Posts tagged "drawing"

comparative imagery: art that tells you what to do.

Jeppe Hein, Please, 2008 (found on Art Stack)

George Segal, Walk, Don’t Walk, 1976 (source)

Martí Guixé, H!Bye Pills and Instruction Card Prototypes, 2000. (source)

Hennessey Youngman, ART THOUGHTZ: How to Make an Art, 2011

Marlene Dumas, How to Kill Your Mother, 1989 (source)

John Baldessari, I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art, 1971 (source)

alexander lobanov’s hidden pictures.

The New Museum’s group exhibition Ostalgia derives its name from the word ostalgie, a 1990s neologism that describes a sense of longing for life in East Germany. I felt my own heartstrings tugged by a wave of nostalgia, although it had nothing whatsoever to do with the Cold War.

Alexander Lobanov, Untitled (source)


Upon examining the meticulous, weapon-riddled self-portraits of outsider artist Alexander Lobanov, my mind was transported to a place of yore. Think a little less “Leningrad,” a little more “pediatric waiting room with blocks and Brio train sets strewn about.” Yes, folks, Lobanov’s drawings may as well be grown-up Hidden Pictures® from Highlights for Kids.* You know how it goes: in Hidden Pictures, you’re given a wholesome scene, such as Neighbor Mr. Frog Rakes His Leaves, or Kid Stay Healthy and Have Fun by Rollerblading. But lo and behold, there’s more to see, if you look closer: little objects are embedded within the scene. The sleeve is actually a toothbrush! The cloud is made out of an ice cream cone!



What in the world does everyone’s favorite publisher of Goofus and Gallant have to do with artist Lobanov? Deaf and mute after afflicted by meningitis at the age of five, Lobanov spent his adult life in mental institutions. He taught himself to draw, using ink, colored pencils, and felt-tip pens to sketch the minutiae of his portraits. He often represents himself as Russian revolutionaries. And the weapons, oh the weapons! Rifles, machine guns, swords, treacherous-looking scissors, daggers, sometimes even scattered ornamentally across the background of an illustration.



Weapons are concealed within the landscapes, uniforms, and patterns. The crow’s head is actually a pair of scissors! Rifles comprise the spokes of a wagon wheel!** An eagle poses regally atop a sword’s hilt! The wholesome objects of Highlights’ Hidden Pictures are now the tools of Russian oppressors.



*Looks like you can now play Hidden Pictures online. I know what I’m doing at work tomorrow!

**Unpictured here, the interweb search has failed me. Go to the New Museum to see this work for yourself.


maira kalman, fred sandback, strunk & white, and my boundless love.

Illustrator Maira Kalman first published this image in her picture essay on Abe Lincoln. The original gouache and ink on paper drawing is on view at the Jewish Museum until July 31 in her wonderful little retrospective, Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (Of a Crazy World). I love that she describes contemporary sculptor Fred Sandback* as a “philosopher of string and space.” Rather than using hefty materials to build a monolithic object, Fredback delineates space using one of geometry’s most basic forms: the line. Fragile one dimensional structures of yarn stretch strategically between walls and floor to yield inhabitable, three dimensional spaces. 

This same image appears in Kalman’s illustrated edition of Strunk and White’s cult writing guide Elements of Style. Below the drawing, a caption—extracted straight from the original text—reads: “A basic structural design underlies every kind of writing.” 

I love this comparison of Fredback and the process of writing even more than I love that he is a philosopher of string and space. I like to think that I could map my blog posts with strings of yarn; the words and images are just like human beings occupying the space between Fredback’s structures. 

Humans in a Fredback installation (source)

Even more love: that Kalman can use one illustration for two very different but equally poignant contexts. She used her existing repertoire of drawings and made very astute connections to words scrawled in Elements of Style.

My love for Maira and Fredback is a boundless love. (My love for Strunk and White is, however, bounded. More on that later.)

*At first I typed his name as “Fredback,” and I rather like this nickname. Henceforth he is Fredback.

comparative imagery: intersecting lines.

Aki Sasamoto’s installation at the Whitney’s Community Day, Saturday, May 21, 2011 (source)

Spiderweb with dewdrops

Sol Lewitt, Wall Drawing #289: A six-inch (15cm) grid covering each of the four black walls. White lines to points on the grid. 1st wall: 24 lines from the center; 2nd wall: 12 lines from the midpoint of each of the sides; 3rd wall: 12 lines from each corner; 4th wall: 24 lines from the center, 12 lines from the midpoint of each of the sides, 12 lines from each corner., 1976. Part of the Whitney’s collection

Irrational thoughts should be followed absolutely and logically.