Louise Fishman (United States, 1939–2021) was an established artist known for her ambivalent engagement with male-centered abstract painting traditions. Her physical and process-driven work remakes the abstract expressionist gesture and the minimalist grid into tools that communicate history and emotion centered in her identities as Jewish, feminist, and lesbian.
A Question of Emphasis: Louise Fishman Drawing is the first career-spanning publication of Fishman’s works on paper from 1964 to the present. The project includes more than 100 works that have rarely been shown. A Question of Emphasis encompasses collage, oil and wax, thread, acrylic text, ink, charcoal, printmaking, oil stick, watercolor, and tempera. This full range of mediums foregrounds Fishman’s robust and dedicated practice of works on paper, which have never been studies for her large canvases. Instead, Fishman has used drawing to think through physicality, materials, and intimacy on a different register. Drawing is often perceived as a window to an artist’s interiority and a spontaneous activity that happens more readily than painting on canvas. This project is a curatorial experiment that instead follows Fishman’s lead, through drawing, to convene a community of living and historical figures that are integral to the construction of self. While centered on the artist’s hand, Fishman’s works on paper are in fact radically open and give audiences a strong perspective of artmaking as a world-making project.
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Foreword by Jon L. Seydl, Director, Krannert Art Museum
"Louise Fishman Drawing" by Amy L. Powell, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Krannert Art Museum
"Queer Expressivity: or, the Art of How to Do It with Louise Fishman" by Jill H. Casid, Professor in Art History and Director of Graduate Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison
"Abstracting Gender, Figuring Drag" by Catherine Lord, Professor Emerita, Clair Trevor School of the Arts, University of California, Irvine
"Works on Paper/ Works with Paper" Ulrike Müller in Conversation with Louise Fishman
66 color plates, full exhibition checklist, and selected works on paper exhibition history and bibliography
Lead exhibition support is provided by the Henry Luce Foundation American Art Program.
A leader in art funding since 1982, the Luce Foundation's American Art Program supports innovative museum projects nationwide that advance the role of visual arts of the United States in an open and equitable society, and the potential of museums to serve as forums for art-centered conversations that celebrate creativity, explore difference, and seek common ground. The Foundation aims to empower museums and arts organizations to reconsider accepted histories, foreground the voices and experiences of underrepresented artists and cultures, and welcome diverse collaborators and communities into dialogue.
Additional funding is provided by the Rosann Gelvin Noel Fund for Krannert Art Museum; the College of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Vielmetter Los Angeles; Sueyun Locks, the Locks Foundation; Karma, New York; and the Sandra L. Batzli Memorial Fund.