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Day Job

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THE D R AWI N G CENTER


The Drawing Center December 10, 2010 – February 3, 2011 MAIN GALLERY


Day Job

Curated by Nina Katchadourian


DR AW ING PA P ERS 95

Introduction by Nina Katchadourian


Day Job

So how’s work going? Do you mean “work” or do you mean work work? The overlap and confusion inherent in that answer is the basis for this exhibition. The cliché is that the day job is nothing but a ball and chain: “If I didn’t have to work this damn job, I’d be spending all my time in the studio, doing the work I’m really meant to be doing.” The job can be a source of resentment, a drain on an artist’s time, a necessary factor of life that makes possible the pursuit of the creative project but ultimately something the artist would like to cast off and be free of for good. Doing so is even seen as a benchmark of success: “I can now quit my day job.” But this exhibition looks for the generative and productive relationship that can also exist between work and “work.” It asks how the skills, facilities, knowledge or working conditions encountered on the job infiltrate artistic practice. It looks for what can be borrowed, repurposed or pilfered, perhaps both figuratively and literally, from the job environment and imported into the studio. There are those who kept their day jobs while seriously pursuing their creative practice: Alan Saret worked for New York’s Port Authority engineering division; Rosalyn Drexler was a professional wrestler; Adrian Piper has long been a respected philosopher and philosophy professor. And there are those whose workaday life became a source of subject matter, as advertising and graphic design did for Barbara Kruger and Andy Warhol. But I was curious how these questions played out in the present day, so I issued an open call for artists in the Viewing Program to propose either existing works that had sprung from something related to

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their jobs or new projects that would explicitly take up the day job as a starting point. Over 300 proposals came back in response, and reading through them I began to feel like a sociologist asking: What are artists doing at this point in time to support themselves? How are artists contending with tough economic times? A great number of the proposals came from artists working in New York City, where financial pressures are particularly pronounced, and where the prospect of art-world success continues to fuel aspirations and the determination to stick it out until that happens. What did these proposals reveal? As expected, artists worked jobs within the art world: studio assistant, gallery guard, art professor, art handler. There were also careers entirely outside of it: electrician, office manager, lawyer, pilot. And because of this latter category, it was interesting to think that even among the many people one encounters outside the art world there could be those who spend part of their lives engaged in the complicated act of trying to make art. I was also interested in a larger question. The day job stands in the way of “freedom,� but is complete freedom necessarily the best climate for productivity? Is the choice to keep the day job a way of imposing some structure on life, to bring discipline to at least one facet of existence, to counterbalance the stress of the unpredictable ebb and flow of the studio? And if you chose to work, do you choose a job that’s very different from your creative work, so as not to sap energy from it, or do you parlay your artistic abilities into something that you can get paid for? This exhibition catalogue is meant to function as a handbook for the show. The original proposal statements have been included in more or less their original form so that the reader may have access to the unmediated voices of the artists. It is my hope that the experience of reading them will be similar to my own. When The Drawing Center was founded in 1977, the Viewing Program was already included in its mission. The program invited artists to become part of a registry of drawing-based works, and it extended the opportunity to meet with the Viewing Program Curator. It opened up a channel of access to the institution and

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fostered a connection to the artists’ community. Inherent to the program was also the idea that the conversation should be one between two practitioners, and so the Viewing Program Curator was by definition also an artist. This still remains true, and this is my day job. —Nina Katchadourian Viewing Program Curator

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Chris Akin b. 1969, Houston, Texas Lives and works in Houston, Texas

I stand guard. I watch. I listen. I intervene when necessary by saying, “Please don’t touch the works of art.” My day job?—museum guard. A painting by Giorgio de Chirico may be viewed by someone with great respect and admiration for the artist and his work. The same painting may be approached by the fresh eyes and small fingers of a child eager to touch what his mother is paying such close attention to. My job calls—“Don’t touch.” As an artist working to preserve and protect cultural treasures in the museum, I have ample opportunity to see great works of art and be inspired by them. Yet it is not only specific works but the museum itself, and in particular the floor that I stand on, that attracts my attention. The floor has visual potential that, as an artist, I am eager to explore. I keep a sheet of letter-size paper folded into eighths in my pocket. Each of the eight spaces on the sheet becomes a rectangular working space in which a drawing or composition can take place. When there is an opportunity, I will take out my pen and paper and make a drawing. My current works are largely panoramic views, some more extensive than others in the space they attempt to take in, of the interior gallery spaces of The Menil Collection. The drawings describe the shapes of the floor that are visible from positions in the gallery. The day-to-day process of guarding conditions the eyes to survey the room, and walking through the galleries becomes a visual and behavioral habit that informs the concepts contained in the drawings. The floor reveals itself as a shape of infinite variety.

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Menil Gallery View Drawing, November 28, 2009, 2009


Pasquale Cortese b. 1948, Bari, Italy Lives and works in State College, Pennsylvania

Currently I work as a mechanical assembler of satellite communications equipment. Using blueprints, I assemble complex systems consisting of high-power amplifiers, satellite modems, and converters connected by intricate cabling. These modems convert input bit streams of data into radio signals and vice versa. My work requires a high degree of technical precision. Specifically, blue prints and electrical wiring schematics are very detailed and have to be followed exactly. My primary concern is making sure that the modules are connected properly to conduct the electrical information throughout the systems. My work requires intense hand-eye coordination. Patterns in the blueprints have sparked ideas for my drawings. After a lifetime of working with electricity, my art work reflects flows of energy. It begins with a detailed pencil drawing and proceeds through a meticulous, labor-intensive inking process that requires a high level of concentration. The final drawings transcend the detailed process and become fields of energy that warp and weave the surface with light. So in a sense, I bring my work ethic to my art process, but the beauty is that the final drawing is transcendent and takes me beyond the mundane work-a-day world. While the products of my day job are complex systems that enable global communications, my drawings are visual delights to me. Infinity, energy, and light play about in the final drawings and bring me a satisfaction I cannot get at my day job. Similarly concentrated means bring about completely different ends.

