Portraits from the École des Beaux-Arts Paris
This exhibition explores four hundred years of portrait drawings, emphasizing work from live models. Each week, a different set of four portraits from different centuries and with different formal qualities will be hung "in dialogue" with each other in a specially-built room located in the center of The Drawing Center’s Main Gallery. Forty portraits have been chosen from the Beaux-Arts de Paris' collection based on diverse criteria such as the male and female gestures, caricature, frontal gaze, social class, and profession of the model. The room is inspired by the intimate gallery at the Galleria Doria Pamphilj in Rome where Velazquez’s portrait of Pope Innocent X (c.1649) hangs, which only accommodates a small number of visitors at a time and was designed to provide a space for close viewing and contemplation without crowds. The remaining thirty-six portraits in the exhibition will be hung on the gallery's back wall and will be visible to the visitor throughout the exhibition's run.
This unique exhibition will explore the notion of drawn portraiture and provide alternative readings of this important genre of art making within a contemporary context. The selection of works is extensive, ranging from seventeenth-century to the present. Highlights include never-before-exhibited drawings by nineteenth-century luminaries Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Charles Garnier to the work of modern and contemporary masters Henri Matisse and Georg Baselitz to portraits by recent graduates of the Beaux-Arts de Paris.
Co-curated by Emmanuelle Brugerolles, Curator of the Drawings collection at the Beaux-Arts de Paris and Brett Littman, Executive Director of The Drawing Center.
Lead support for Portraits from the École des Beaux-Arts comes from Canson. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Robert Lehman Foundation, Ildeko and Gilbert Butler, Catherine and Arthur Williams, Diane Nixon, David Tobey, Elizabeth Eveillard, the Kress Family Foundation, and Jill Newhouse.
Image: Jacob Ferdinand Voet, Portrait de femme vue de face, 1639-1700, Colored pencil on blue paper. 22.5 X 16 cm
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
EVENT: Panel discussion at the Brooklyn Museum on April 30 at 6:30pm.
Details. An evening about fairy tales, sexuality, Feminism, and Frank’s recent work will feature the artist, Drawing Center Curator Claire Gilman, renowned art historian Linda Nochlin, and fairy tale expert Jack Zipes. Readings of select Grimm’s tales by Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Michael Cunningham, legendary choreographer Bill T. Jones, and acclaimed essayist and feminist sage Ariel Levy will follow.
Since completing her M.F.A. at Columbia University in 2006, Natalie Frank has been making a name for herself with energetic, visceral paintings that boldly embrace the liminal space between figuration and abstraction. A virtuoso painter and draftswoman, Frank is unique among her peers in her willingness to employ the traditional mediums of painting and drawing in the service of taboo themes. Focusing on the dialogue between flesh and spirit, the artist explores, in her own words, the parallel poles of “longing and desire but also disgust and fascination” that constitute humanity.
At The Drawing Center, Frank applies her visual and psychological acumen to that most evocative and misunderstood of literary forms, the fairytale—specifically the original, unsanitized stories transcribed by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm between 1812 and 1857. Only a few contemporary artists have worked within the fairytale genre; fewer still have systematically interrogated the complexity of these tales and the way in which they address social and sexual mores that continue to have relevance today. Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm presents twenty-five drawings out of a total of seventy-five that Frank completed over a period of three-and-a-half years between 2011 and 2014. The drawings are made in gouache and chalk pastel—the first time that Frank has worked exclusively in this medium—producing both gritty and luminous surface effects. Engaging the intersection between body and mind, reality and fiction, the series can be seen as a contemporary feminist reimagining of a symbolist legacy.
Curated by Claire Gilman, Senior Curator.
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm is made possible by the support of The Evelyn Toll Family Foundation, Merrill Mahan, Stephanie Ingrassia, Sarah Peter, Kim Manocherian, Irwin and MaryAnn Gold, and Liz Parks.
Special thanks to Rhona Hoffman Gallery and ACME.
Image: Natalie Frank, Cinderella II, 2011-4, Gouache and chalk pastel on paper, 22 x 30 inches. Courtesy of the Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin; Promised gift of Kathleen Irvin Loughlin and Chris Loughlin.
