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Natalie Frank, All Fur III, 2011–14, gouache and chalk pastel on paper, 30 × 22".

Natalie Frank

The Drawing Center

Natalie Frank, All Fur III, 2011–14, gouache and chalk pastel on paper, 30 × 22".

At the Venice Biennale this year, contemplating Joan Jonas’s extraordinary video installation They Come to Us Without a Word, 2015, I began thinking about the great turn that took place in the artist’s work in 1976. That year, Jonas used a Brothers Grimm tale as the basis for The Juniper Tree, a move that signaled a turn from such reflexive, almost tautological pieces as Mirror Check, 1970, to a way of working in which reflexivity enters an expanded field encompassing narrative structures derived from fairy tales, legends, sagas, and other forms of traditional (often oral) storytelling. Nearly forty years on, the tales gathered in the early-nineteenth century in the hinterlands around Kassel by two heirs of German Romanticism retain their astonishing power to spark artistic invention, as testified to by the twenty-five works in gouache and chalk pastel on paper that made up the

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