Lee Bontecou, Untitled, 2011, graphite on paper, 23 x 30 1/8".


“Lee Bontecou: Drawn Worlds”

The Menil Collection
1533 Sul Ross Street
January 31–May 11, 2014

Curated by Michelle White

“The little pencil is a magic box,” Lee Bontecou has said. For proof, just consult the Menil Collection’s retrospective of more than seventy of the artist’s works on paper from the past five and a half decades. Bontecou’s drawings (made not just with pencil but with soot and pastel, too) conjure all manner of super- and subnatural forms. Some are preparatory, detailing the fine seams, eerie contours, or affecting shadows with which her sculptures in metal and muslin cast their spells; other works stand on their own as pure vehicles of imagination, through which the artist divines hidden connections between gas mask and gardenia. In the catalogue, Menil curator Michelle White fits the drawings within Bontecou’s social context and larger oeuvre, while Joan Banach pores over the artist’s ledger sketches and critic Dore Ashton meditates on Bontecou’s enduring importance. Travels to the Princeton University Art Museum, NJ, June 28–Sept. 21.