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Untitled, 2009


Elizabeth Duffy b. 1964, Tachikawa, Japan Lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island and Acworth, New Hampshire

Beginning with a temp position at AIG nearly two decades ago, I found that “looking busy� is part of most job requirements. I learned that by drawing, or by Xeroxing a book and then highlighting the copied pages as I read, I kept under the radar, and busy on my own terms. I find inspiration in the quiet tedium of the workplace. My current work is made from the materials of the workplace, in particular, the security envelope patterns that protect individual privacy. I collect these envelopes from my job and from friends and neighbors, and I use them to create installations from the envelope windows and objects from the myriad patterns within. Recently I have been working on a project that explores the intrusion of the workplace into the domestic realm: Insidious Objects takes the comforting icons of home life and wraps them in the security envelope patterns that apparently guard our privacy. I am interested in using the mail as a material because it is so quickly becoming obsolete, and fears about its disappearance express the anxiety that accompanies exponential change in our culture. In my work I hope to suspend time momentarily by making the viewer aware of the often overlooked beauty below the surface of everyday life. For Day Job I have created curtains for the windows of the Drawing Center. The curtains are made from fabric printed with the security envelope pattern from a bill I received in the mail. I first drew the envelope interior, then scanned the drawing and printed it onto the fabric. The modulated tonalities of the graphite emulate the uneven process of the offset printing of the original and hint at the personal information the printing was meant to hide.

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Security Envelope Curtains (detail), 2010


Caroline Falby b. 1975, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York

For the last four years I have been working as a stay-at-home Mom. The discovery that I was going to have twin boys altered my life dramatically. I was warned that having children would change my artistic ambitions. Through some lucky breaks, I was encouraged to keep producing artwork, which I did after my kids went to bed. Although I had begun exploring legends in my work before the boys were born, myth and fairytale became parables for more personal issues. My Changeling series sets up parallels between precautions illustrated in Jacob Grimm’s German Mythology (1835) and the current “war against terror.” Grimm’s book lists four rules mothers should follow to prevent infant abduction by elves. Two of these rules advise using men’s clothes as a barrier of protection, reminiscent of the 2003 government warning that Americans should stock up on duct tape and plastic to use as protection against a “dirty bomb.” The same legend also relates to my early experiences as a mother. Like the changeling character, my babies could never be satiated and I felt that my sole purpose was to breast-feed. The changeling narrative can be read as one of post-natal depression. My work is still heavily influenced by my sons’ books and toys. For example, I have introduced their toy animals into my Changeling battle narrative as a nod to Babar and its imperialist values. In my drawings, these figures move about statically, like action figures. I’ve also incorporated images from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami to illustrate the common destruction of both natural and manmade disasters. Making art has helped me work through many of my concerns as a mother—both personal and social. My drawings have become contemporary allegories of my own experience.

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Changeling Battle No. 3, 2009


Alex Gingrow b. 1979, Knoxville, Tennessee Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York

I currently work a full time job as a mat cutter at a frame shop in midtown Manhattan. I have realized that, in the art world, the frame shop essentially functions like the neighborhood barbershop, or better yet, the red-headed step-child of an already dysfunctional family. Clients feel free to discuss inner dealings and gallery gossip in our showroom as if none of us should or could have any regard for their lack of discretion. Over the past three years, I have collected these nuggets of conversation and have sought out tidbits from others who hold lowly but otherwise vital positions within galleries and institutions. I have, at the same time, collected numerous provenance stickers from the backs of frames and portfolios and have appropriated them with my own name and titles and details. The impetus for this body of work came from one particular conversation with a client who reminded us to remove the provenance stickers from the old frames and to adhere them to the new frames because “all the money is in the label.” My work explores both the idiocy and the irony of such a sentiment. The stickers are an exercise in infinite self-reflection in that the drawing (the simulation of the “money,” yet actually the item of worth) is the mirror of what would appear on the provenance label on the back of the frame (the “money,” yet also the genesis for the actual item of worth, i.e. the drawing). In this way, the client’s statement is fully realized and actually legitimized. Ironically, I need the stickers, the statements, and the ugly realities of the art business in order to continue to make this work that is a sharp critique of the stickers, the statements, and the ugly realities of the art business to which I am privy every day.

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You have to pay your fucking artists, 2010


Tom Hooper b. 1954, Chattanooga, Tennessee Lives and works in New York, New York

My day job is Master Scenic Artist for the Soap Opera One Life To Live, for which I am prepared to instantly render any faux surface design, bullet hole, blood spill, or fire-burn effects. I can make breakaway vases and doors, generate computer graphics, and restore vintage paintings. One week I created six different sketches from six different angles by six different artists for a life-drawing class. For ten years I have been the ghost artist for one character, seeing him through his emergence and changes and style. The actor immediately adopts the art as his own, expressing feelings, interpreting meaning. It pleases me to see how easily he slips into “my line.” So when the camera focuses in, the art is viewed as the character defines it: a romantic struggle to find oneself. The actor often remarks, “don’t think, don’t edit, just put down what you feel with color and line. Live on the canvas.” If he only knew. So as an afterthought I just let it happen as well. I create my artwork while on the job. On my worktable I place a thirty-by-forty-inch illustration board and let the day take its course. Paint is spilled, smudged, tested, and matched. Images from the show spill over onto it. A gesture, expression, or pose appears. Sometimes I’ll make a note from a phone call or confrontation. In time and without conscious intentions, the work takes shape. I remove the illustration board, replace it, and the process continues. The term “artist” has come to mean, “a person skilled at some activity,” even when that activity is not his own. So my advice is, create a character and just act your way through it.

