This group exhibition features sixteen artists who engage in sewing, knitting, and weaving to create a wide-range of works that activate the expressive and conceptual potential of line and illuminate affinities between the mediums of textile and drawing. Multi-generational in scope, Thread Lines brings together those pioneers who—challenging entrenched modernist hierarchies—first unraveled the distinction between textile and art with a new wave of contemporary practitioners who have inherited and expanded upon their groundbreaking gestures.
Curated by Joanna Kleinberg Romanow, Assistant Curator.
List of Participating Artists: Mónica Bengoa (b. 1969, Santiago, Chile), Louise Bourgeois (b. 1911, Paris, France- d. 2010, New York, NY), Sheila Hicks (b. 1934, Hastings, NE), Ellen Lesperance (b. 1971, Minneapolis, MN), Kimsooja (b. 1957, Taegu, Korea), Beryl Korot (b. 1945, New York, NY), Maria Lai (b. 1919, Ulassai, Sardinia- d. 2013, Cardedu, Sardinia), Sam Moyer (b. 1983, Chicago, IL), William J. O'Brien (b. 1975, Eastlake, OH), Robert Otto Epstein (b. 1979, Pittsburgh, PA), Jessica Rankin (b. 1971, Sydney, Australia), Elaine Reichek (b. 1943, New York, NY), Drew Shiflett (b. 1951, Chicago, IL), Alan Shields (b. 1944, Herington, KS- d. 2005, Shelter Island, NY), Lenore Tawney (b. 1907, Lorain, OH- d. 2007, New York, NY), and Anne Wilson (b. 1949, Detroit, MI).
Anne Wilson’s To Cross (Walking New York), 2014 in the Main Gallery
Performance Times here.
After discovering that The Drawing Center’s SoHo building was originally built in 1866 for the Positive Motion Loom Company, Chicago-based artist Anne Wilson conceived of her latest site-specific performance that will use the main gallery’s four central columns as a weaving loom. Recalling the physical structure and operations of the loom itself, the piece’s four participants “walk” around the twelve foot columns, carrying a spool of thread to form a standard weaving cross (a method used to keep warp threads in order). The durational performance, which takes place over the course of two months, will result in the fabrication of a five by thirty-four foot sculpture: a colorful cross composed of innumerable strands of thread.
Kimsooja’s Thread Routes - Chapter I, 2010 in The Lab
On view September 18 – October 2, Wednesday-Sunday
Korean artist Kimsooja premieres the first in a series of six 16mm films that document the performative elements of varied forms of indigenous textile construction. Thread Routes - Chapter I, 2010 explores the Peruvian weaving culture set amid the highlands of Machu Picchu.
The New York Times review
Thread Lines is made possible by the support of Richloom Fabrics Group, Fiona and Eric Rudin, Daniel Romanow, The Capital Group, the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation, Ambach & Rice, Galería Isabel Aninat, and Lesley Heller.
Read Drawing Papers 118: Thread Lines
Buy the catalogue.
Image: Louise Bourgeois, Untitled, 2006, Fabric, 15 x 22 1/4 inches. Courtesy Cheim & Read, New York © The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.
Xanti Schawinsky: Head Drawings and Faces of War
Xanti Schawinsky: Head Drawings and Faces of War is a look at first generation Bauhaus artist Alexander ‘Xanti’ Schawinsky’s prolific oeuvre, which encompasses a range of social and political investigations. Schawinsky played a key role in the school's vital social life and was a member of the Bauhaus Band. He studied graphic design and experimental photography and was also deeply engaged in the Bauhaus's theater workshop as an actor, set and costume designer, creator of performances, and teacher.
The exhibition focuses on two bodies of work Schawinsky made between 1941 and 1946, Faces of War and the Head Drawings. The former are man-machine hybrids that could represent either an aggressive enemy or a powerful avenger—or perhaps an identity that encompasses both. The Faces of War break from the utopian optimism of the early Bauhaus and reveal the existential struggle of an artist coping with identity and the devastation of war. The Head Drawings allowed Schawinsky to literally remake his own “portrait” out of such detritus of the natural world as thread, crystals, rope, and rocks.
Curated by Brett Littman, Executive Director.
Xanti Schawinsky: Head Drawings and Faces of War is made possible by the support of The Kind World Foundation, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, Daniel Schawinsky and the Xanti Schawinsky Estate, and Fiona and Eric Rudin.
