Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina, Dunavska 37, Novi Sad, Serbia
The exhibition DRAWN (OVER): Contemporary Drawing from LeRoy Neiman Until Today is a part of an international project DRAW that was launched by the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies at Columbia University in New York.
In cooperation with the Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina in Novi Sad, Serbia, The exhibition DRAWN (OVER) brings together the private sketches and drawings of seventy artists from around the world in an exhibition that provides a rare, revealing look into the drawing process and artists’ innermost thoughts. The participating artists are:
Saint Clair Cemin
Ghada Amer and
Fab Five Freddy
Fred H.C. Liang
Bryan McGovern Wilson
Dragana B. Stevanović
Peter Wayne Lewis
The exhibition seeks to unearth a raw form of creative energy channeling the essential truth of an artist no pasteurized for public consumption. Unlike artwork created for public or commercial use, the diverse array of works included in DRAWN (OVER) will reveal an authenticity that exists in intimate spaces hidden from the public eye such as an artist’s sketchbook or studio. By focusing on the medium of drawing, the purpose of this exhibition is to showcase not the finished, polished products of traditional art exhibitions but rather the authentic, unfiltered beginning of something recorded through drawing.
The concept of the Draw project began with the discovery of several sketchbooks that no one knew existed excavated from the New York studio of the late LeRoy Neiman after the artist’s passing. The stark difference between the drawings covering the pages of a sketchbook from 1949–52 compared to the characteristically jocular and proud imagery of Neiman’s “Americana” is shocking, if not jarring. Neiman himself has publicly asserted that he does not attempt to delve much beyond the surface in his work. “When I paint, I seriously consider the public presence of a person–the surface facade,” he wrote in Art and Life Style. “I am less concerned with how people look when they wake up or how they act at home. A person’s public presence reflects his own efforts at image development.” In these sketchbooks, however, gone are the prismatic and impressionistic illustrations of famous people and places. Instead, we find the murky depths of the realm of demons, mutated monsters and mythical beasts to reveal a completely diverging, hidden side of the famed artist. This discovery begs the question: how many more of these kinds of artist sketchbooks are out there? And, where does the artist go in the absence of outside pressures, expectations and interpretation?
To begin to answer this question about the artists’ internal dialogue, artists including Jasper Johns, Kiki Smith, Cecily Brown, William Kentridge, Sarah Sze, and Kara Walker will have their drawings displayed unconventionally as one might find them in a private studio. Works will hang from floor to ceiling in multiple groupings. Though traditional exhibitions have included sketches and studies as secondary accessories of an artist’s work, Draw engages these works as the forefront of the show. In doing so, the exhibition DRAWN (OVER) offers a glimpse into the maker’s process, a microcosm of the artist’s creative mind.
In addition to works hanging on the walls, this exhibition will include an interactive, live-action mural titled Demonstration Drawings by Rirkrit Tiravanija that will reflect some of the most pressing political topics of our time. Reconsidering the relevance of past resistance in light of today’s political climate, Tiravanija will invite local artists and volunteers to draw onto the walls of the exhibition using photographs collected over the course of many years that depict public protests and mass demonstrations from across the globe. This live drawing will provide a perspectival view of collective action and popular sovereignty movements worldwide—turning ephemeral images of strife and social conflict into documents of political aspiration. In participating in Rirkrit’s work, volunteers become implicated in the concept of activism.