Channa Horwitz. From left: Sonakinatography I Movement #III for Multi-media. 1969. Casein and ink on graph paper. The Modern Women’s Fund, 2016; Sonakinatography Movement #II Sheet B 1st Variation. 1969. Casein and pencil on graph paper. The Modern Women’s Fund, 2016; Slices, Top to Bottom. 1975. Ink on Mylar. Gifts of the artist’s estate, 2016. Rhythm of Lines 8–7. 1988. Casein and 23-karat gold leaf on Mylar. Gifts of the artist’s estate, 2016. Rhythm of Lines 6–8. 1988. Casein and 23-karat gold leaf on Mylar. Gifts of the artist’s estate, 2016. Digital image © 2016 The Museum of Modern Art

This group of drawings represents a selection of newly acquired works by Channa Horwitz, who, beginning in the 1960s in Los Angeles, developed a system of permutational drawing that is at once conceptually rigorous and visually rich. In her breakthrough series Sonakinatography—whose title means “sound” (sona), “motion” (kineto), and “notation” (graphy)—Horwitz employed colors and numbers to plot movement over time. The graph paper she used, which featured eight squares per inch, led her to work in sequences of eight. For Slices, Top to Bottom (1975), Horwitz extended this investigation, tracing the intersections between eight continuous lines and then taking a cross-section of the resulting form. And in her Rhythm of Lines series (1988), she considered eight different angles at which two lines could intersect and assigned a different color to each angle; the addition of gold leaf gives shimmering form to her rule-based logic. Though these drawings stand on their own, they have also been used as scores for music, dance, and light-based works.

Organized by the Department of Drawings and Prints.

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