The Parrish Art Museum is presenting Alice Aycock Drawings: Some Stories Are Worth Repeating, an exhibition in two venues, in partnership with the Grey Art Gallery, New York University’s fine-arts museum. The first comprehensive exploration of this vital aspect of the renowned sculptor’s creative process, the exhibition has been organized by Parrish Art Museum Adjunct Curator Jonathan Fineberg, Gutgsell Professor of Art History Emeritus at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Opening at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, NY on April 21, and at the Grey Art Gallery, NYU, on April 23, the exhibition traces Aycock’s career from 1971 to the present, highlighting the major themes that have governed her artistic practice.
While Aycock is best known for her large-scale installations and outdoor sculptures, her drawings capture the full range of her ideas and sources. Consisting of approximately 100 works, the exhibition will be presented in two parts. The 55 works in the Parrish Art Museum’s section (April 21–July 13) cover the years 1984 to the present, when Aycock developed an increasingly elaborate visual vocabulary, drawing upon a multitude of sources and facilitated in part by the use of computer programs. The Grey Art Gallery’s installation (April 23–July 13) focuses on the years 1971–1984 and features 48 works, including detailed architectural drawings, sculptural maquettes, and photo documentation for both realized and imagined architectural projects.
“Aycock is an artist who thinks on paper,” writes Terrie Sultan in the catalogue introduction. “Her spectacular drawings are equal parts engineering plan and science-fiction imagining. As in all of her work, fantastic narrative writings weave in and out of her images, inspiring her production of sculptural objects, drawings, and installations.”
Educated at Douglass College and Hunter College, Alice Aycock emerged in New York in the 1970s, and her approach to art exemplified the ways artists radically redefined the trajectory of art during that decade. Her work was exhibited widely during the seventies and eighties, from the Museum of Modern Art to Documenta. Aycock has also had a profound effect on succeeding generations of artists, both through the example of her new work and through her teaching at various institutions, chief among them the School of Visual Arts in New York, where she has taught since 1991. She also served on the Public Design Commission of the City of New York from 2003 to 2012, and is currently visiting artist at Mount Royal School of Art at Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD. Aycock has homes in New York City and Sag Harbor.
Aycock’s work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, and the Parrish Art Museum, among many others. She has exhibited at galleries and museums throughout the world, and her permanent public art works are on display at locations throughout the United States, among them New York, Washington, D.C., Nashville, Sacramento, Tampa, Dallas, Kansas City, Ann Arbor, and at the Omi International Arts Center in Ghent, NY.
A fully illustrated catalogue, featuring an interpretive essay by Jonathan Fineberg and an introduction by Parrish Art Museum Director Terrie Sultan, will accompany the exhibition. It is the first scholarly exploration of the pivotal, enormously productive role drawing has played in Aycock’s career over the course of her 40 years as a professional artist. The catalogue is published by the Parrish Art Museum and distributed by Yale University Press. The exhibition will travel to Santa Barbara, where the two parts will be on view concurrently at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Art, Design & Architecture Museum, UC Santa Barbara, from January 25 through April 19, 2014.