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Misinterpret, 2010


Alexa Horochowski b. 1965, Columbia, Missouri; raised in Patagonia, Argentina Lives and works in Minneapolis, Minnesota

In my day job as sculpture professor at St. Cloud State University, I teach three-dimensional design to beginning art students. One assignment for this class requires students to build a wood structure with a repeating pattern. Students are not allowed to use any fasteners and instead must fit the pieces of wood together using joints. I recall one student who created a sculpture that looked something like a three-dimensional scribble. It was constructed out of dowels cut into small sections that fit together to form curvilinear lines wrapped around each other, like a giant hairball. Technically the work did not follow the assignment because it was put together with glue gun, but visually and conceptually it broke new ground. This past summer I was invited to a residency at Art of This Gallery, an alternative venue in Minneapolis. I had five days to install and take down my work. I decided to build a structure using dowels and a glue gun. The cheap materials and quick construction method made a large scale possible. The eighth-inch diameter of the dowels gave the sculpture the qualities of a drawing, with lines too thin to be viewed as mass. The whole structure appeared to vanish and reappear as one walked around it, the natural light affecting the visibility of each dowel. This piece, entitled Dowel Mountain was influenced by a response to an assignment that, under the tutelage of a less curious instructor, could have been considered a failure instead of a breakthrough. I continued this exploration by expanding and refining the materials for Rock. With clear acrylic rods instead of wooden dowels, and seated on mirrored steel, the piece moves even further towards transparency. It walks a line between drawing and volume, failure and breakthrough, the visible and invisible.

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Rock, 2010


Dawn Hunter b. 1967, St. Charles, Missouri Lives and works in Columbia, South Carolina

I teach at a public university where I am an associate professor and the foundations coordinator. My job allows me to be continually in conversation about art with my students and colleagues. Since my teaching is specifically focused in the area of foundations (introductory classes that address the elements and principles of 2-D and 3-D design), I find that not only am I often preoccupied with the signifying power of abstract or representational forms within their given context, but also with the internal mechanics of art and object creation. The works I am submitting are existent and are biographically inspired by my collegial life in the department in which I work. In my experience, within an art department, one finds highly creative and competitive individuals who attempt to function as a productive collective. Everyday actions can be read as political and posturing gestures. Sometimes there are veiled jealousies. And often the agendas of each individual are highly impassioned endeavors, which makes identifying any central aim within the department “swamp” difficult. Faculty retreats intended to define and create a mission statement can feel like “herding cats.” “Are we building something or tearing something down?” is the question asked in my large orange painting Art Department. The figures are composed as a group that is not whole or together. Instead of straightforward portraiture, the figures and their gestures function as symbolic forms with regard to their identities and their meaning to me: friend, foe, or bystander. The process of creating such works has been cathartic, and they express my feelings as these relate to the jealousy, competition, and power within a group dynamic of artists who are also professors and administrators.

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Art Department, 2009


Michael Krueger b. 1967, Kenosha, Wisconsin Lives and works in Lawrence, Kansas

My day job for many years has been a Professor of Art at different universities in the Midwest. In many ways this is an ideal job for an artist who hopes to support a family and have parcels of time to make art. When I first got my teaching job I thought, “What could be better? I get to teach what I love and be immersed in a culture of art and get to work with a bunch of artists.” It turns out that teaching art in academia is akin to going to work everyday in a psychiatric ward. For every great thinker and brilliant creative mind there are ten menacing buffoons who live for shifting minutiae and academic bickering. The upside is that I get to teach creative young people and I still get to teach what I love—drawing. What has impacted my work most, though, is the magnificent landscape of the Great Plains. The university where I currently teach is situated smack in the middle of the country and surrounded by a sea of prairie. I am completely smitten with the landscape, and it has proved to be great inspiration for my drawings. The drawing that I created for this exhibition addresses both the geographic location of my day job and my day-to-day interactions within academia. As inspiration, I looked closely at Pieter Bruegel the Elder, and more specifically his paintings Netherlandish Proverbs (1559), The Fight Between Carnival and Lent (1559), and Children’s Games (1560). My drawing scatters the fools, free thinkers, burned out hippies, corrupt administrators, evil minions, dull pheasants, and broken souls of academia on the lonesome prairie. My hope is to portray the vastness and ruggedness of the landscape, and to use extreme color to bring a sense of urgency to a scene ripe with lunacy and absurd behavior.

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Proverbial Academia (detail), 2010


Shawn Kuruneru b. 1984, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York

Three years ago I came to New York from Canada to learn about the international art world. I learned first-hand about New York’s art scene by interning and assisting at non-profit spaces, galleries, and artists’ studios in Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, East Hampton, and Woodstock. I have emptied hundreds of raw eggs for a performance piece, recorded vocals and music for a sound sculpture, modeled, cut mirrors, covered buildings in vinyl, silver-plated wood, and meticulously applied glitter to huge canvases. All of my assistance has been a stepping stone to my own day job as an artist. Consistency and repetitiveness is what I take from these experiences in order to create meditative and spiritual drawings. I use generic pens to make ink-dot drawings that cover entire surfaces and leave only small areas blank. I make the works without any preconceived pattern or composition in mind in order to create a sense of wonder that allows viewers to connect the dots and find their own images. Using dots is a way for me to revert back to a basic form of mark making and to talk about drawing as the way to understand the beginning of an idea. My pieces reflect an active choice to bring the labor-intensive, repetitive experiences of my day jobs to the freedom I have in my own studio.

