Robert Smithson, Bingham Copper Mining Pit — Utah Reclamation Project, 1973. Wax pencil and tape on plastic overlay on photograph, 20 x 30". Collection of Sally and Wynn Kramarsky. Art © Estate of Robert Smithson / Licensed by VAGA, New York. Photo by Ellen McDermott.

Contemporary Drawing and its Shifting Power and Allure

Richard Serra, Untitled (Preliminary Drawing for L.A. County Museum), 1971. Graphite on paper, 17 3/4 x 23 1/2". Collection of Sally and Wynn Kramarsky. © 2012 Richard Serra / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo by Ellen McDermott.

Christine Hiebert, Untitled (t.02.3), 2002. Blue tape on paper, 13 7/8 x 16 3/4". Collection of Sally and Wynn Kramarsky. © 2012 Christine Hiebert. Photo by Laura Mitchell.

Barry Le Va, Wash, 1968. Ink on graph paper mounted on paper, 18 1/2 x 22". Collection of Sally and Wynn Kramarsky. © 2012 Barry Le Va. Photo by Ellen McDermott.


Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum
Washington University
1 Brookings Drive
St. Louis
Contemporary Drawing as Idea and Process

September 14-January 7, 2013

As a medium, drawing lends itself to the theoretical and experimental. Freed from the obligation to resolve into a finished and independent object, drawing is at once open and intimate, a field for imaginative elaboration in which new concepts and ideas can emerge and evolve with relative ease.

Notations brings together more than 60 works by 39 artists from the late 1950s to today. Curated by Meredith Malone, the Museum’s associate curator, the exhibition is drawn primarily from the collection of Sally and Wynn Kramarsky, New York, along with several works donated by the couple to The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Notations focuses on practices that emerged during the postwar period which continue to influence contemporary practitioners. Included are works by Carl Andre, Mel Bochner, Dan Flavin, Eva Hesse, Nancy Holt, Agnes Martin, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson and other seminal American artists associated with the rigorous and process-oriented practices of Minimalism, post-Minimalism and Conceptual art. Together these artists enacted a fundamental shift away from drawing as an intimate form of graphic disclosure and towards a larger investigation of material and conceptual conditions.

Notations also examines work by subsequent generations of artists, including Janet Cohen, N. Dash, Nicole Fein and Hadi Tabatabai, who employ procedures rooted in Process and Conceptual art; and Christine Hiebert and Allyson Strafella, who foster exploratory relationships with materials and mediums. This juxtaposition, of established and emerging artists, reflects the allure of drawing as a medium for artists who embrace its flexibility, immediacy and economy of means.

The exhibition is divided into two thematic sections — Repetitive and Serial Systems and Presentation Drawings and Proposals — reflecting the multifaceted character of drawing and its shift in status since the late 1950s. Both sections highlight key strategies employed by postwar artists in rethinking the work of art and the nature of representation — strategies that have continued to compel succeeding generations of artists. Though many works on view continue the early modern practice of making drawings as finite, self-contained expressions, innovators in the 1960s and 1970s began to employ drawing in ways not previously considered independent works of art: diagrams, instructions for fabrication, notes for site-specific installations and markers of duration.

Catalog An illustrated brochure will accompany the exhibition. In addition, an online catalogue — organized and edited by Rachel Nackman, curator of the Kramarsky Collection — will feature an essay by Malone, images of all of the works on view, as well as artist interviews and select entries by graduate students from the Department of Art History and Archaeology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.

Allyson Strafella, factor, 2007. Typed colons transferred from carbon paper onto paper, 13 5/8 x 10 5/8". Collection of Sally and Wynn Kramarsky. © 2012 Allyson Strafella. Photo by Ellen McDermott.

Eva Hesse, Untitled, 1963-64. Collage, gouache, watercolor, and ink on paper, 22 x 30". Collection of Sally and Wynn Kramarsky. © The Estate of Eva Hesse, Hauser & Wirth Zürich London. Photo by Peter Muscato.