Over the second half of the 1960s, drawing was taken apart as a discipline and put to multiple uses. Highlighting concepts of process, participation, and protest, the three series of work presented in this exhibition—all recent MoMA acquisitions—were produced at the climax of a decade that witnessed radical upheavals across social, political, and cultural borders. This simple chronological coincidence connects them in one aspect, yet in purpose, aesthetics, and address, the three artists have taken vastly divergent approaches. Whether turned inward, outward, or sideways, the visual experiences these works engender speak to the varied ways we choose to be present in the world.
Franz Erhard Walther emphasized the relationship between the art object and the body in space with his First Work Set (1963–69), a group of 58 fabric elements that can only be fully activated through human participation. Accompanying them is a suite of Work Drawings that Walther likened to musical scores, and that illustrate each object on both a functional and a conceptual level. The 24 untitled drawings that Willem de Kooning sketched with his eyes closed in 1966 offer a counterpoint to Walther’s project in their focus on the artist’s internal vision and personal action. Finally, Martha Rosler’s two House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home series (1967–72) turn a critical eye on the era’s sociopolitical context and expanding media sphere, especially as they played out in the bodies of women and victims of military violence.
Facilitators will be present in the galleries during designated hours to assist visitors in performing a selection of Walther's First Work Set.
Wednesdays, August 15, 2012–January 2, 2013, 12:00–4:00 p.m.; third Saturday of each month, August–December 2012, 12:00–4:00 p.m.
Organized by Christian Rattemeyer, The Harvey S. Shipley Miller Associate Curator of Drawings, with Ingrid Langston, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings.