This is the current exhibition at The Drawing Center, 35 Wooster Street, New York, New York. If there were a book titled The Best Small Museums and Places to See Art in New York,
The Drawing Center would certainly be in the book (www.drawingcenter.org
). For anyone interested in drawing very broadly defined, this is a place to know about and visit. The current exhibit includes 59 rarely exhibited engraved metal printing plates, all from the Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica (ING) in Rome. There are contemporary plates and very old engraving plates, the earliest dating back to the 16th century. Even without the prints that were produced, it is wonderful to see up close the plates themselves and all the art, the skills of the engravers who drew and sculpted the plates, that went into making them.There is also a very special treat to be found in the exhibit within the exhibit, the "Decalogo" of Paolo Canevari (b. 1963, Rome, now in New York)
. There are 10 large etched plates that the artist intended to be the artworks. Although prints have been made from them, the artist conceived of the plates and the installation of them as the art. They work as emotional and political statements. Go experience them.Both the exhibit and the exhibit within the exhibit are at The Drawing Center through June 24, 2011.
This is Paolo Canevari's plate of an etching of a burning tree. It measures 55 x 35 x 3/4 inches. He has done the engraving with dry-point on nickel-plated copper. The surface he works on is highly reflective. What you see in the photograph is his etching of a tree in conflagration, and reflections on the gallery floor and walls (with other plates hanging on the walls). Also, if you look closely, you will see me taking the photograph of the plate. Those are my feet that have joined the trees root system.
"When I paint, I think that what would satisfy me is to express what Bonnard said Renoir told him: make everything more beautiful. This partly means that a painting should contain a mystery, but not for mystery's sake: a mystery that is essential to reality."
Fairfield Porter, letter to Arthur Giardelli
Great Spruce Head Island, Maine
August 3, 1968
"There's no way of looking at a work of art by itself. It's not self-evident - it needs a history, it needs a lot of talking about; it's part of a whole man's [sic] life."
--quoted in Stevens, M. & Swan, A. (2004) de Koonig: An American master. New York: Knopf.