The Drawing Center

The Drawing Center The Drawing Center explores the medium of drawing as primary, dynamic, and relevant to contemporary culture, the future of art and creative thought.
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The Drawing Center Gallery Hours: Wed-Sun, 12-6pm; Thurs, 12-8pm. Tickets are $5 adults, $3 student and seniors, children under 12 are free.

Southern Cheyenne artist Bear’s Heart (Nokkoist) used ledger books acquired in trade or by gift from white traders and m...
12/21/2019

Southern Cheyenne artist Bear’s Heart (Nokkoist) used ledger books acquired in trade or by gift from white traders and military officers to create detailed drawings of personal and cultural histories after he was captured by the US Army following the end of the Red River War (1874–75).

While incarcerated at Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida, Bear’s Heart drew images recounting the journey southeast to Florida, many including boats and trains as shown here. After his release Bear’s Heart went to Hampton Institute, a school in Virginia founded to provide education to former slaves, but he later left to return to what had become the Cheyenne-Arapaho Agency, a reservation established at the end of the Red River War in the territory that is now Oklahoma. Nokkoist died from tuberculosis at the age of thirty-one.

“The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists” is on view until January 5, 2020. Throughout the run of the exhibition, admission to The Drawing Center will be FREE (Wed - Sun, 12pm - 6pm | Thurs, 12pm - 8pm)⁣

Please note our holiday hours: Closed Dec 25 - Jan 1
Open Jan 2 - Jan 5, 12pm - 8pm

Image: Attributed to Bear's Heart (Nokkoist), “Untitled Ledger Drawing,” c.1875-1878. Watercolour, graphite, and color pencil on paper. Courtesy of Donald Ellis Gallery, New York, Vancouver.

Building upon themes presented in our ongoing exhibition “The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists,” The Dr...
12/20/2019

Building upon themes presented in our ongoing exhibition “The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists,” The Drawing Center will partner with the Chicago 400, a grassroots campaign of formerly incarcerated and convicted people experiencing homelessness in Chicago, and artist, policy advocate, and researcher Laurie Jo Reynolds for “Meet the Chicago 400: Lessons in the Carceral State,” the third iteration of Winter Term, an initiative that investigates drawing as a tool for addressing inequity and encouraging social change. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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“Meet the Chicago 400: Lessons in the Carceral State” will begin on January 21 with an exhibition of drawings produced by the Chicago 400, and will culminate with a public symposium on Saturday, January 25. Building upon the Chicago 400’s ongoing advocacy work, the initiative will explore the intersection of drawing and criminal justice reform, specifically as it relates to fear-based policies, the unintended consequences of public registration laws, and the expansion of the carceral state.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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All programs will be free and open to the public. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Click the link in our bio to learn more about the exhibition and associated programming. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Image: Sid Hughes, Map depicting the enforcement of registration laws. Courtesy of the Chicago 400.

Visit all of our current exhibitions tonight during late hours (we're open until 8pm!) including "Wasteland: Open Sessio...
12/19/2019

Visit all of our current exhibitions tonight during late hours (we're open until 8pm!) including "Wasteland: Open Sessions 16," which features the work of seven emerging artists including Jonathan Ehrenberg, who combines analog and digital media to create animations that are pieced together from memories, fantasies, and dreams. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Featured here is “Wormhole,” a video featuring stylized figures which are animated by mapping them onto 3D motion capture footage set in a landscape built from 3D scans of clay sculptures. Between the naturalness of body language and the artifice of representation, Ehrenberg examines tensions inherent in perception.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Image: Jonathan Ehrenberg, video still of “Wormhole,” 2019. Clay, plaster, wood, and video installation. Courtesy of the artist.