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Minor threat, 2010


Deanna Lee b. 1970, Carmel, New York Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York

For fifteen years I have worked as a full-timer and freelancer for art museums. I have managed collections, installed art objects, and edited and produced catalogues and signage. To varying degrees my art has been inspired by objects I have handled and by language and graphic design issues. From my day jobs I have learned that presenting ideas and objects to the public means modifying rooms to create environments that serve curatorial intentions, including camouflaging the imperfections of galleries that appear to be flawless to the everyday viewer. For Day Job, I will create a site-specific work based on the floor slope of the main gallery of The Drawing Center. Since 2006 I have installed ten exhibitions there and I know that the floor slopes dramatically toward the rear of the building. It’s not apparent to most viewers, but it profoundly affects the installation of works on the long sidewalls. My project will draw attention to the slope of the floor by installing a drawing along the base of one long wall. I will begin by drawing a level line starting from the base of the wall at the front of the gallery. The resulting long, thin triangular shape created by this line and the bottom of the wall will form the outer border of the drawing. Within this shape I will draw clustered linear motifs evoking geological strata, topographical maps, and organic systems. By drawing attention to the slope at floor level, this project will highlight the reality of human labor, the shifting weight of the building over time, and the challenges of presenting the illusion of perfection in imperfect spaces.

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Study for Inclination Inspection Drawing (detail), 2010


Mary Lydecker b. 1982, Washington, D.C. Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York

I am a landscape architect and an artist. During the day, I design real landscapes—parks and streetscapes, master plans and gardens. Conceptual designs ultimately turn into construction documents for building spaces that must function physically, socio-economically, and ecologically. At night and on weekends I make collages using found postcards. I splice disparate landscapes together to create vistas of imagined and fantastic environments. The seamlessness of the intersection between the two landscapes—a single cut line—creates the illusion that the places are real spaces. For example, the buildings of Hartford, Connecticut, are joined to the rugged terrain of the Rocky Mountains; a highway interchange in Stockholm is merged with a horse track in Hong Kong; a tropical-beach scene in Mexico is inserted at the base of a hydroelectric dam in Colorado. These collages compress geographic distance. At first glance they often appear familiar, before closer study reveals the line between distinct landscape typologies or patterns of urban development. My impulse to make these images is influenced by my job, where bold landscape visions are balanced against practical considerations. These images are an opportunity to ignore reality. They also sharply contract the time-frame of constructing a project; instead of years, the creation of a large-scale landscape occurs in just moments through the single cut. These collages are also a reaction to the shift of design work away from hand drawing and towards computer-based representation tools. In contrast to the process of Photoshop, for example, where images are quickly and reversibly cut and pasted together, these postcards are physically cut, resulting in new, singular objects.

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Westgate Shopping Center (Asheville, NC) / Glacier National Park (MT), 2010


Raul J Mendez b. 1973, Caracas, Venezuela Lives and works in Miami, Florida

I support myself by captaining MD-11 jets for a small cargo company. Flying internationally has had a profound effect on my art. Being able to explore cities and to document my travels through skies and streets with drawing, photography and video has added invaluable dimensions to my work. My drawings, paintings, and installations almost always begin with these documents. I have access to several continents for use as image banks. My “office” has a view of the stratosphere. My suitcase is a portable studio, full of cameras and materials for drawing and painting. More and more I have begun to “create worlds” within my work. It is like that of a novel writer, in the sense that each work is a page in a chapter in a larger volume. Within it, I have created characters, places, and situations that continue to develop as my work develops. These elements are all directly influenced by my job as a pilot: by the books I read while traveling, the cities I wander, the photos and videos I shoot, the drawings of people, places, and things I make, the views from above looking down at ever-changing landscapes. Vexingly Placeless is one of many drawings that attempts to conceptualize the psychology of space, as if trying to show what the landscape is thinking rather than what it is showing. The perspective of continuously looking down provides not only a form of social distance—a way of objectifying the elements in this “world”—but also a kind of cartography that is a form of thinking out loud, an infinite regress where the map is not the territory despite its insistence on straddling a space between the observed and imagined.

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Vexingly Placeless, 2007


Julia Oldham b. 1979, Frederick, Maryland Lives and works in Eugene, Oregon

I make science videos with my father, who is a physicist for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Together we create presentations about the experiments happening at NIST, which are used internally by management. The process is a ritual: my father writes a script which is unintelligible to a general audience; I translate the text into layman’s language and present the information using interviews, diagrams, and animation. Physics is the basis of my current art practice as well. I collaborate with two physicists, Drs. Maxime Clusel and Eric Corwin, and we translate physical experiments and theories into performances and narratives. Like my NIST videos, this work benefits from the input of professionals, uses metaphor to explain complex ideas, and is scientifically accurate. Clusel, Corwin, and I move in a different direction, however, by inserting our relationships into the work and giving primacy to storytelling. We have made three videos together, but our fourth attempt at collaboration failed. The subject of this last collaborative pursuit was “frustration,” a term in physics describing groups of particles in which neighboring pairs like to be in opposite states, making groups of three very precarious. The concept of frustration played itself out perfectly in our attempts to plan a new video project: like three particles, we could never achieve a state of order and satisfaction. We argued, fought, tested our friendships, and finally laid the project to rest. I kept a journal of our conversations and interactions. The video, Frustration, explores my relationship with my two collaborators through narrated journal entries that generate a diagrammatic drawing on my studio window. In this work, science becomes a tool for channeling the complications of friendship and collaboration.