Open Sessions 3
Open Sessions continues with artist-directed group exhibitions. The third Open Sessions group show features artists who work with language, objects, narration, and performance: Becky Brown, Ernesto Caivano, Annette Cords, Steffani Jemison, Nyeema Morgan, Zach Rockhill, and Jina Valentine. The exhibition is organized by a shelving system that encircles the entire space, and includes artworks alongside art ephemera, books, and household objects.
Will you stay home, please? This blade of grass is positively, miraculously, familiar. Stealing first base…!? A veritable, infinity of obstacles between here and— The last ephemeral boon of untruthful clearings is perfect nowhere. Original obstacles entrenched in chaparral; pervasive, go haywire. A singular event, methodically set forth, laid plain many paths across a desolate landscape …and when "an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?" The complexity of oceans beams from an irreducible glitter.
–Co-authored text by Open Sessions 3 artists, based on Surrealist language game.
Organized by the artists and by Nova Benway and Lisa Sigal, Open Sessions Curators.
Image: Ernesto Caivano, Codex 08.16.2013.I, 2014 (detail), Graphite on paper, 10 x 7 inches, Courtesy of the artist.
Abdelkader Benchamma: Representation of Dark Matter
Further activating The Drawing Center's newly designed exhibition spaces, each year an artist will be invited to create a wall drawing in the gallery’s main entryway and stairwell. The Center continues this initiative in April 2015 with a commission by contemporary artist Abdelkader Benchamma (b. 1975, Mazamet, France).
For his first U.S. museum presentation, Abdelkader Benchamma will create an astronomical vortex in the strikingly graphic large-scale drawing, Representation of Dark Matter, 2015. Comprised of a series of linear abstractions and nebulous, inkblot forms the work is a highly articulated depiction of the complexity of the solar system and its nearly imperceptible dark matter. The image’s swirling masses of lines are intricately rendered to resemble scientific illustrations of the Big Bang and explosive cosmic forces. Benchamma’s monochromatic use of such drawing tools as black felt-tip pens, India ink, and charcoal against the gallery wall’s pristine surface will result in a subtle array of tones and textures that straddles the boundaries between figuration and abstraction. As an occult mapping of time and space, this immersive installation gives form to that which is infinitely large and perpetually transforming.
Curated by Joanna Kleinberg Romanow, Adjunct Assistant Curator.
Abdelkader Benchamma: Representation of Dark Matter is made possible by the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai and galerie du jour agnes b., Paris.
Image: Abdelkader Benchamma, Representation of Dark Matter (installation rendering), 2015, Mixed media, Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai and galerie du jour agnes b., Paris.
Rachel Goodyear: Restless Guests
UK-based artist Rachel Goodyear will present a selection of drawings and hand-drawn animations in The Lab corridor. The animated works loop seamlessly, unfolding a narrative that never fully coheres, while the drawings - inspired by found sources, Goodyear's own photographs, and studies of invented scenarios - evoke a sense of drifting in and out of focus and consciousness.
Curated by Jessica Man, Curatorial Assistant.
Rachel Goodyear: Restless Guests is made possible by the support of Pippy Houldsworth Gallery.
Image: Rachel Goodyear, Afternoon, 2011, Pencil and watercolor on paper, framed, 23 3/5 x 16 1/2 inches (60 x 42 cm). Courtesy Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, Copyright the artist.
James Sheehan: Death of Malevich
To activate The Drawing Center’s newly designed galleries, the institution’s curators have invited artists to create long-term drawing-based installations in atypical locations around the facility. The first project is James Sheehan’s Death of Malevich (2013). Sheehan’s postage-stamp-size watercolor on board is inserted directly into one of the walls of The Lab corridor, creating a keyhole effect that voyeuristically transports the viewer into another realm. His infinitesimal image Death of Malevich derives from a photograph of famed Russian Suprematist painter Kazimir Malevich lying in state, surrounded by his artworks. Sheehan’s exploration of the relationship between distance and scale results in a scene that appears legible from afar, but that gradually dissolves on approach—even as the work’s recessed installation (and the placement of the painter’s acclaimed Black Square, 1915, directly above the dead man’s head) draw the viewer in. This work was also featured in our recent exhibition Small..
In April 2015, artist Abdelkader Benchamma will install Representation of Dark Matter, a large-scale graphic wall drawing representing an astrological vortex, in the double-height lobby stairway. This piece will be on view for one year.