In 1942 some 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced to abandon their homes, jobs, and the majority of their belongings a...
12/17/2019

In 1942 some 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced to abandon their homes, jobs, and the majority of their belongings and were transferred to ten concentration camps (alternately called internment camps, evacuation centers, and relocation centers by the US government). Among these Americans was watercolorist Henry Fukuhara, an artist featured in “The Pencil Is a Key,” who was born in Fruitland, California. Fukuhara was forced to move to Manzanar, a concentration camp in Inyo County, where he sketched the experiences of life in the camp. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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As an artist trained at Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, Fukuhara skillfully produced a series of architectural drawings depicting aspirational buildings that for the most part would never be constructed at the camps. In 1943, Fukuhara and his family were able to move to Long Island, where they ran a floral business for the next forty years. He returned to painting and drawing in 1972.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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“The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists” is on view until January 5, 2020. Throughout the run of the exhibition, admission to The Drawing Center will be FREE (Wed - Sun, 12pm - 6pm | Thurs, 12pm - 8pm)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Image: Henry Fukuhara, “Untitled (Architectural Drawing of Barracks),” 1943. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy of the Japanese American National Museum.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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#ThePencilIsaKey #thedrawingcenter

“The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists” is an exhibition of historical and contemporary drawings by inca...
12/16/2019

“The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists” is an exhibition of historical and contemporary drawings by incarcerated people from all over the globe. Examples include artists who were interned in the Soviet Gulags, Apartheid-era South Africa, in Central and South American countries under military dictatorships, and in the post-Arab Spring Middle East. The exhibition also includes drawings by members of contemporary American prison populations who are victims of the mass incarceration epidemic and broken judicial system. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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To expand on the issues presented in the exhibition, please refer to our ongoing list of resources that compiles organizations and initiatives that have developed outreach, service, advocacy, and public programming services in support of incarcerated individuals and other marginalized communities locally, nationally, and internationally. To learn more about the ways in which you can help communities of justice-involved individuals, please visit the resource list using the link in our bio.

Howling Wolf (Ho-na-nist-to) is among the ledger drawing artists featured in “The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcera...
12/15/2019

Howling Wolf (Ho-na-nist-to) is among the ledger drawing artists featured in “The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists." While incarcerated in the US military’s Fort Marion in St. Augstine, Florida, these artists used ledger books acquired in trade or by gift from white traders and military officers to create detailed drawings of personal and cultural histories, which by the late nineteenth century, were threatened under the strains of US government policies of land seizures.

Howling Wolf was a leader of the Bowstring Society, a Southern Cheyenne military organization, who fought against the United States in the Red River War (1874–75), a campaign waged by the US government to displace Southern Plains nations in the area that is now Oklahoma and Texas, then known as Kiowa Territory and Oklahoma Territory. Howling Wolf and other leaders who had refused to cede their land were captured by the US Army and incarcerated in Fort Sill (in present-day Oklahoma) before being transferred to Fort Marion for a three-year sentence while the rest of the Southern Cheyenne population was forced onto reservations in the area that is now Oklahoma.

“The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists” is on view until January 5, 2020. Throughout the run of the exhibition, admission to The Drawing Center will be FREE (Wed - Sun, 12pm - 6pm | Thurs, 12pm - 8pm)⁣

Image: Howling Wolf (Ho-na-nist-to), “Untitled ledger drawing,” c. 1875. Graphite and color pencil on lined paper. Courtesy of Donald Ellis Gallery, New York, Vancouver

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, allowing the US government to designa...
12/14/2019

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, allowing the US government to designate areas where Japanese Americans were not permitted to reside—the majority of the West Coast, excluding Hawaii—and areas from which, once moved by the US government, they would not be able to leave without the permission of the Secretary of War.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Among the 120,000 Japanese Americans who were forced to abandon their homes, jobs, and the majority of their belongings and transferred to ten concentration camps (alternately called internment camps, evacuation centers, and relocation centers by the US government) was Ruth Asawa who was incarcerated at the age of sixteen with her family at Santa Anita Racetrack and later at The Rohwer Relocation Center in Arkansas. Although later Asawa became known for her biomorphically abstract woven wire sculptures, while at the camp she studied with Walt Disney Studios animators who were interned alongside her, and developed her drawing and painting skills.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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“The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists” is on view until January 5, 2020. Throughout the run of the exhibition, admission to The Drawing Center will be FREE (Wed - Sun, 12pm - 6pm | Thurs, 12pm - 8pm)⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Image: Ruth Asawa, “Sumo Wrestlers,” 1943. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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#ThePencilIsaKey #thedrawingcenter