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Still from Frustration, 2010


Alex O’Neal b. 1957, Starkville, Mississippi Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York

From 2002–06 I taught art in New York City’s elementary and middle schools via the non-profit organizations Studio In A School and Creative Classrooms. I was constantly wowed by the inventiveness of my students and often felt I was working with fledging outsider artists. I loved the quasi-archetypal images that seemed immediately available to many children: lightning bolts, stars, tears, fancy or sculpted hairstyles, stiff hands with long fingernails, exaggerated eyelashes, and ornate jewelry bearing names of the students or celebrities, among other things. What students drew so casually seemed to create instant glamour and worldliness, especially for an elementary schooler. They established a paraphernalia of beauty, charm, success, and power. These drawings mirrored those that my grade-school classmates made on their textbook covers in the early 1970s in Mississippi. Then, I was fascinated by the crassness of what seemed like empty-headed images when I was attempting tight pencil copies of encyclopedia illustrations. I understood I was too capable, too good, to indulge in the frivolity. Years after art school, my revisiting the stylization, drama, and importance of similar drawings offered reconsideration of them when my work employed clumsy fashion as disguise for its flamboyant, rebellious characters. Years after art school, my revisiting the stylization, drama, and importance of similar children’s drawings offered a way to reconsider what had intrigued me before. The timing was really a gift as my work had begun employing clumsy fashion as a disguise for its flamboyant, rebellious characters. My works would eventually reflect the vernacular of my former students’ drawings. In particular, Large Drawing with Phones and Donuts has that overload of glam and paraphernalia that I feel does my inspiration justice.

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Large Drawing with Phones and Donuts, 2010


Roberto Osti b. 1959, Bologna, Italy Lives and works in Bloomfield, New Jersey

I am a Medical Illustrator by trade and teach Anatomy-Figure Drawing at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. During the last decade or so I have become more active in the Fine Arts, and a commission for a specific illustration prompted me to explore the interaction between Art and Illustration. While preparing an illustration for an article in a special issue of Scientific American (September 1995), which detailed the theoretical reconstruction of a human limb through the cultivation of human tissue cells in a special “scaffolding,� I realized that a precise and detailed drawing has the power to make plausible and believable a process that is highly speculative and on the verge of science fiction. The article also describes how scientists can recreate a human ear by implanting chondrocytes (cartilage cells) in a special scaffolding that is then grafted onto the back of a lab rat where the ear will grow. Once fully formed, the ear is cut from the back of the rat and transplanted to the patient. I believe that this article, and my illustration, inspired the artist Stellarc in 2003 to implant such an ear onto his forearm. This discrepancy between the theory of the beautifully formed forearm depicted in my illustration and the reality of the ear implanted on the back of a rat had me pondering the fantastic fallacies of science. In response, I developed the series Myth Dissected. I asked myself: What if we could use the latest scientific and medical innovations to create the monsters and gods that so far have populated only our culture and myths? I think we could not resist the urge to dissect and study these creatures, so I prepared a few works, such as Deconstruction of a Werewolf and Shaman in Spring, to explore this irresistible temptation.

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Shaman in Spring, 2008


Zach Rockhill b. 1971, Stull, Kansas Lives and works in Oslo, Norway and Brooklyn, New York

My project runs on two impulses, both drawing on the skills I have acquired for different jobs. Both impulses reverse the purpose of those skills. First, having worked for the design/build firm Rockhill & Associates, I am able to do ground-up design and construction. This piece, Empty on Empty, necessitates reversing the movement of building and fabricating, while employing the same skills and awareness it takes to bring a structure together. The house that is the centerpiece of the video is destroyed by the physical ‘drawing’—the cutting, demolition, and destruction—that happens to it. Second, having taught 2-D and 3-D classes at the university level for a number of years, I have spent much time thinking about the systems of perspective that govern the translation of space from three dimensions into the two dimensions of the picture plane. I want to reverse that trajectory by projecting a 2-D form back out onto a volume in space. In this instance, a square is imposed anamorphically on to the corner of a house.

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Still from Empty on Empty, 2010


Luis Romero b. 1965, Mexico City, Mexico; raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico Lives and works in Chicago, Illinois

I work part-time as a Program Officer at a local, non-profit organization that funds community projects throughout Illinois. My art, my work habits and schedule, and even my studio setup have many echoes of the experience of working in this office environment. In my art work I have always looked for a connection with everyday life and the vitality of the vernacular. Part of my interest in drawing is that it uses many materials that exist outside the realm of art, in spaces like offices. Many office materials—pens, pencils, markers, paper, envelopes, folders—have found their way into my drawings. Also, because my art has always been related to writing, many of the marks in my drawings echo marks made in the office. I have incorporated into my drawings many materials found at work, but more importantly, using office materials has influenced the way I approach my art materials. Two specific examples: The type of work that I have made in recent years, drawings composed of layers of paper, began with one project done during office hours: a drawing of a plant in my neighbor’s cubicle. To track the changes in the plant I added layers of Post-it Notes, and the drawing grew organically, cumulatively. That project opened a door for me. It led me to reconsider the relation of the marks to the surface and how an image can be constructed. More recently I began using staples in my work. I was making fetishlike objects with found materials, and gluing was proving impractical. The act of stapling resonated instantly and deeply. It connected stapling to a primitive impulse, almost fetishistic in itself, but it also had the echo of my office experience, of the present.

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Selected Fetish Drawings, 2006–10


Travis LeRoy Southworth b. 1979, Honolulu, Hawaii Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York

My day job as a digital photo-retoucher involves eliminating imperfections, such as blemishes, shadows, dust, and other “unsavory” elements, mainly in photographic portraits. In 2007 I began exploring how my job as a retoucher influenced my artwork. I became particularly interested in all the tiny imperfections I was removing from people’s faces. I saw these markings as part of what makes us unique from one another. The process involves the drawing of digital masks to cover an entire face except for its blemishes, moles, wrinkles and stray hairs. While originally a photograph, each piece becomes a minimalist drawing; and as they appear more like celestial bodies, each one pushes the boundaries of our connection to the universe. This series is titled Detouched. For my current project I wanted to include the people who’s day job it is to put together this unique exhibition. I arranged a photo shoot at The Drawing Center and took individual head shots of the staff to create a single work from their collective “flaws.” Each face is digitally erased, apart from these imperfections, which now seem to float in a white void. In the final piece, the markings remain in the original location on each person’s face and are layered over one another based on the location of one’s eyes, creating a composite of abstract portraits. While the work appears to be a swirl of strange brown specks, it retains subtle references to a face. One might look at one’s skin and think, “That’s where I end and the rest of the world begins,” but those tiny particles that make up a body are only molecules temporarily borrowed from the rest of the world.

