D is for Drawing

The Drawing Center

Located at 35 Wooster St., New York, NY, 10013
Website:  https://drawingcenter.org/

If you are interested in the art of drawing even a little bit, and you are in New York for a day, this is the place you want to be. A visit to the Drawing Center is such a wonderful experience you are sure to return for more. 

The Drawing Center is a museum and exhibition space in downtown Manhattan. Founded in 1977, with the aim of exhibiting art by living artists in their own neighborhood, as well as to advance the medium of drawing. To quote from its website, The Drawing Center “explores the medium of drawing as primary, dynamic, and relevant to contemporary culture, the future of art, and creative thought.”

The Drawing Center was founded by Martha Beck, a former curator of contemporary art in the Department of Drawings at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). 

Since its opening, The Drawing Center has held exhibitions of works by established as well as emerging artists. Over the years, it has managed to expand the definition of what a drawing is, and what it can be. The artists whose extraordinary drawings have been part of the exhibitions include tattoo artists, chefs, novelists, soldiers, prisoners, all those who define themselves as visual artists.

The Drawing Center organizes in-person and online drawing workshops in multiple languages including ASL.

It holds many programs for students from across the five boroughs, to provide them with an in-depth visual art experience focused on the medium of drawing.

The bookstore dedicated to everything drawing has rare publications featuring legendary artists and past exhibitions. 

The Drawing Center provides on its website downloadable and printable material for drawing activities, designed for all ages, to help teachers.

To raise funds to support its exhibitions, publications, public programs, and education initiatives, The Drawing Center holds an annual gala., which this year falls on May 3, 2023.

When I last visited in October 2022, the three exhibitions going on were as diverse as could be.

Drawings created by Jorge Zontal, a member of the General Idea collective based out of Toronto, Canada. Zontal basically uses a certain figure or motif repeatedly to drive home an idea. 

The drawings were grouped thematically in the main gallery to provide visual testament to the drawings’ obsessive nature and to General Idea’s propulsive creative tendency. The drawings were for the most part untitled.

Pen and ink drawings by El-Salahi, one of the most significant artists in African and Arab modernism. 

Featuring over a hundred drawings from El-Salahi’s latest series, titled Pain Relief, this exhibition marked the first museum presentation of the artist’s drawings since his 2013 retrospective at Tate Modern.

Drafted on the back of medicine packets, pill bottle labels, envelopes, and scraps of paper, El-Salahi’s Pain Relief drawings serve as a form of respite for the 92-year-old artist, who finds diversion from his chronic pain through his daily drawing practice. 

I could spend hours looking at these drawings; they are so intricate and so full of minute details that one can never finish looking at them.

We Rule – an installation by New York-based artist Catherine Chalmers, inspired by her observation of and engagement with more than one dozen colonies of Leafcutter Ants on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. For the artist, Leafcutter Ants can be seen as a metaphor for humanity’s life on earth: they farm, communicate, and collaborate; they also colonize, battle, and destroy. Yet the drawings in We Rule highlights a significant way that the insects diverge from humans – as an integrated part of their ecosystem, the ants carry out their actions in harmony with the earth.

Current Exhibitions (Through May 14, 2023)

Xiyadie: Queer Cut Utopias

Queer Cut Utopias features Chinese artist Xiyadie’s intricate paper-cuts, dating from the early 1980s through today. Xiyadie’s singular artistic language originated in the more traditional techniques of paper-cutting, and his expertise allows the artist to develop intricate compositions.

Of Mythic Worlds: Works from the Distant Past through the Present

Exploring the ways in which rituals, myths, traditions, ideologies, and beliefs can intersect across cultures, histories, and time periods, the exhibition brings together fifty-three works by more than thirty artists.

Comment (1)

  1. Molly of Molly's Canopy

    This is another new-to-me, and one I have added to my must-visit list. So glad you are doing these reviews!


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