-like forms embedded with sand and asphalt are limp, and require the architecture of a particular site to support them. Evoking multiple modalities of occupation, these figures at times seem to take refuge in the architecture, while at other times the site violently constrains them.
Image: Regina Agu, Fiction Diptych (Drape No. 2), 2016. Graphite on paper 12 x 9 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
As part of its on-going stairwell project, The Drawing Center has commissioned American artist Gary Simmons to create a site-specific wall drawing in the lobby stairwell. Simmons’ installation will be the second in the series following Abdelkader Benchamma’s Representation of Dark Matter (April 2015 – August 2016).
Mining the iconography of American popular culture, Gary Simmons’s work addresses personal and collective experiences of race and class. He is best known for his “erasure drawings,” which he began working on in the late 1980s in an abandoned school in New York City that contained an abundance of blackboards. Using white chalk on slate-painted panels or walls, Simmons blurred the drawings with his hands resulting in hazy but persistent images that evoke faded memories or classrooms at the end of the school day. For The Drawing Center, Simmons created a text-based work consisting of names of African American actors and actresses from the early days of silent film. The artist describes the installation, whose format recalls the scrolling of closing film credits frozen in mid-motion, as invoking “the memories of actors that have been blurred in the history of Hollywood film . . . a kind of silence in both voice and visibility.”
Curated by Claire Gilman, Senior Curator
Gary Simmons: Ghost Reels is made possible by the support of Jeffrey A. Hirsch and Alyssa Fanelli.
Special thanks to Metro Pictures.
Image: Gary Simmons, Ghost Reels, 2016. Mixed media, Site-specific installation. Installation at The Drawing Center, New York, 2016. Photograph by Martin Parsekian.
Jackie Ferrara: Lines consists of eight wall drawings, each anchored by imagined architecture or architectural elements along with lists of film titles rendered in Morse code. The Morse code acts as a foundation or band, interrupting the drawn architecture or adding another layer over the entire surface. The underlying theme of the individual drawings is reflected both in the architectural element or shape dominating the drawing as well as by the Morse code text, which consists of curated lists of films Ferrara began compiling in 1993 that reflect her life-long passion for film. Vampire Towers, for example, depicts nine abstract, dark towers that emerge out of a foundation of vampire film titles veiled in Morse code. This commission reflects the ongoing evolution of Ferrara’s work, incorporating elements of the established language of her sculpture and public art works and bringing them to the walls of The Drawing Center.
Curated by Olga Valle Tetkowski, Exhibition Manager
Jackie Ferrara: Lines is made possible by The Drawing Center’s Exhibition Fund members. Special thanks to Joyce Pomeroy Schwartz.
Photo: Installation View, Lab Corridor. 2016. Photo by Martin Parsekian.
Read Lines by Jackie Ferrara