Drawing in the Continuous Present

Comprising nearly a hundred works on paper by thirteen artists from ten different countries, Drawing in the Continuous Present explores how a new generation of artists is placing drawing at the center of contemporary art discourse. The exhibition brings together works on paper by some of today’s most significant artistic voices, including Michael Armitage, Javier Barrios, Jesse Darling, Maren Karlson, Christine Sun Kim, Helen Marten, Jean Katambayi Mukendi, Julien Nguyen, Sanou Oumar, Walter Price, Florencia Rodríguez Giles, Johanna Unzueta, and He Xiangyu.

The title of the exhibition, Drawing in the Continuous Present, is borrowed from a 2017 talk given by artist Amy Sillman in which she speaks, via Gertrude Stein, of drawing’s “continuously present” temporality. The notion of the “continuous present” pertains to the ways in which the featured artists employ drawing’s immediacy to mediate their relationships with the world around them. Guided by The Drawing Center’s long-standing support of contemporary drawing practices and practitioners, Drawing in the Continuous Present highlights drawing as a major form of expression for this group of artists, whose works reflect a myriad of experiences and methods. To demonstrate drawing’s possibilities, the exhibition’s five thematic sections highlight different ways that the artists utilize the medium: imagining; spiritualizing; translating; fantasizing; altering language.

With its wide-ranging scope, the exhibition underscores drawing as expansive and open-ended, and provides insight into how and why artists from different backgrounds and with different aims have given the practice primary importance in the past two years, the period during which the majority of the works in the exhibition have been made. As society and culture have shifted to confront the devastation wrought by the pandemic and ongoing social and economic inequities, many artists have returned to drawing’s rawness and physicality. Though Drawing in the Continuous Present does not explicitly address these global issues, the works and the context in which they have been made are inseparable. This exhibition marks a moment when the direct experience of drawing makes it a timely tool to navigate our continuously present reality.

Organized by Rosario Güiraldes, Associate Curator

Digital Guide

Explore this exhibition further online using our digital guide, available for free as part of the Bloomberg Connects app. By downloading the app on your mobile device, you can discover other exhibition guides, drawing activities, and educational resources.


Past Programs