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Drawing Portrait (composite), 2010


Alfred Steiner b. 1973, Cincinnati, Ohio Lives and works in New York, New York

To fund my artistic endeavors I practice transactional law in the fields of intellectual property and technology. These specialties touch on legal questions with intriguing aesthetic implications. For example, What is a copy? or, To what extent should artists be permitted to use copyrighted material? Questions like these have suggested both visual and conceptual material for my artwork. For Day Job, I propose creating a drawing that would engage several copyright questions (and their aesthetic corollaries) including: What constitutes an “original work of authorship”? Whether that work is a “joint work” and who is entitled “to claim authorship of that work”? And whether use of a copyrighted work is “fair use”? To create the drawing, I will select a copyrighted image appropriate for the project and divide it into pieces, with the aim of excluding recognizable subject matter from any single piece. I will solicit contributors to create drawings based on each of the pieces, which I will assemble in accordance with the scheme of the original image. Contributors will be asked to create a contribution that is “substantially similar” to a provided image—that is, to “use the image as a basis for [the] contribution so that an ordinary observer, unless set out to detect the disparities between the image and [the] contribution, would be disposed to overlook them, and regard their aesthetic appeal as the same.” Contributors will also be told that their submissions will “be combined with other contributions, becoming an inseparable part of a single, unitary work.” By engaging these issues, the project may also suggest how copyright antagonizes artistic freedom while providing artists no discernable benefits.

PL . 20

Substantially Similar? (After Koons), 2010


Justin Storms b. 1981, Corpus Christi, Texas Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York

I work as a membership coordinator at The American Guild of Organists. My daily activities revolve around maintaining our database of membership files, which are comprised of 19,000-plus pipeorgan enthusiasts. In addition, I organize membership drives, create membership reports, maintain membership and address lists for our monthly pipe-organ magazine, The American Organist, and ship membership materials to 321 different AGO chapters all over the world. My art for several years now has been based on the idea of postapocalyptic whaling tribe or “Whaletopia.” The tribe is living a Darwinian nightmare in which the whale is used for everything from food and clothing to tools and lighting. Lately I thought about my ongoing obsession with whales and how it is similar to the way many Guild members are fanatical about the pipe organ. I began to wonder, Why not combine the world’s largest mammal with the world’s largest instrument and make drawings for the world’s first “Whale Organ”? This organ would be made entirely from the recycled body of a single whale. In addition to helping whaling tribes come together in song, this instrument could act as an animal call, an idea that reminds me of the kinds of the calls my Grandpa would use to lure animals when hunting. The sketches would show different “whale pipeorgans” in various settings—e.g. on top of an iceberg or in a shallow bank. They would be similar to the ads seen on the cover of The American Organist, but could be conceived of instead as ads for The Whaletopian Organist.

PL . 21

The Whaletopian Organist, 2010


Harvey Tulcensky b. 1948, Detroit, Michigan Lives and works in New York, New York

Several years ago, responding to the pressures placed on my studio time by the necessity of having a day job, I began looking for a way of making my art while on the job. At first I drew on five-inch note cards, keeping a supply in my pocket at all times. Then about seven years ago I discovered the newly reissued Moleskine Japanese-style accordion notebooks, which I have used almost exclusively since. Moving from the individual note cards to the Japanese-style notebooks subsequently transformed the nature of my work. Rather than accumulate hundreds of note cards, which would later be assembled into larger discreet drawings, I began using the notebooks, which became entities in and of themselves. Not only did carrying my studio around with me allow for many more hours dedicated to making my art, but it also ended the day job/studio disconnect. Once I began making work on the job, the job began to enter and inform the work. For over twenty-five years I have worked as an art handler at MoMA. I have held, studied, and placed just about every object in the collection—many, hundreds of times. I experience these things daily with an intimacy few know. The mundane and the exquisite, this is the environment within which I am immersed and out of which I invent my work. For me, however, the emphasis is less on the collection’s content than it is on the act of collecting, the total enterprise of obsessive acquisition. Roaming, gathering, sorting, and ultimately displaying data from the minutiae of my quotidian existence is what drives what I have come to call the Notebook Project. These notebooks form a portable museum within a museum. The mundane and the exquisite revealed in a single, continuous drawing.

PL . 22

Page from Notebook #11, 2004


Jonathan Wahl b. 1968, Abington, Pennsylvania Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York

My current body of work, The Jet Drawing Series, was inspired by my day job as a jeweler and as the Director of the 92nd Street Y’s Jewelry Center (jet is a coal-like material which was hand-carved to make jewelry during the Victorian period). Although my BFA is in jewelry and my MFA is in sculpture, jewelry has never had a place in my studio practice. Teaching jewelry and directing the program was a means of supporting my fine art work. In 1995, feeling the pinch of being a part-time arts administrator, and with my sculpture career in the doldrums, I began looking for ways to make more money, so I put together a jewelry line. Surprisingly, W, Vogue, Oprah, Barneys, and Bergdorf called; and I suddenly found myself at the head of a small business. Most people would have been delighted at the press and attention that poured in, but I was not. My studio time was now split between artistic pursuits and filling jewelry orders. I was glad to have the success, but to grow the business large enough to make the kind of money I needed to sustain myself I would have had to quit my other day job and make jewelry full-time. I also realized that having two identities was a tough sell to the art world. One can be a bartender and a sculptor, or even a go-go boy and a sculptor, but to be both a “fine artist” and jeweler makes curators’ eyes glaze over. The perception of these two worlds and how both are consumed led me to The Jet Drawings. I still make jewelry when time allows, but the majority of my time is now dedicated to my drawings. My websites are separate and not linked, and I certainly would not have chosen the subject matter, jewelry, without the experience of my line—my day job.