Special thanks to Anke Kempkes and BROADWAY 1602.
Read Drawing Papers 119: Xanti Schawinsky: Head Drawings and Faces of War.
Buy the catalogue.
Image: Xanti Schawinsky, The Warrior (Faces of War), 1942. Mixed media, watercolor and black pen on paper. 29 x 21 3/8 inches (73.7 X 54.2 cm). Courtesy of The Xanti Schawinsky Estate and BROADWAY 1602.
Open Sessions 2
Open Sessions continues with artist-directed group exhibitions and public programs.
New work including a collaborative film on fairy tales and politics; an installation under the stairs; a stack of posters in envelopes, ready to be mailed; a comic book for reconciliation; drawings of movie cameras, and of films; Morse code messages; and other new work. Participating artists: Joey Fauerso, Tatiana Istomina, Patte Loper, Matt Neff, Mona Sharma, Adam Shecter, Naho Taruishi, and Arturs Virtmanis.
Many Worlds is a collaborative folio project developed by Matt Neff and Adam Shecter, consisting of an edition of prints from each artist in Open Sessions 2. At The Drawing Center, visitors are invited to fill out an address label in the gallery and a print will be mailed to the address of their choosing. Each print is sealed into an envelope printed with fragments of the editioned images.
Mona Sharma’s After “A” is a comic book made by the artist for her best friend. Sharma loves this friend very much, who nevertheless has an extraordinary talent for making their relationship unbearably painful. Sharma’s friend has always had an unusual obsession with Archie Comics; this comic book, which will be the first in a series, is a collection of their personal stories that they both can look back at whenever times get tough.
Arturs Virmanis’s WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT!? is a sinking vessel, filled heavy with hopes, adrift in a sea of cryptic messages: a tragic wall of Morse code-like dots and lines (the building blocks of drawing), and scrolls of obscure texts. Everything is steeped in messianism, melancholia and black carbon dust. It is a vaudevillian show that casts disparate and unwilling characters like Fernando Pessoa, with his ever-unfinished scribbles on melancholia; Piranesi, with his albums of romantically etched ruins of Rome; Morse, with his messianic aspirations; and fairy tales of pirates and their castaway ships… Save Our Ships, Save Our Souls…
Naho Taruishi’s Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince depicts the patent of the first motion camera. The inventor, Le Prince, mysteriously vanished shortly before his creation was unveiled to the public. Correspondingly, drawn images of the films Ugetsu Monogatari - 96 minutes and The Woman in the Dunes emerge from the surreal experiences of characters in each film after they depart from their daily existences. Together the drawings evoke disappearances in real and fictional stories.
Matt Neff's Untitled is made from a discarded incubator that takes on the abstracted sculptural image of a lifeless form on the ground, flooded by the muddled lights of both the police and the community's protests, and is a reflection of the ongoing struggle in Ferguson, Missouri. Untitled is visually inspired by Neff's Cage Variation toner drawings, which he began several years ago and has continued to revisit through drawing, print, and now sculpture.
Scary Stories is an evolving archive of oral and visual narratives recorded and edited by artists Tatiana Istomina and Joey Fauerso. Participants are invited to first talk about what is “scary” in their own lives or in the life of the society as a whole, and then create drawings in response to the stories of others. Beginning with the artists’ own communities in San Antonio and New York City, Scary Stories explores how personal narratives reflect the collective concepts of danger and fearfulness among different social and cultural groups. With plans to expand the archive by recording in multiple locations nationally and internationally, Scary Stories fosters conversations between individuals and larger communities on the definitions and incarnations of fear, and creates the basis for mutual empathy and understanding through the fundamental acts of drawing and storytelling. Open Sessions 2 presents a selection of short films based on the stories and drawings recorded by Fauerso and Istomina in San Antonio and New York. The artists will be working in a recording room at the back of the gallery throughout the show, conducting interviews with visitors to the museum and documenting their stories and drawings. To sign up for an interview, please email artists at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patte Loper’s After Lebbeus: A Model for Drawing responds to the architecture of the Lab at The Drawing Center. It has been built intuitively, without a plan, using a language of experimental architecture inspired by Lebbeus Woods, whose drawings were exhibited by The Drawing Center in 2013. Loper will draw the built form from observation at set times during the exhibition, leaving the drawings behind as part of the installation.
Image: Mona Sharma, After "A", (detail), 2014, 5 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches (19 by 14 cm). Image courtesy of 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 basement 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.