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."
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.
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.
Open Sessions 8
Planes and Corridors
Open Sessions 8: Planes and Corridors is a group exhibition which considers drawing as a shifting outline around narratives of alienation, proximity and distance. Featuring artists ruby onyinyechi amanze, Eric Ramos Guerrero, Nsenga Knight, Lei Lei, James Mercer, Edwin Torres and Ezra Wube, the exhibition explores real and imagined landscapes, whose fluid borders and disorienting geographies reference issues around migration and a complicated topographies of the everyday. Including work that features poetry, drawing, and miniaturized land, Planes and Corridors presents drawing as an open equation where the strange and ordinary meet.
Curated by Lisa Sigal and Nova Benway
Open Sessions is made possible by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, the Tom Slaughter Open Sessions Fund, Faber-Castell, and with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
James Mercer, People Looking at People Looking at Condoms, ink on paper, 18 x 30 inches, 2016, 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.