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Museum Exhibitions

Arlene Shechet

Ways of Seeing: Three Takes on the Jack Shear Drawing Collection

Nov 13 – Dec 23, 2021
The Drawing Center
New York

For the second iteration of the three-part exhibition Ways of Seeing: Three Takes on the Jack Shear Drawing Collection, multidisciplinary artist Arlene Shechet takes an imaginative and personal approach to her installation of drawings selected from the expansive collection of artist, curator, and President of the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, Jack Shear, whose holdings consist of nearly one thousand drawings dating from the sixteenth century to the present.

Shechet’s interpretation of Jack Shear’s collection is presented on the heels of Shear’s own installation, in which he placed drawings alongside, directly on top of, or abutting other works on the basis of intuited visual affinities regardless of context or historical provenance. Taking an equally inventive approach, Shechet has chosen artworks by a diverse group of figures, some of whom featured in Shear’s installation and many of whom did not, including Lee Bontecou, Edward Burne-Jones, Salvador Dalí, Elaine de Kooning, Robert Gober, Marsden Hartley, Lee Lozano, Agnes Martin, Henri Matisse, Elizabeth Murray, Jim Nutt, Odilon Redon, Georges Seurat, Al Taylor, and Joseph Yoakum, among many others.

Shechet’s selection of drawings, all of which highlight connectivity and intimacy, compliment her careful consideration of the viewing environment. As a sculptor, Shechet addresses the physical space of The Drawing Center’s galleries, installing four of her own hand-carved wooden benches to connect the center of the room with the walls hung with drawings. Her intervention creates a three-dimensional drawing in itself, within which visitors can gather for reflection and repose. Inspired by one of the works on view—Natura morta (1962) by Giorgio Morandi, whose still-lifes are meditations on the interrelationship of all things—Shechet hand-painted the walls with hues culled from the Italian artist’s palette. The result is a dynamic communal space that embodies the idea that how we see art is fundamental to what we see.

Shechet’s emphasis on the intimate relationship between object and viewer supplements the overarching theme of Ways of Seeing, namely, that interpretations of art are always impacted by both our own sensibilities and by the context in which objects are seen and received. Taken together, the exhibition’s successive iterations—curated by Jack Shear, Arlene Shechet, and Jarret Earnest, respectively—offer a revealing experiment in connoisseurship and exhibition-making.

Learn more at The Drawing Center's website.

Museum Exhibitions — Arlene Shechet at the Drawing Center, Nov 21, 2021