Karl Haendel Exhibition

Lever House

poster for Karl Haendel Exhibition

This event has ended.

Haendel’s commission will comprise two 20-foot long walls, covered with works on paper, that bisect the building’s glass-enclosed lobby. Haendel’s monochromatic graphite drawings combine a virtuosic technical ability with an interest in social, cultural, and political critique. Imbued with a sharp sense of humor, Haendel’s work uses images and language to upend notions of authenticity and truth. In his new body of work, Haendel questions the Modernist ideals associated with Lever House’s landmark architecture. To the rigidity of this glass and steel building the artist introduces fissures and imperfections on levels of image and installation. Drawings of cracked light bulbs, mirrors, and eggs suggest the dissolution of perfect form and possibility, and reinforce the obvious connotations that Haendel qualifies in his flat-footed, deadpan renderings. Opposing the rectilinear shape of drawing paper, and the Lever House’s organizing structure, this messy, fragmentary content was produced by Haendel placing broken eggs and mirror on his scanner bed and drawing the inverted results, as well as actually shattering glass over paper and spray-painting the negative space. The artist’s humor is even more evident in his drawings of short questions like “Happy Though Married?” and “Lull Before Drinking?” presented in the guise of fortune cookie slips. Interspersed along both sides of the wall, these drawings set a playful, interrogative tone that also carries through Haendel’s new suite of “Boogie-Woogies” — square images composed of stenciled squares of grey, silver and black spray-paint. These pieces take their titles from Mondrian’s seminal series, which the Dutch artist produced shortly after moving to New York during World War II. Mondrian’s interest in jazz, particularly the potential for improvisation within rigid frameworks, informs his work and Haendel’s. A folded diagonal criss-crosses the squares of one of the latter’s “Boogie-Woogies” with the same studied subversion as his sculptural wall bisects the Lever House lobby, drawing an ideologically-charged setting into conversation with the rough, unruly energy of Haendel’s artwork.

[Image: Karl Haendel "Karl-o-gram #2" (2009) pencil on paper 30 x 22 in. Courtesy of Harris Lieberman Gallery]



from March 26, 2010 to June 12, 2010


Karl Haendel

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