PL . 23

Eye of Mordor, 2008


L I S T O F W or k S

Menil Gallery View Drawing, December 20, 2009, 2009

C hris A k in

Ink on paper 11 x 8 1/2 inches

PL . 1

Menil Gallery View Drawing, November 28,

Menil Gallery View Drawing, December 24–26,

2009, 2009

2009, 2009

Ink on paper

Ink on paper

11 x 8 1/2 inches

11 x 8 1/2 inches

Menil Gallery View Drawing, December 5, 2009,

Menil Gallery View Drawing, December 26,

2009

2009, 2009

Ink on paper

Ink on paper

11 x 8 1/2 inches

11 x 8 1/2 inches

Menil Gallery View Drawing, December 9–10,

Pas q u ale C ortese

2009, 2009 Ink on paper

PL . 2

11 x 8 1/2 inches

Untitled, 2009 Pen and ink on paper

Menil Gallery View Drawing, December 13,

9 x 12 inches

2009, 2009 Ink on paper

Untitled, 2009

11 x 8 1/2 inches

Pen and ink on paper 9 x 12 inches

Menil Gallery View Drawing, December 17, 2009, 2009

Untitled, 2010

Ink on paper

Pen and ink on paper

11 x 8 1/2 inches

9 x 12 inches

Menil Gallery View Drawing, December 18,

Untitled, 2009

2009, 2009

Pen and ink on paper

Ink on paper

9 x 12 inches

11 x 8 1/2 inches Untitled, 2009 Pen and ink on paper 9 x 12 inches

56


Untitled, 2009

PL . 5

Pen and ink on paper

You have to pay your fucking artists, 2010

9 x 12 inches

Graphite and acrylic on paper

E li z a b eth D u ffy

22 x 30 inches

PL . 3

T om H ooper

Security Envelope Curtains, 2010 Printed cotton

Misinterpret, 2010 Pencil, pen, latex paint on white showcard

C aroline Fal b y

30 x 40 inches

PL . 4

PL . 6

Changeling Battle No. 2, 2009

Misinterpret, 2010

Digital print, pen and ink, acrylic on Japanese

Pencil, pen, latex paint on white showcard

rice paper

30 x 40 inches

24 x 48 inches Various works as Ghost-Artist, 2010 Changeling Battle No. 3, 2009

Mixed media

Digital print, pen and ink, acrylic on Japanese

Dimensions variable

rice paper 24 x 48 inches

As Ghost-Artist, 2010 Pastel

A le x G ingrow

17 x 14 inches

Well all the money IS in the label, you know, 2008

As Ghost-Artist, 2010

Graphite and acrylic on paper

Charcoal

22 x 30 inches

8 x 5 inches

I’m looking for something in green to match my

A le x a H orochows k i

client’s yacht, 2009 Graphite and acrylic on paper

PL . 7

22 x 30 inches

Rock, 2010 Acrylic dowels and steel

No, no. I’m glad you told me. She represents ME

55 x 48 x 46 inches

in those situations and I need to know if she’s acting

D awn H u nter

like a whore, 2010 Graphite and acrylic on paper 22 x 30 inches

57


PL . 8

D eanna L ee

Art Department, 2009 Acrylic and ink on paper

PL . 11

60 x 80 inches

Inclination Inspection Drawing, 2010 Ink on paper

M ichael Kr u eger

5 1/2 x 773 inches

PL . 9

M ary Lydec k er

Proverbial Academia, 2010 Colored pencil on paper

Desert of Maine, ME / Albany, NY, 2007

20 x 25 inches

Collage 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches

S hawn K u r u ner u

NY State Thruway / Lake Quinsigamund, Virgin, 2010

Worcester, MA, 2007

Ink on paper mounted on board

Collage

14 x 11 inches

3 3/4 x 5 1/2 inches

In be teen, 2010

Oklahoma City, OK / Shawanee National Park,

Ink on paper mounted on board

IL, 2007

14 x 11 inches

Collage 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches

PL . 10

Minor threat, 2010

CA Highway #1 / Kansas City Airport, KS, 2008

Ink on paper mounted on board

Collage

14 x 11 inches

6 3/4 x 5 1/2 inches

Summer brave, 2010

New Orleans, LA / Colorado River, 2008

Ink on paper mounted on board

Collage

14 x 11 inches

4 x 6 inches

Untitled, 2010

Niagara Falls, NY, 2008

Ink on canvas

Collage

24 x 18 inches

4 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches

58


Cocoa Beach, FL / Stockholm, Sweden, 2009

Virginia Beach, VA / Oil Tank Farm, TX, 2010

Collage

Collage

5 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches

3 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches

Steptoe Butte, ID / Finland, 2009 Collage

Virginia Beach, VA / Waraiki, New Zealand, 2010

5 x 5 3/4 inches

Collage 4 3/4 x 5 1/2 inches

Amistad Dam, TX / York Harbor, ME, 2010 Collage

PL . 12

4 1/2 x 5 3/4 inches

Westgate Shopping Center (Asheville, NC) / Glacier National Park (MT), 2010

Bologna, Italy / Dead Sea, 2010

Collage

Collage

4 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches

4 x 5 1/4 inches R a u l j M ende z

Moab, UT / Sicily, Italy, 2010 Collage

PL . 13

6 x 3 1/2 inches

Vexingly Placeless, 2007 Mixed media on paper

Nogales, Mexico / Sonora, AZ / San Diego, CA,

24 1/2 x 22 inches

2010 Collage

J u lia O ldham

4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches PL . 14

Roosevelt Dam, AZ / Mexico, 2010

Julia Oldham with physicists Maxime Clusel

Collage

(France) and Eric Corwin (USA)

