The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection, acquired by the Museum in 2005, is an extraordinary collection of over 2,500 contemporary works on paper. Through a selection of more than three hundred works, this first comprehensive presentation of the gift surveys the various methods and materials within the styles of gestural and geometric abstraction, representation and figuration, and systems-based and conceptual drawings. The exhibition brings together historical works by Lee Bontecou and Joseph Beuys; Minimalist and Conceptual works by Donald Judd and Hanne Darboven; detailed narrative drawings by Elizabeth Peyton and John Currin; collages by Amelie von Wulffen, Mona Hatoum, Lucy McKenzie and Paulina Olowska; and large-scale installations by Nate Lowman and Ján Mancuska, to name just a few. In its exploration of diverse artistic tendencies at the turn of the twenty-first century, this exhibition proudly celebrates the panoramic state of drawing today.
Artists today are expanding the traditional definition of drawing beyond merely “a work on paper,” to include the use of unconventional media. Acclaimed artist Kelley Walker, for example, has helped to evolve the definition of drawing with his innovative work in the digital realm. His work nine disasters (Florida City; Maui; Moran; San Fernando Valley; Anchorage; Kobe; Elba; Los Angeles; TWA Flight 800) (2002), a recent addition to the Museum’s collection, comprises nine digital images of disasters taken from mass media. The images are arranged in a grid and superimposed with a constellation of circles made by the artist. Walker stipulates that the images can be reproduced and disseminated as often as desired and on any variety of materials. In consultation with the artist, the work was reproduced as wallpaper for the exhibition Compass in Hand—and it’s also available as a free download.
Organized by Christian Rattemeyer, The Harvey S. Shipley Miller Associate Curator of Drawings, with Cornelia H. Butler, The Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings.