Wallach Art Gallery to Exhibit a Major Survey and Rare Drawings of Illustrator Edward Koren
Media contact: Nick Obourn, 212-854-8336, firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW YORK, April 14, 2010 — Columbia University’s Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery is presenting Edward Koren: The Capricious Line, a major survey of the work of the artist best known for his cartoons and cover illustrations for The New Yorker magazine.
The Capricious Line is open to the public from Wednesday, April 28, through Saturday, June 12 Admission to the exhibition and related programming is free of charge. The Wallach Art Gallery is located on the eighth floor of Schermerhorn Hall on Columbia’s Morningside Heights campus, 116th Street and Broadway in Manhattan. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. To learn more, call 212-854-2877.
The exhibition explores the full range of art that Edward Koren has produced during the past five decades: original drawings for cartoons and illustrated books as well as prints and independent drawings, many of which have never been displayed before. The show examines Koren’s continuing experimentation with ideas and forms through a variety of finished drawings, many surprisingly large.
The artist’s “capricious line” consists primarily of short strokes that create incredible worlds. Koren brings us into a realm of fantasy based firmly in reality, such contradiction being one source of its humor. One section of the exhibition is devoted to inventive and whimsical sketches in the grand tradition of the capriccio, a group of theatrical figures offering an idiosyncratic variation on the venerable characters of the commedia dell’arte. Another section explores Koren’s fascination with the natural world and its inhabitants, creatures generated more by the momentum of his graphic imagination than by laws of Darwinian evolution. Four dramatic panoramic drawings, inspired by dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History, introduce audiences to new and majestic species in Koren’s bestiary. In the series Hôtels de Paris, he populates imagined architectural spaces with his own fantastic creatures, furry beings scuttling along on two or more legs, their movement suggesting an indeterminate sociability.
A primary focus of the exhibition is, inevitably, on Koren’s drawings for cartoons, which highlight his role as observer of contemporary society and as a gently acerbic critic of a cultural scene that seems to demand his graphic commentary. The artist himself has defined his objective intimacy with that world: “Clichés or ritual acts that annoy or amuse me or intrigue me are points of entry that allow me to construct small dramas, frozen in time and space, that people will laugh at (because they might have recognized themselves), and that I do laugh at (because I have recognized myself).”
A 1957 graduate of Columbia College, Koren was editor of Jester of Columbia, the college’s humor magazine. The curators of the exhibition are Diana Fane, Curator Emerita of the Arts of the Americas at the Brooklyn Museum, and David Rosand, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History at Columbia—who once drew for Jester under the editorship of Koren.
To accompany the exhibition, the Wallach Art Gallery is publishing an illustrated catalogue with essays by the curators and by Koren. The curators will lead an exhibition tour on Saturday, June 5 at 3:30 p.m.
Concurrent with the Wallach Gallery exhibition, the Luise Ross Gallery will host Edward Koren: Parallel Play, Drawings 1979 – 2010, from Tuesday, April 27, through Wednesday, June 2. The Luise Ross Gallery is located at 511 West 25th Street in Manhattan.
Two Men Laughing: Edward Koren and Jules Feiffer Discuss the Art of Humor, with David Rosand as moderator. Wednesday, May 26, 6:30 p.m., Wallach Art Gallery
Exhibition Tour with the Curators:
Saturday, 5 June, 3:30 p.m., Wallach Art Gallery
About the Wallach Art Gallery
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery aims to contribute to Columbia’s long-standing tradition of historical, critical and creative engagement in the visual arts. Since its establishment in 1986, the gallery, modeled on a laboratory, has been a forum for exhibitions related to research by graduate students, faculty and other scholars. The programming provides a bridge between the university’s diverse interests and approaches to the arts and a broad public audience.
About Columbia University
A leading academic and research university, Columbia University continually seeks to advance the frontiers of knowledge and to foster a campus community deeply engaged in understanding and addressing the complex global issues of our time. Columbia’s extensive public service initiatives, cultural collaborations, and community partnerships help define the university’s underlying values and mission to educate students to be both leading scholars and informed, engaged citizens. Founded in 1754 as King’s College, Columbia University in the City of New York is the fifth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.