Open Sessions 2016–2017 has officially started. We welcomed thirty-six artists, including two collaborative groups, to join us for two years. For most of the artists, our February orientation was the first time meeting The Drawing Center curatorial team and each other. Coming from a diverse background, this new group of artists work in media ranging from drawing to music, performance, photography, calligraphy, video, sculpture, architecture, and poetry, each bringing their own voice to this growing Drawing Center initiative.
Open Sessions exemplifies the mission of The Drawing Center in that it provides a space for artists to collaborate and experiment, exploring the drawing process on equal terms with its final result. Nova Benway and Lisa Sigal, co-curators of Open Sessions, are facilitators/coordinators, guiding and assisting the artists rather than dictating the course of the artists’ conversations.
The artists are divided into five groups, each of which will curate a show in The Drawing Center’s Lab as part of the museum’s exhibition program. In addition to these exhibitions, the Open Sessions artists will participate in working dinners and workshops where they will talk through developing ideas and present their work to their peers. Workshops led by Open Sessions fellows, Daniel Bozhkov, Onyedika Chuke, Chitra Ganesh, and Jina Valentine, will also inform the directions the new Open Sessions group will take.
Engaged with drawing as a part of their practice, it is no surprise that the artists came up with the idea to initiate a “traveling notebook,” which will serve as a place to document their individual and collaborative working process. The notebook will take the form of a box and pass from artist to artist, via either in-person exchange or by mail. The notebook may be published at the end of the session or simply remain as an archival remnant the two-year collaboration.
We look forward to exploring the possibilities of drawing with this new group of artists. The schedule for the Lab exhibitions can be found on The Drawing Center’s webpage, here.
The first exhibition of this round, Open Sessions 7, opens July 15.
– Jessica Lin, Curatorial Intern