It’s Day 297 and I happened to find this artist randomly and I’m so glad I did! I was in the mood to do some conceptual art and I like the way this artist thinks. Please join me in honoring William Anastasi today.
William Anastasi (b. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1933) is an American painter and visual artist. He has lived and worked in New York City since the early 1960s.
His work is predominantly abstract and conceptual. Early works such as Relief (1961) and Issue (1966) incorporate the use of industrial and construction materials. His works are held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum, the Walker Art Center, the National Gallery of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2010 Anastasi was awarded The John Cage Award, an unrestricted grant awarded biennially, from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.
Currently exhibited works include “Nine Polaroid Photographs of a Mirror”,
currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Biography above is from wikipedia.
American, b. 1933
A primary player in the first generation of American Conceptual artists, William Anastasi is a “classmate” of such artists as Andy Warhol, Sol LeWitt, and Hans Haacke. Though his name may not be as well known as his more famous contemporaries, his work is no less compelling. Anastasi’s formal education includes and is limited to high school, however he has lectured at numerous institutions including The School of Visual Arts where he taught for 18 years; University of North Carolina, and Yale University.
Well known for his delving concepts, the media of his work takes all forms. Anastasi’s subway drawings which prevail as some of his most
subtle albeit engaging works. Stemming from his Blind Drawing series, the Subway Drawings take their shape from the motion of the subway cars on which he rides. Placing the pencil on the page, the turns of the track and ridges in the wheels push the artist’s hand this way and that creating a cacophony of marks, reminiscent of a naive scribble. The chance taken in this manner of working is what drives the mystery and tension that is inherent to the process of making.
Anastasi’s work has enjoyed a star studded collection of showings nationally and internationally including Dwan Gallery, New York; The Mattress Factory Museum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; The Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Stalke Galleri, Copenhagen.
Info above is from artsy.com.
One day, Anastasi was taking a ride on the New York city subway to play chess with a friend across town. He had his drawing supplies with him, so he taped a piece of paper to a board, put the board in his lap, held a pencil in his hand touching the paper, and closed his eyes. Then he let the bouncing and tilting of the subway car move the pencil. The drawing that he made on the way to see his friend that day was – in a way – a drawing of his trip.
When William Anastasi took art classes at school, he learned to draw in the regular way – with his eyes open, looking at the paper. He wondered what his drawings would look like if he didn’t use his eyes, so he began to experiment. He discovered that he liked drawing this way, and even liked the drawings themselves better than when he looked at what he was doing.
Sometimes Anastasi will tie a piece of cloth over his eyes like a blindfold and take a pencil in each hand, drawing for a specific length of
time. He calls these his “timed blind drawings.” That’s what he did at the Mattress Factory.
For one drawing, called April 15, 1989, 32 minutes, 4B, he held a 4B pencil in each hand. With his eyes covered, he moved from one end of the room to the other for exactly 32 minutes, marking the wall in big, sweeping movements as far as his arms could reach.
Excerpt above is from The Mattress Factory Art Museum.
Read this wonderful interview with him here on artsy.net.
I hope you enjoy my piece today. I painted with a blindfold on and with a timer for 10 minutes.
I decided to do it with white pen on a
black background. There were moments while scribbling where I thought things like, I want to draw a bird, a face, a lightning bolt, a cloud, etc. There is something magical about not knowing at all how things will turn out. I love my end result. It was a release! I will see you tomorrow on Day 298.