Join us tomorrow, Tuesday, December 10 at 6pm for a conversation with artist Timothy Curtis, Chief Curator Claire Gilman...
12/09/2019

Join us tomorrow, Tuesday, December 10 at 6pm for a conversation with artist Timothy Curtis, Chief Curator Claire Gilman, and Community Leader Dawan Williams. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Timothy Curtis, whose work is currently on view as part of the ongoing exhibition “The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists,” is a self-taught artist from Philadelphia who while incarcerated from 2008 to 2015 began to make art to establish a sense of freedom and self-assurance while experiencing a loss of freedom. Since his release, he has established a focused studio practice. Along with Chief Curator Claire Gilman and Dawan Williams, Program Coordinator for the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Restorative Justice Guild, Curtis will discuss art making in the context of the modern US prison system. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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To purchase tickets ($5) visit the link in our bio! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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“The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists” is on view until January 5, 2020. Throughout the run of the exhibition, admission to The Drawing Center will be FREE (Wed - Sun, 12pm - 6pm | Thurs, 12pm - 8pm)⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Image: Timothy Curtis in his studio, date unknown. Photograph by Kyle Dorosz. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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#ThePencilIsaKey #thedrawingcenter

Purvis Young, an artist featured in “The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists” began to draw while serving ...
12/08/2019

Purvis Young, an artist featured in “The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists” began to draw while serving a two-year sentence at North Florida’s Raiford State Penitentiary from 1961–64. He started his practice by using art history textbooks from the prison library for guidance.

After his release, Young continued to draw and paint, using found materials and developing a characteristic, semi-abstract figurative style. When asked about his work, Young professed a desire to spread “peace in the world.”

“The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists” is on view until January 5, 2020. Throughout the run of the exhibition, admission to The Drawing Center will be FREE (Wed - Sun, 12pm - 6pm | Thurs, 12pm - 8pm)⁣

Image: Purvis Young, “Untitled,” 1964. Ballpoint pen and crayon on paper. Courtesy of The Larry T Clemons Collection. Photograph by Martin Parsekian.

As part of a project by artist Mark Strandquist, thousands of individuals incarcerated in the US prison system received ...
12/07/2019

As part of a project by artist Mark Strandquist, thousands of individuals incarcerated in the US prison system received postcards inserted into issues of Prison Health News. The postcards were blank but for a single sentence on the front of each that reads: “If you could create a window in the prison walls, what would you want the world to see?” with a space on the back for participants to describe the “window” they had designed.

To view more postcards from the “Windows From Prison” visit “The Pencil Is a Key Drawings by Incarcerated Artists” on view until January 5, 2020. Throughout the run of the exhibition, admission to The Drawing Center will be FREE (Wed - Sun, 12pm - 6pm | Thurs, 12pm - 8pm)⁣.

Image: Nicholas Gross, "Untitled," 2014. Pen on postcard. Courtesy of the Postcards from Prison Project, organized by Mark Strandquist.

Currently on view: “Wasteland: Open Sessions 16” features seven emerging artists who explore image production as an exce...
12/05/2019

Currently on view: “Wasteland: Open Sessions 16” features seven emerging artists who explore image production as an excessive physiological and psychological stimulus. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Theodore Darst, one of the exhibiting artists, presents “Hard Time Movement” (left) and “Sheffield Afternoon” (right) which are diffusion dye aluminum prints that were extracted from Darst’s recent 3-D animations, iPhone screen recordings, drawings, and appropriated footage. The aluminum print is made by reordering and stacking vertical frames to create a stand alone image which captures the fluidity and process of his animations.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Image: Installation view of “Wasteland: Open Sessions 16,” 2019.

