Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Run, Don't Walk: Hopper Drawings at the Whitney

In the supporting reference for “New York Movie,” 1939, we learn that usherettes were to refrain from watching the film while on duty. 

You really don’t want to miss the show of Hopper drawings at the Whitney. It closes on October 6th, so consider this fair warning: Get yourself over there this week.

Edward Hopper was a master of distillation. His powerful ability to observe, stage, and edit have resulted in some of the most iconic images in American painting. He manages to evoke not just a geographic sense of place, but a location’s emotional essence as well.

The drawings document Hopper’s perception and thought in real time. Raw reportage. It might be the flicker of what he’s seeing at a given moment while riding the elevated train, or the framing of a scene he’s studied for some time. We watch him record, digest and process the world. Through his drawings, we experience, visually, the artist’s brain at work.

This show is also an opportunity to marvel at Hoppers draftsmanship, which is something not always evident in his paintings. And to support the drawings, the Whitney provides sketchbook pages, vintage photographs, maps, floor plans, and—oh yes—21 paintings.

"Early Sunday Morning," from 1930, was reunited with the easel Hopper painted it on in his studio.

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