press release

The Museum of Modern Art presents the third and final segment of Drawing from the Modern, the Museum’s year-long chronological exhibition of drawings from its extensive collection. Drawing from the Modern, 1975-2005 details the myriad influences on, and approaches by, a broad range of international artists during this era and testifies to the coming of age of drawing as an independent-and for many artists, primary-form of art. This installation will feature a wall-size drawing by Raymond Pettibon (American, b. 1957) at the entrance to the galleries, created by the artist for this installation. On view in The Paul J. Sachs Drawings Galleries on the third floor from September 14, 2005, through January 9, 2006, Drawing from the Modern, 1975-2005, is organized by Jordan Kantor, former Assistant Curator, Department of Drawings, The Museum of Modern Art, who is now Associate Professor of Painting and Humanities at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

Arranged in loose geographic or thematic groups designed to pull together clusters of artists working in the same milieu or vein of interest, the exhibition features more than 100 works by approximately 50 artists. The exhibition is presented in discrete sections, tracing a multifaceted history that, even today, continues to build upon and refer back to itself. The exhibition opens with drawings by artists working prior to 1975 but who continued to produce new work well into the last three decades, continues with works by those artists who came to the fore in the 1980s, and concludes with a broad range of international artists who have emerged since 1990. Many of the works in the exhibition are recent acquisitions that will be shown at MoMA for the first time, including drawings by Mark Grotjahn, Wangechi Mutu, Yoshitomo Nara, Cady Noland, and Nedko Solakov.

“This final installation of Drawing from the Modern will provide a great opportunity for visitors to see many important contemporary masterworks from the collection, some of which have not been on view in years,” said Mr. Kantor. “It also allows the Museum to offer a survey of many recent acquisitions of contemporary drawing.”

The first part of the exhibition comprises works by artists who were already working but continued to develop their art into the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, including such firmly established figures as Joseph Beuys, Philip Guston, and Andy Warhol. Warhol (American, 1928-1987) deployed imagery taken from photographs to produce many of his works, including Untitled (Skull) (1976), drawn with the aid of an overhead projector, while Guston (American, b. Canada, 1913-1980), whose Untitled (1980) appears in this section, drew images from his imagination in a style that referred to cartoons and comics.

The exhibition continues with works on paper by those artists who continued to develop in the 1970s and 1980s. Highlighting trends in both Europe and the United States, this section includes drawings by Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer, Martin Kippenberger, and Rosemarie Trockel, as well as Bruce Nauman, Susan Rothenberg, and Mike Kelley.

While many of American artists in the late 1970s and early 1980s dealt with the relationship between art and its histories, some of their senior European counterparts added a heady dose of politics to the mix. The American artists of the “Pictures” generation-whose central members included Sherrie Levine and Richard Prince-borrowed readymade images from sources like television, film, and art history. A series of 40 Levine (American, b. 1947) drawings included in the exhibition are the artist’s copies of published reproductions of original works of art; several generations removed from the iconic works themselves, they are ultimately a commentary on the art historical treatment of the object. Artists working in Europe at this time had emerged in a different context, their art often addressing the cultural reconstruction and representation in post-war Germany. Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, and Anselm Kiefer were among this group, with Kiefer (German, b. 1945) most overtly tackling his homeland’s Fascist past with works such as Dem unbekannten Maler (To the Unknown Painter) (1982), a drawing that imagines an artistic memorial in the courtyard of a building by Hitler’s chief architect Albert Speer.

The third, and largest, section of the exhibition features works on paper by a broad range of artists, including Marlene Dumas, Arturo Herrera, William Kentridge, and Gabriel Orozco, many of whom have emerged from countries beyond North America and Western Europe during the last 15 years. Works in this contemporary section reflect the larger political and social changes brought about by the end of the Cold War and the rise of globalization and its many manifestations.

While many artists of the early 1990s engaged in globalization as a topic-one that continues to resonate with artists today-others examined the effects of specific ideologies through the lens of local histories. The issue of race relations in America is represented in the work of Ellen Gallagher and Kara Walker. William Kentridge (South African, b. 1955) addresses the psychological and political ramifications of his country’s apartheid history in works such as Drawing for Stereoscope (Felix Crying)(1998-99), while Luc Tuymans (Belgian, b. 1958) reexamines the ways history is remembered and retold.

Through drawings such as One Hundred Lavish Months of Bushwhack (2004), which incorporates collage elements taken from glossy magazines such as Vogue and National Geographic, New York-based Wangechi Mutu (Kenya, b. 1972) links Africa’s 20th-century colonial history to 21st-century global consumerism. Mutu and other artists working today exemplify the current trend in art that proposes that personal and group identity are intimately allied with the consumption of mass media representations of popular culture and its personalities, a contemporary manifestation of the thread begun some 30 years earlier by Andy Warhol.

ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT OF DRAWINGS MoMA has one of the world’s most comprehensive single collections of modern drawings, with more than 7,000 works. It includes works in such traditional mediums as pencil, ink, charcoal, and watercolor, as well as collage, assemblage, and works in mixed mediums. The reinstallation of the collection into MoMA’s new galleries for drawings was organized by the curatorial staff of the Department of Drawings. The first installment, Drawing from the Modern, 1880-1945, was organized by Jodi Hauptman, Associate Curator; and the second, Drawing from the Modern, 1945-1975, was organized by Gary Garrels, former Chief Curator.

PUBLICATIONS The three volumes of Drawing from the Modern are the most comprehensive catalogues of MoMA’s drawings collection. In addition to highlighting masterworks of the collection, the books showcase new formal strategies-including collage, abstraction, chance, process, seriality, and the integration of text and image-and new subject matter, including the urban experience, the body, and identity. Volume three spans the period from 1975 to 2005 and includes work by Philip Guston, Bruce Nauman, Jean-Michel Basquiat, William Kentridge, Marlene Dumas, Kara Walker and many others. All three volumes of Drawing from the Modern are available at MoMA’s retail stores and at Drawing from the Modern, 1975-2005, by Jordan Kantor: Flexi-bound, 8.25 x 10.25/ 228 pages/179 color and 9 b&w illustrations/ hardcover. Publication date: September 2005

Drawing from the Modern, 1975-2005
Raymond Pettibon - Large Wall Drawing
Kurator: Jordan Kantor