5 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches

Frustration, 2010 Video

Tlatelolco, Mexico / Accra, Ghana, 2010

13:40 minutes

Collage 6 x 5 1/2 inches

A le x O ’ N eal

Valley of Death, NM / NY State Thruway, 2010

PL . 15

Collage

Large Drawing with Phones and Donuts, 2010

5 x 4 3/4 inches

Oil pastel on paper 104 Ă— 144 inches

59


R o b erto O sti

J u stin S torms

PL . 16

The Whaletopian Organist, 2010

Shaman in Spring, 2008

Graphite on paper

Watercolor on paper

9 x 12 inches

78 x 52 inches PL . 21

Deconstruction of a Werewolf, 2008

All hail the Whale Organ, 2010

Watercolor on paper

Graphite on paper

18 x 16 inches

9 x 12 inches

Zach R oc k hill

H arvey T u lcens k y

PL . 17

PL . 22

Empty on Empty, 2010

Untitled notebooks, 2004–10

Video

Ballpoint pen on paper

4:00 minutes

5 1/2 x 7 inches

L u is R omero

Jonathan Wahl

PL . 18 / COVER

PL . 23

Selected Fetish Drawings, 2006–10

Eye of Mordor, 2008

Mixed media

Charcoal on paper

Dimensions variable

40 x 50 inches

T ravis L eroy S o u thworth

All works and images courtesy the artists. PL . 19

Drawing Portrait (composite), 2010 Inkjet print of moles, blemishes, wrinkles, and stray hairs of The Drawing Center staff 40 x 30 inches A lfred S teiner

PL . 20

Substantially Similar? (After Koons), 2010 Mixed media on paper 23 5/8 x 30 1/2 inches

60


61


C O N T R I BU T O R S

Nina Katchadourian is the Viewing Program Curator at The Drawing Center.


BOARD OF DIRECTORS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Co-Chairs

The Drawing Center’s 2010–2011 exhibitions and

Frances Beatty Adler

public programs are made possible, in part, with

Eric Rudin

the generous support of Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for

Dita Amory

the Visual Arts, May and Samuel Rudin Family

Melva Bucksbaum*

Foundation, The Brown Foundation Inc., of

Suzanne Cochran

Houston, The Cowles Charitable Trust and with

Anita F. Contini

public funds from the New York State Council

Frances Dittmer*

on the Arts, a State agency and New York City

Bruce W. Ferguson

Department of Cultural Affairs.

Stacey Goergen Steven Holl

Day Job is part of the Selections series, which

David Lang

is curated through the Viewing Program and

Michael Lynne*

supported, in part, by public funds from the New

Iris Z. Marden

York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

George Negroponte Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro Elizabeth Rohatyn* Jane Dresner Sadaka Allen Lee Sessoms Kenneth E. Silver Pat Steir Jeanne C. Thayer* Barbara Toll Isabel Stainow Wilcox Candace Worth Executive Director Brett Littman *Emeriti


E D WA R D H A L L A M T U C K P UB L I C AT I O N P R O G R A M

This is number 95 of the Drawing Papers, a series of publications documenting The Drawing Center’s exhibitions and public programs and providing a forum for the study of drawing. Jonathan T.D. Neil Executive Editor Joanna Ahlberg Managing Editor Designed by Peter J. Ahlberg / AHL&CO This book is set in Adobe Garamond Pro and Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk. It was printed by BookMobile in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

L I B R A R Y O F C O N G R E S S C O N T R O L N U M B E R : 2 010 9 414 3 8 I S B N 9 7 8 - 0 - 9 4 2 3 24 - 6 4 - 8 Š 2 010 T he D rawing C enter


T H E D R AW I N G PA P E R S S E R I E S A L S O I N C L U D E S

Drawing Papers 94 Paul Rudolph: Lower Manhattan Expressway Drawing Papers 93 Claudia Wieser: Poems of the Right Angle Drawing Papers 92 Gerhard Richter: “Lines which do not exist� Drawing Papers 91 Dorothea Tanning: Early Designs for the Stage Drawing Papers 90 Leon Golub: Live & Die Like a Lion? Drawing Papers 89 Selections Spring 2010: Sea Marks Drawing Papers 88 Iannis Xenakis: Composer, Architect, Visionary Drawing Papers 87 Ree Morton: At the Still Point of the Turning World Drawing Papers 86 Unica Zurn: Dark Spring Drawing Papers 85 Sun Xun: Shock of Time Drawing Papers 84 Selections Spring 2009: Apparently Invisible Drawing Papers 83 M/M: Just Like an Ant Walking on the Edge of the Visible Drawing Papers 82 Matt Mullican: A Drawing Translates the Way of Thinking Drawing Papers 81 Greta Magnusson Grossman: Furniture and Lighting Drawing Papers 80 Kathleen Henderson: What if I Could Draw a Bird that Could Change the World? Drawing Papers 79 Rirkrit Tiravanija: Demonstration Drawings

T O O R D E R , A N D F O R A C O M P L E T E C ATA L O G O F PA S T E D I T I O N S , V I S I T D R AW I N G C E N T E R . O R G


THE D R AWI N G CENTER

3 5 W O O S T E R S T R E E T | N E W YO R K , N Y 10 013 T 212 219 216 6 | F 212 9 6 6 2 9 76 | D R AW I N G C E N T E R . O R G


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Day Job