Pushing Paper: Contemporary Drawing from 1970 to Now, British Museum - FREE - ★★ - Until January 12, 2020


This could have been called ‘Pushing the definition of drawing to its limit’. Fifty-six works from the British Museum’s collection are on display. Many either challenge the meaning of drawing or simply ignore it. Gouache and watercolour often feature but used in a painterly rather than linear fashion. Collage makes several appearances too. The curator has given it five very ‘now’ themes such as ‘identity’ and ‘place and space’ which just distract. And suggesting that 1970 is when drawing became accepted as art in its own right is just wrong. It’s a pity that this curating gets in the way because the work itself is stimulating. Burned dots on wood produced by the sun (Roger Ackling, 1978) is the most extreme exhibit and should really be termed Land Art. Grayson Perry’s ‘Untitled’ (1984) is an early mixed media experiment. Philip Guston’s ‘Untitled’ (1971) is a savage pen and ink portrait of Richard Nixon that predicts his downfall, whereas Minjung Kim’s ‘Mountain’ (2009) uses ink on paper in a very different way. Richard Deacon, Gwen Hardie and many others take a more graphic approach. Household names Hockney and Emin are also represented. This show aims to make one think about what constitutes drawing and it succeeds at that!

Reviewed by A.L.


 Our Score:  ☆☆ 

WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until January 12, 2020
Sun - Thu: 10 am - 4 pm, Fri: 10 am - 7 pm
Room 90, British Museum
Nearest tube: Russell Square

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