Portraits from the École des Beaux-Arts Paris
This exhibition explores four hundred years of portrait drawings 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 collection of Beaux-Arts de Paris based on diverse criteria such as the male and female gestures, caricature, and 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 outside walls 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 never-before-exhibited drawings by seventeenth-century luminaries Jean-Auguste-Dominique Inges, Jacques-Louis David, 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
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 stories of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. 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 will present a selection of approximately forty drawings out of a total of seventy-five images dealing with thirty-six tales. The drawings will be 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 intersections between body and mind, reality and fiction, the series can be seen as a contemporary reimagining of a symbolist legacy.
Curated by Claire Gilman, Curator.
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm is made possible by the support of The Evelyn Toll Family Foundation, Marrill Mahan, Stephanie Ingrassia, Sarah Peter, Kim Manocherian, Irwin 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 artist and Rhona Hoffman Gallery (Chicago); ACME (Los Angeles).
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).
Abdelkader Benchamma will create an astrological vortex in his strikingly graphic, site-specific drawing Representation of Dark Matter (2015). Rendered in intensely black lines against the wall’s white surface, the work is a painstaking depiction of the complexity of the solar system and its nearly imperceptible dark matter. The physically expansive image consists of swirling masses of lines that resemble scientific illustrations of the Big Bang and allude to explosive cosmic forces. Benchamma’s monochromatic use of such drawing tools as felt-tip pens, ink, and charcoal create a subtle array of tones and textures. In addition to the highly articulated drawing, the piece comprises a wooden construction adorned with collages from pages of old astronomy encyclopedias, symbolizing the structured scaffolding on which our universe is built. As an occult mapping of time and space, the 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 Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde.
Image: Abdelkader Benchamma, Hole and Landscape, 2013. Ink and pen on paper, 21.65 x 17.72 inches.
Open Sessions 3
Open Sessions continues with artist-directed group exhibitions and public programs.
With artists Zach Rockhill, Steffani Jemison, Jina Valentine, Annette Cords, Nyeema Morgan, Ernesto Caivano, and Becky Brown.
Image: Yara Pina, Untitled 4, 2012. Charred frame destruction. Courtesy of the artist, photo by Glayson Arcanjo.
The Drawing Center presents a selection of videos by Turkish artist İnci Eviner, whose work forges a relationship between new-media techniques and traditional Turkish art practices. The repetitive, hypnotically shifting scenes depicted in the artist’s videos address contemporary feminism at the crossroads of the East and West (“the face of the middle-class woman,” as she puts it), while exploring broader historical narratives and notions of the body and performance. Eviner’s complex scenes employ a wide variety of drawing traditions, including engravings, ceramic tile designs, and architectural plans. “For me," the artist says, "drawing is very lively, very necessary." "The line is very conceptual…and at the same time very expressive.”
Curated by Brett Littman, Executive Director.
Image: İnci Eviner. Parliament, 2010, 1080p25 HD video data with stereo, 3 min. Copyright İnci Eviner 2010. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nev, Istanbul.