Drawing Which Makes Itself
“How could drawing be of itself and not about something else?” Dorothea Rockburne’s 1973 exhibition at the Bykert Gallery in New York, a touchstone in modern drawing practice, aimed to addressing the artist’s query. Using the wall as her surface, Rockburne created a series of works using carbon paper, which she folded and manipulated to create a carefully mapped network of ruled lines that engaged the viewer visually and bodily, shaping their perception of the gallery space and challenging expectations of what a drawing can be. The exhibition Dorothea Rockburne: Drawing Which Makes Itself pays homage to the artist’s groundbreaking project of the same name, with a group of major carbon paper and wall works—including Nesting and Neighborhood, from MoMA's collection—exhibited together for the first time since 1973. Contextualizing the wall drawings is a selection of Rockburne’s works on paper and paintings from that decade, all selected from MoMA’s strong holdings of her work. The exhibition highlights the concerns that have occupied the artist since her early career, including the application of mathematical principles, and her continued engagement with, and challenge of, the methods and practice of drawing.