SoHo’s Drawing Center reopens with exhibit of artist’s daily life

By Bryna Shuman, Staff Writer

Diaries have always served as a record of daily life and as a place where people can keep their thoughts, secrets and hopes. However, they do not always take the form of journals, which is evident in the new exhibit “Guillermo Kuitca: Diarios” at The
Drawing Center in SoHo.

The center reopened with “Diarios” on Nov. 8 after a year-long renovation and expansion. The center now boasts three new galleries, the largest of which will host Kuitca’s work through the second week of December.

“Diarios,” curated by The Drawing Center’s executive director Brett Littman, is a series of 17 pieces of art by Kuitca, an Argentine artist. Kuitca rose to prominence in the art community for his artwork in the late 1980s. His work mostly centers on architecture and geographical maps, evoking nostalgia for travel and culture for those who view them.

“The diarios … are the most transparently personal works in [Kuitca’s] oeuvre as they gather … collaged elements that record the ebb and flow of life inside and outside the studio,” Littman said in a press release.

In this way, “Diarios” is a departure from anything Kuitca has done before. The pieces displayed are less works of art and more, as the name suggests, diaries of Kuitca’s daily life in his Buenos Ares studio. Starting in 1994, Kuitca began to take the discarded canvases of his rejected paintings and stretch them over a circular table in his workshop. Over various periods of time, the longest being six months, Kuitca would add drawings and doodles, some intentional and some accidental. Phone numbers the artist had jotted down, various to-do lists, the occasional white space where his coffee mug sat and swirls of color as he mixed paint together are all combined to form collage-like diaries that document Kuitca’s life.

While each piece is titled “Diario” and marked differently from one another only by the date listed on the placard, each one is quite different from the next and has its own special stylistic composition. One piece was painted in various shades of blue, reminiscent of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” while another was painted in bright red with strong, gold accents. While the diarios may just have been a creative outlet for Kuitca when he began to compile them, they became vibrant pieces of art.

LSP Freshman Cassie Wuest stated that the exhibit was thought-provoking.

“I find the concept to be very interesting,” Wuest said. “It makes you think about the unknown process of art.”

“Guillermo Kuitca: Diarios” will be on display at The Drawing Center, 35 Wooster St., until Dec. 16.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Nov. 19 print edition. Bryna Shuman is a staff writer. Email her at [email protected]