Citing John Cage’s 1965 response to the question, “What is drawing?”, A Question of Emphasis: Louise Fishman Drawing is the first career-spanning exhibition and publication of works on paper by Louise Fishman (1939–2021). On view through February 2022 at Krannert Art Museum (KAM) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the show features collage, oil and wax, thread, charcoal, printmaking, watercolor, and tempera in Japanese-bound leporello (accordion) books. This range of mediums foregrounds the artist’s robust and dedicated practice of works on paper, which were never studies for large canvases. Instead, she used drawing to think through physicality, materials, and intimacy on a register that was often sculptural and tactile, and aligned with her communities.
A Question of Emphasis examines the relationship between an artist’s biography and drawing through feminist and queer perspectives. Fishman’s drawings are distinctive because many are dedicated to lovers — an illustrious network of lesbian writers, scholars, and critics that include Bertha Harris, Esther Newton, Jill Johnston, and Ingrid Nyeboe, Fishman’s spouse. Fishman’s works on paper also honor her artist teachers: Paul Cézanne, Piet Mondrian, Franz Kline, John Cage, Eva Hesse, and Agnes Martin. Some works are collaborative, including prints Fishman made using her mother’s collagraphic plates, and the Angry Women acrylic text series made for friends and muses during her involvement with feminist consciousness-raising in the 1970s.
This project follows Fishman’s lead, through drawing, to convene a community of living and historical figures that are integral to the construction of self. While centered on the artist’s hand, Fishman’s works on paper are in fact radically open and give audiences a strong perspective of art as a worldmaking project.
A Question of Emphasis: Louise Fishman Drawing is organized by Amy L. Powell, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at KAM and supported by the Henry Luce Foundation American Art Program; the Rosann Gelvin Noel Fund; the College of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Vielmetter Los Angeles; Sueyun Locks, the Locks Foundation; Karma, New York; and the Sandra L. Batzli Memorial Fund.
How does a selective competition fit with the contemporary art world’s aspirations toward greater inclusivity?
Critical race theory, which has been attacked by conservative lawmakers, is conspicuously absent, as are many contemporary and living Black artists.
“Dignity of Earth and Sky,” unveiled in 2016, raises questions about who should depict Native people and how they should be portrayed.
In this online exhibition, Indigenous artists reclaim realities long denied them by US and Canadian federal governments — including moments of collective reverie.
At this year’s Sundance International Film Festival, more than half the feature-length movies were made by directors who identify as women.
In her novel Tell Me I’m an Artist, Chelsea Martin questions whether art offers a refuge from the world.
Ten artists will receive studio space and access to faculty, staff, students, workshops, and programming at an arts institution in the heart of Philadelphia.
The US government has lifted a Trump-era ban that kept formerly imprisoned people from accessing their works.
A work of art will be on the line when the Philadelphia Eagles play the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday.
With two exhibitions at SoFi Stadium, the Kinsey African American Art & History Collection seeks to engage a different art audience.
The works that best exemplify a uniquely German grotesque in Reexamining the Grotesque are those that reflect the war and Weimar years.