Drawing Attention

June 18, 2021 - September 12, 2021

A drawing of soldiers

In its collections, exhibitions, and programs, the Ackland has always paid special attention to works on paper. This exhibition presents around seventy European and American drawings, watercolors, and collages, selected from well over 570 acquired both by gift and by purchase over the past twelve years. Drawing Attention continues a series of exhibitions presenting recent acquisitions of light-sensitive works, following PhotoVision, 2014, which featured photographs, and One of Many, 2017, which featured prints.

With preference given to works not recently displayed or not scheduled for exhibition in the near future, the works in the exhibition showcase a broad chronological span, from the sixteenth to the twenty-first centuries, and a variety of techniques and functions. The display includes works by a wide range of artists, including Domenichino, Jan van Goyen, Thomas Gainsborough, Edgar Degas, Otto Dix, Robert Motherwell, Thornton Dial, Marcel Dzama, and Lauren Frances Adams. The works are presented in ten thematic sections: Varieties of Portraiture; American Abstraction of the 1960s; Fantasy and Transformation; Image and Text in Contemporary Art; German Modernism; Christian Piety; Landscapes and Architectures; Cartoon and Caricature; Sketches and Studies in Nineteenth-Century France and Britain; and a special wall devoted to Very Recent Arrivals which can accommodate new acquisitions made even during the run of the show.

Drawing Attention, organized by Peter Nisbet, deputy director for curatorial affairs, has been made possible by generous support from the Ackland’s National Advisory Board.



Art Adventures
Saturday, June 19, 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. | Virtual
$0-5 Sliding Scale

Families with kids ages 6-9 are invited to join us virtually for a hands-on art-making class inspired by art on view in Drawing Attention. This month, we’ll make “Exquisite Corpse” Paper Books.

Curator Tours of Drawing Attention
Saturdays, June 19 and June 26, 2 p.m. | In Person
Free; RSVP required

Join Drawing Attention curator and Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs Peter Nisbet for an in-person tour of the exhibition. Space is limited and registration is required.

Arts & Drafts: Watercolors with Craftboro
Thursday, June 24, 2021, 7 p.m. | Virtual
$13 (includes art kit and virtual program ticket) + beverages of choice to be purchased from Craftboro

Learn watercolor basics from a local artist, get a sneak preview of watercolors on view in the Ackland’s newest exhibition, Drawing Attention, and taste local beers with the brewer who crafted them at a virtual version of our hands-on art-making and beer-tasting event. Buy your event ticket online, then head to Craftboro to pick up the kit and purchase one (or a few!) of the beers selected for our Arts & Drafts event from Craftboro’s taps. Non-alcoholic beverages and snacks also available for purchase.

Family & Friends Sunday: Day of Drawing
Sunday, June 27, 2021, 1-5 p.m. | Virtual and/or In Person

Visit us virtually or find art activity kits to enjoy with your friends or family group in the galleries. This month, enjoy art-inspired activities exploring wide range of themes and techniques represented in Drawing Attention including virtual story time and a collaborative drawing game called “exquisite corpse” for families to make fantastic creatures together.

Art Adventures
Saturday, July 10, 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. | Virtual
$0-5 Sliding Scale

Family with kids ages 6-9 are invited to join us virtually for a hands-on art-making class inspired by art on view in Drawing Attention. This month, we’ll make Blind Contour Portraits.

Museum Pictionary
Friday Aug 6, 2021, 3:30 p.m. | Virtual

Join us for an afternoon of virtual drawing games based on works now on view in Drawing Attention. Test your drawing skills against our curators Dana Cowen and Lauren Turner in our Zoom-based, museum version of Pictionary.

Image credit: Edgar Degas, French, 1834-1917, Military Figures (detail), c. 1859, ink and ink wash (page from a sketchbook). Gift of Charles Millard, 2019.26.46.