Open Sessions is a program that provides opportunities for selected artists to find new approaches for contextualizing and exhibiting their work through conversation, public programs, and gallery installations. Open Sessions fosters a dynamic, ever-evolving dialogue with new drawing practices and practitioners, viewing drawing as an activity rather than a product. We understand drawing as a practice both concrete and metaphorical, a space for assertion, conjecture, and digression. Drawing may or may not be the primary means of art-making for Open Sessions artists.
Open Sessions occurs in a two-year cycle of events and exhibitions (described below), the content for which is conceptualized, developed, and realized by the participants. While all artists do not participate in every event, they are each committed to and engaged in establishing an ongoing dialogue with their peers. The program is organized by Open Sessions Curators Rosario Güiraldes and Lisa Sigal and is comprised of the following:
In the second year of the cycle, all Open Sessions artists participate in an exhibition in The Drawing Center’s Main Gallery, contributing work that best manifests and/or expands what drawing is. In addition, Open Sessions artists organize and participate in multiple smaller-group exhibitions in The Lab. Open Sessions artists are involved in all aspects of planning the exhibitions: choosing themes and titles, writing promotional materials, and developing public programs. Open Sessions also seeks to forge alliances with partner institutions to expand audiences and exhibition platforms.
Open Sessions artists are invited to present work in process during monthly dinners hosted by the Open Sessions curators. Artists benefit from the exchange of work methodologies, opportunities, and resources. Special guests may also contribute to the dinner’s conversation. Working dinners foster an environment where artists become invested in each other’s work and process.
Open Sessions Curators visit artists’ studios in preparation for The Lab and Main Gallery exhibitions. Throughout the two-year cycle each artist is visited at least twice. Guest artists and curators may also visit the artists.
Furthering our mission to engage in an open and responsive conversation, Open Sessions hosts a series of talks during the course of each cycle. The talks are open to the public and guest speakers are invited to participate directly.
A publication of Open Sessions artist conversations that address the future of drawing is produced at the end of each cycle.
Open Sessions is made possible by The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation and, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.
Image: Regina Agu. Fiction Diptych (Drape No. 2), 2016. Graphite on paper. 12 x 9 inches.