Drawing as Practice is the inaugural exhibition at the National Academy of Design’s new location in the Chelsea arts district. Curated in response to the National Academy of Design’s significant collection of more than 8,000 works of American art and architecture, this group exhibition centers on drawing as both the medium and practice connecting the many divergent points of interest that have contributed to the founding and history of the National Academy. With an emphasis on representation, abstraction, and social commentary, Drawing as Practice illustrates drawing as a through-line in the National Academy’s history, one that continues to connect the widely diverse contemporary practices of the nearly 450 active American artists and architects elected by their peers as National Academicians. Drawing as Practice spans nearly two hundred years of drawing, anchored by early examples of life studies from classes held in the first decades of the Academy’s activities. Themes and aesthetic tendencies in the exhibition range from academic drawings that were the result of instructional sessions—which in the 19th and early 20th century centered on the figure and portraits—to non-traditional drawing practices, structures and architecture, abstraction, motion studies, and social commentary.
Drawing as Practice is organized by Sara Reisman, Chief Curator and Director of National Academician Affairs, and Natalia Viera Salgado, Associate Curator, with research and scholarship by Diana Thompson, Director of Collections.