Exhibition

Drawing Then: Innovation and Influence in American Drawings of the Sixties

27 Jan 2016 – 19 Mar 2016

New York
New York, United States

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Drawing Then will investigate revolutionary developments in the practice of drawing that emerged in the United States during a decade of radical social and political upheaval.

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Drawing Then is inspired by—and coincides with the 40th anniversary of—the 1976 exhibition Drawing Now, organized by Bernice Rose at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. In her seminal catalogue essay, Rose wrote that “a number of artists have, and with increasing intensity since the middle sixties, seriously investigated the nature of drawing, investing major energies in a fundamental reevaluation of the medium, its disciplines, and its uses.” Forty years after Drawing Now, Drawing Then will fill Dominique Lévy Gallery with more than 70 works by 40 artists, almost half of whom were not represented in the 1976 exhibition.

Drawing Then features loans from The Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, among other institutions, and includes works from the private collections of artists Mel Bochner, Vija Celmins, Jasper Johns, Adrian Piper, and Dorothea Rockburne. Drawing Then will also present two wall drawings installed on the occasion of the exhibition: the first, Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing #20, comprised of systematically drawn colored pencil lines, will be realized for the first time since its debut at Dwan Gallery in 1969. LeWitt’s wall drawings demonstrate, in the words of Lawrence Alloway, “the possibility of drawing as pure ratiocination.” On the gallery’s second floor, Mel Bochner will install his far less structured Superimposed Grids, originally conceived in 1968.

Drawing Then is curated by Kate Ganz. Ganz is the author of eleven scholarly catalogues on drawings, and co-author of the exhibition catalogue for The Drawings of Annibale Carracci, an exhibition she co-organized as a guest curator at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., in 1999. She is currently the Senior Editor of The Catalogue Raisonné of the Drawings of Jasper Johns, a multi-volume project to be published by the Menil Drawings Institute and Study Center in Houston, Texas.

In conjunction with Drawing Then, Dominique Lévy will publish a catalogue featuring essays by scholars Roni Feinstein, Suzanne Hudson, Anna Lovatt, Griselda Pollock, Richard Shiff, and Robert Storr. Each essay will address the ways in which a different movement or artist participated in changing the definition of drawing. The catalogue will include a newly commissioned work by contemporary poet Mei-mei Berssenbrugge titled "Star Being." The book will also feature rare archival material; artists’ biographies; and a comprehensive chronology linking developments in the art world with the larger social and political events of the decade, including the Civil Rights Movement, Feminist Movement, Vietnam War, and widespread student protests.     

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