"Non dépourvues de sentiment," drawing in black ink and black wash, detail from the manuscript Avant et après by Paul Gauguin (image courtesy the Courtauld Gallery)

The Getty Foundation in Los Angeles is awarding almost $1.3 million in grants to 15 curatorial projects focused on prints and drawings spearheaded by galleries, museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions in nine countries. The grants are disbursed as part of the Paper Project, an initiative launched in 2018 to support researchers and curators who work “to unlock paper’s material secrets,” as Getty Foundation’s Senior Program Officer Heather MacDonald described in a statement.

“These grants celebrate the resourcefulness of graphic arts curators who are focusing on hidden gems and neglected artists within their institutions’ own walls that can resonate with today’s museum audiences,” MacDonald said.

Some of the projects will pursue more detailed examinations of works on paper housed in museums’ collections and will eventually result in publications and exhibitions; others will explore new research methods for studying them. Grantees will examine works ranging from drawings made by Georgia O’Keeffe and prints by Albrecht Dürer to pieces shown at graphic arts biennials in the 1970s and 18th-century architectural sketches.

Marisol Escobar, “Sketchbook,” date unknown, colored pencil, crayon, gouache, and collage on paper (image courtesy the Getty Foundation)

David Evans Frantz, who is organizing a show and monograph on Teddy Sandoval and the Butch Gardens School of Art, told Hyperallergic that this work is a continuation of an earlier exhibition he did entitled Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano LA, which included Sandoval’s work. “We wanted to revisit his dynamic practice in a solo presentation,” he said. 

A longtime resident of Los Angeles, Sandoval was rebuffed by traditional galleries and museums, and established his own alternative art spaces and publications where he could express himself. The Butch Gardens School of Art was one of these ventures, a mail art collective that took its name from a popular Latino gay bar in the Silver Lake neighborhood, and despite its collective name, consisted solely of himself. Sandoval and fellow artists he corresponded with flouted the art establishment, and as a result, much of his work is publicly unavailable.

“With support from the Paper Project, this new show and accompanying catalog will bring numerous prints, drawings, commercial illustrations, and pieces of mail art by Teddy into public view, many for the first time,” Frantz explained.

“By placing Teddy’s work in conversation with other queer and feminist artists from across the hemisphere, we hope the show will spark unexplored perspectives on his work as well as the larger field of queer and Latinx art history,” he added. 

Albrecht Dürer, “The Sea Monster” (c. 1498), engraving, Yale University Art Gallery (image courtesy Freyda Spira)

Meanwhile, a project at the Yale University Art Gallery will host a discussion forum and workshop on early modern art on paper and its relevance in the modern world. Freyda Spira, a co-lead on the project and a curator of prints and drawings, said that the weeklong seminar will “examine the need to make early modern collections of works on paper more intellectually accessible for broad audiences,” re-contextualizing them with an eye to postcolonial critiques of the homogeneity of museums.

Adrien Manglard, “The Shipwreck” (c. 1753), red chalk on paper (image courtesy the Malta Study Center at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, MUŻA and Heritage Malta)

A project at the Malta National Community Art Museum (MUŻA) will digitize the institution’s trove of early modern drawings, which MUŻA curator Krystle Attard Trevisan called “little-known” and includes 150 Old Master drawings made between the 15th and 18th centuries.

In doing so, the museum hopes to make the collection more accessible to new audiences, such as children, students, and academics farther afield. The digital project will also “include didactic content” covering topics such as “materials and techniques, uses, schools and periods, provenance, and subject matter” of the Old Master drawings, Trevisan said.

“Since specialization in the study of Old Master drawings is lacking in Malta, this project will act as an important stepping stone to bring much needed local expertise in the field dedicated to works on paper,” she added.

Jasmine Liu is a former staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she studied anthropology and mathematics at Stanford University.