Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ree Morton at The Drawing Center

Ree Morton: At the Still Point of the Turning World

September 18 - December 18, 2009
Main Gallery and Drawing Room

Opening Reception:
Thursday, September 17, 2009 6–8pm

The Drawing Center presents an exhibition of the work of the late American artist Ree Morton (1936–1977). The exhibition highlights Morton’s influential body of work, remarkably all produced between her decision to turn to art full-time in the late 1960s and her tragic death in an automobile accident shortly before her 41st birthday. While reflecting many of the currents of Postminimal and Conceptual art of the 1970s, Morton’s work also looked to a pioneering use of personal narrative, intimacy, humor, and poetic imagination. Yet the scope of her artistic production remains largely unrecognized, as does her vital contribution to feminist art practice and the importance of drawing to her development as an artist. Repetitive, minimal forms in Morton’s early work lead to more biographically tinged mark-making, ranging from abstracted diagrams acting as topographies of memory to botanical illustrations and decorative motifs. A marked interest in phenomenology, spatiality, kitsch, and the emotive potential of materials is merged in Morton’s later work, her sculptural practice presaging the formal vocabulary and theatricality of later installation art. The exhibition is comprised of a selection of major drawings, several of which will be on view for the first time, along with drawing-based sculptural works and a selection of notebook sketches. Curated by João Ribas, the exhibition takes its title from a T. S. Eliot poem Morton kept above her studio desk.


Born in Ossining, NY in 1936, Ree Morton died tragically in a car accident in 1977 in Chicago. She first studied nursing, then married and had three children before completing her BFA at the Rhode Island School of Design (1968) and her MFA at Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia (1970). During her lifetime, her work was exhibited at the ICA (Philadelphia), Artists Space and the Whitney Museum (both New York) among other venues. She was the subject of a 1980 retrospective at The New Museum and solo exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum in New York (1985) and Generali Foundation in Vienna (2008). Morton’s work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting 1967–1975 (organized by iCI), and the WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2007).

Thursday, September 24, 6:30pm (Main Gallery) and 7:30pm (Drawing Room)SoHo Night exhibition tour with assistant curator Rachel Liebowitz

Saturday, October 24, 4pm
Free gallery talk with exhibition curator João Ribas.

Thursday, December 10, 6:30pm
Video screening of Ree Morton: An Interview (1974)

The Drawing Center will publish Drawing Papers 87: Ree Morton: At the Still Point of the Turning World featuring a roundtable conversation with Drawing Center curator João Ribas, independent curator Allan Schwartzman, and MoMA chief curator of drawings Cornelia H. Butler, as well as Lucy Lippard’s 1973 essay “At the Still Point of the Turning World,” with a new introduction to the text by Lippard. Approximately 120 pages, 50 color images.