“Abstract Drawings” presents a selection of 46 works on paper from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s permanent collection. Curated by Joann Moser, the exhibition runs through January 6, 2013. From simple sketches to highly finished compositions, these works represent the rich possibilities of abstraction as a mode of artistic expression.
The exhibit includes works by Joseph Cornell, Gene Davis, Jacob Kainen, Willem de Kooning, Man Ray, Theodore Roszak, and Sean Scully. Al Held’s “Untitled” (above) was created for an enormous two-part mural commissioned for the Social Security building lobby in Philadelphia.
Abstract drawings often explore ideas or relationships, like “Bones” (1987) by Andrea Way or “Saber Dance” (1952) by Davis.
In many of the works on display, references to objects have been transformed into creations that have only a passing resemblance to their source of inspiration, such as Charles Seliger’s series of 14 illustrations for the unfinished satire “An Island in the Moon” by poet William Blake.
Rorschach inkblots served as the inspiration for the Cornell collages.
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