David Schorr. Flying Carpets

5 Jan — 18 Feb 2017 at Ryan Lee in New York, United States

Installation view of David Schorr: Flying Carpets. Courtesy of Ryan Lee, New York.
Installation view of David Schorr: Flying Carpets. Courtesy of Ryan Lee, New York.
12 JAN 2017

Ryan Lee is pleased to announce Flying Carpets, new paintings by David Schorr in his practiced technique of combining gouache and silverpoint on linen. With vibrant racecars and taxis zooming across the undulating forms of carpets, Schorr revisits childhood days spent playing on his grandmother’s Persian rugs.

Trucks carrying paint tubes and brightly colored trains traverse intricate paisley designs, while toy planes soar midst coffee cans and mailing labels. In recreating this fantastical world, Schorr restores his youthful imagination. In each painting, Schorr contrasts familiar toys from the mid-20th century with Caucasian prayer rugs and vintage ephemera that once hinted at the vast and exciting world beyond his grandmother’s Chicago home.

From glass milk bottles to the turbaned genie on a tin coffee can, these household objects and steel toy vehicles recall an era before plastic, during an earlier day of commercial travel when the possibilities of adventure and discovery felt infinite.

Flying Carpets expands the artist’s work with collections, text, and the animation of everyday objects. Although certain ephemera and carpet patterns may seem like inventions, Schorr researches these historical objects and then acquires them through eBay or while traveling.

Schorr’s interest in fabric and how it drapes also appears throughout his practice, as he previously explored woven Indian cloth in Khadi (2002) and checkered kitchen towels and handkerchiefs in The Imaginary Life Of Ordinary Things: the dish ran away with the spoon (2006).

The lettering and brand names of Flying Carpets similarly reflect the attention to logos and package design in Goods (2008), the polyglot bottle labels in Apothecary (2012), and Schorr’s many illustrations and commissions for literary publications. The exhibition is accompanied by an artist book designed by David Schorr, featuring an essay by poet Jonathan Galassi. A native of Chicago, educated at Brown and Yale, David Schorr lives and works between New York City and Middletown, CT.

He has been a Professor of Art at Wesleyan since 1971, as well as an adjunct professor at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad. Schorr has been a Fulbright Scholar three times. His work has been reproduced in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, and The New Republic. Schorr has been commissioned for murals and posters by the Kennedy Center, the Metropolitan Opera, Scaramouche restaurant in Toronto, Verdi restaurant in Santa Monica, and many other private and public institutions.

Schorr’s work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, Cambridge; the New York Public Library; the Israel Museum in Jerusalem; the Morgan Library, New York; the Museum of Modern Art in New York; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, among others.

Schorr’s work has been written about by Paul Monette, Phyllis Rose, Richard Howard, Judith Thurman, Stephen Greenblatt, and Jonathan Galassi.