The Drawing Center presents Drawing Time, Reading Time from November 15, 2013 to January 12, 2014. This exhibition brings together an international group of artists spanning the 1960s to today, all of whom are engaged in exploring the relationship between drawing and writing as distinct yet interrelated gestures. Artists include Carl Andre, Pavel Büchler, Guy de Cointet, Mirtha Dermisache, Sean Landers, Allen Ruppersberg, Nina Papaconstantinou, Deb Sokolow, and Molly Springfield. This exhibition is organized simultaneously with Marking Language at Drawing Room, London (October 10–December 14, 2013) and a joint publication will be produced.
Now commonplace, visual art’s preoccupation with language had its roots in an unexpected linguistic turn circa 1960, when artists sought to recover a direct, sensory experience of the world. Paradoxically, language became a favored tool in this effort, as artists such as Mel Bochner, Hanne Darboven, and Lawrence Weiner submitted the written word to verbal and visual manipulation in order to evacuate conventional meaning and uncover the materiality of language.
Drawing Time, Reading Time considers a different path, one that emerged simultaneously with Conceptual Art but that embraced language as a means of questioning the written word’s communicative transparency on the one hand and visual art’s material opacity on the other. The nine artists in Drawing Time, Reading Time do not challenge writing and drawing’s integrity as distinct disciplines, each with its own parameters. Instead, they investigate ways in which each discipline has a dual character and how, when considered together, they reflect upon and complicate each other.
Rather than presenting a survey of artists using language during the last 50 years, the exhibition looks in depth at a select number of American and international artists as case studies within a more widespread trend. It is organized on the basis of visual and conceptual affinities rather than chronologically. Approaches are varied, ranging from Nina Papaconstantinou’s labor intensive transcriptions of entire texts on carbon copy paper to Allen Ruppersberg’s drawings of book covers juxtaposed with the time he projects spending reading each book, and including Deb Sokolow’s drawn chapters for a book that will never fully exist. Taken together, the work on hand addresses the struggle for communication and self-expression in their diverse forms. Curated by Claire Gilman, Curator.