For artists who are incarcerated, art making can be both an emotional and practical tool for surviving prison life. Timo...
12/04/2019

For artists who are incarcerated, art making can be both an emotional and practical tool for surviving prison life. Timothy Curtis, an artist featured in “The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists” drew while imprisoned as an entrepreneurial endeavor as well as a personal pursuit, as he could sell or trade artwork for commodities like cigarettes and coffee. Working with other inmates, Curtis also supported the development of a new prison mural program, creating large-scale projects throughout the prison campus. On November 11, 2015 Curtis was paroled. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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To hear more about Curtis’ artistic practice, join us on Tuesday, December 10 at 6pm for a conversation with artist, Chief Curator Claire Gilman, and Community Leader Dawan Williams. To purchase tickets ($5), please visit our website. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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“The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists” is on view in our Main Gallery and Drawing Room until January 5, 2020. Throughout the run of the exhibition, admission to The Drawing Center will be FREE (Wed - Sun, 12pm - 6pm | Thurs, 12pm - 8pm)⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Image: Timothy Curtis, “Sharper Than A Lifer's State Brown Creases No. 4,” 2013. Ink on paper. Courtesy of Nassia Curtis. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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#ThePencilIsaKey #thedrawingcenter

“What kind of house does a man who has lived in a 6x9-foot cell for over thirty years dream of?”⁣⁣Artist jackie sumell a...
12/03/2019

“What kind of house does a man who has lived in a 6x9-foot cell for over thirty years dream of?”⁣

Artist jackie sumell asked Herman Wallace—one of Angola’s (formally known as the Louisiana State Penitentiary) most famous prisoners and a member of the Angola 3—this question in 2003. Wallace’s response formed the basis for a decade-long collaborative art project that received international attention. Over the course of their collaboration, Wallace remained 23 hours per day in solitary confinement, illustrating his cell and the home he imagined outside of prison. Titled “The House That Herman Built,” the project took many forms: as a travelling exhibition of renderings and models of Herman’s dream house; as a construction of a cell, built to scale by sumell based on Wallace’s illustration; a publication reproducing the correspondence between the two; and even a computer simulation of Wallace’s dream house with a swimming pool, glass bathroom, large open spaces, and African-themed art.⁣

After Wallace was diagnosed with liver cancer, sumell and a team of allies and attorneys sought Wallace’s freedom. After serving forty-two years in solitary confinement, Wallace was released from prison on October 1, 2013, after a federal judge ruled that his indictment was unconstitutional. He died days later, surrounded by his sister, sumell, and other supporters. Wallace’s case and his work sparked a broader national discussion about politically and racially motivated incarceration.⁣

“The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists” is on view in our Main Gallery and Drawing Room until January 5, 2020. Throughout the run of the exhibition, admission to The Drawing Center will be FREE (Wed - Sun, 12pm - 6pm | Thurs, 12pm - 8pm)⁣⁣

Images: Herman Wallace, “House Drawing (II),” date unknown. Graphite on paper. Courtesy of jackie sumell.⁣

Herman Wallace, “Cell with heart,” 2005. Pen and marker on paper. Courtesy of jackie sumell.⁣

Herman Wallace, “House Drawing (I),” date unknown. Graphite on paper. Courtesy of jackie sumell.⁣

Herman Wallace, “‘14’ Cell Drawing,” date unknown. Graphite on paper. Courtesy of jackie sumell. @ The Drawing Center

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35 Wooster St
New York, NY
10013

If you are traveling by subway, you can take the N, Q, R, W, J, M, Z, 6, A, C, E, 1 trains to the Canal Street station. If you are traveling on the N, Q, R, W, J, M, Z, 6, line, take the subway to Canal Street. Walk west to Wooster Street and turn right. Walk one and a half blocks to The Drawing Center. If you are traveling on the A, C, E, 1 line, take the subway to Canal Street. Walk east to Wooster Street and turn left. Walk one and a half blocks to The Drawing Center. Q to Canal F/V/B/D to Broadway Lafayette

Opening Hours

Wednesday 12:00 - 18:00
Thursday 12:00 - 20:00
Friday 12:00 - 18:00
Saturday 12:00 - 18:00
Sunday 12:00 - 18:00

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(212) 219-2166

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