Finders and Keepers

Still, it's a blast seeing who owns what; and there's a two-for-one bonus in nearly every work. Seeing Käthe Kollwitz's delicately crude double rendition of a woman's hand in Jasper Johns's collection makes Johns's inclination for the deliberate and the diligent palpable—it also makes the Kollwitz live in a way that it never has for me. And the wispy, smudgy shadow-bather by Seurat that Johns owns is simultaneously all touch and no touch. This experience repeats itself over and over again. Look at the wildly erotic drawing Roy Lichtenstein owns by Joan Miró—cocks and noses coming out of this crisp cloud shape—and you appreciate Lichtenstein's graphic sense anew. Plus, Lichtenstein's 1941 Jackson Pollock is so terrific and tortured you'll think it's Gorky copying Picasso. And see if Ellsworth Kelly doesn't win the Battle of the Six Picassos with his 1969 ink-on-cardboard nude that is all body parts and proportional shifts. A lot of the drawings here just take you to another level.

Eating at the grown-up table: Jasper Johns’s Matisse (left) and other work from his collection at the Drawing Center
Robin Holland
Eating at the grown-up table: Jasper Johns’s Matisse (left) and other work from his collection at the Drawing Center

Details

'The Stroke'
Exit Art
548 Broadway
Through July 2

'Drawn From Artists' Collections'
The Drawing Center
35 Wooster Street
Through June 12

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Speaking of another level, Helen Marden gets the most original, or at least the most outrageous, award for her amazing, and amazingly sexual 18th-century Indian drawings of people made of yonis and lingams; if these don't give you a buzz, there's not much erotic art that will. And yea! for Ed Ruscha, who collects art from L.A. A similar shout-out for Georg Baselitz, who introduces us to his own find: Carl Fredrik Hill (1849–1911), whose intense, romantic crayon-on-paper landscapes have a touch of the Baselitz about them. What's so fantastic is that all these artists—whether owning or choosing—are seeing the world through their own work. These choices may be limited, egotistical, or based on misunderstanding, but in this way artists open things up, keep things in play, and make all art new again.

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