Leonardo Drew: Making Chaos Legible
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Using a variety of materials—wood, cotton, canvas, paper, steel, aluminum, sand—Drew makes dynamic sculptures that explode and expand into their spaces. These gravity-defying sculptures convey a feeling of barely contained or restrained energy and chaos. “I think of it as making chaos legible,” he says.
City in the Grass, Drew’s first major outdoor sculpture, is both an abstracted cityscape and a colorful flying carpet. Over 100 feet long and 30 feet wide, the work is composed of aluminum panels covered in a mosaic pattern of colored sand, mimicking a Persian carpet. Drew wants his visitors to feel like Gulliver discovering Lilliput as they wander through his bird’s-eye view of a city. “In the end,” he says, “it can be your flying carpet transporting you to wherever you need to be.” Drew sees public art as a shared experience, and for him City in the Grass is not complete until the public appears and interacts with the work, making it whole.
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Leonardo Drew, City in the Grass, 2019, aluminum, sand, wood, cotton and mastic 102 x 32 ft., Collection of the artist, Courtesy Talley Dunn Gallery, Galerie Lelong, and Anthony Meier Fine Arts; © 2019 Leonardo Drew; Photograph: Leonardo Drew/Madison Square Park Conservancy
Leonardo Drew, Number 215B, 2019, acrylic, wood, paint, and sand, dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Lelong & Co.; © 2019 Leonardo Drew; Photograph: Christopher Burke Studio
This project at the NCMA is generously supported by the Hartfield Foundation and Libby and Lee Buck. Leonardo Drew: City in the Grass was commissioned by Madison Square Park Conservancy, New York, and was first exhibited in Madison Square Park.
Leonardo Drew: Making Chaos Legible is made possible, in part, by the generous support of the Hartfield Foundation and Libby and Lee Buck, and by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions. Research for this exhibition was made possible by Ann and Jim Goodnight/The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fund for Curatorial and Conservation Research and Travel.
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