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Il Lee: The 90s

Art Projects International is pleased to present IL LEE: The 90s from September 13 to October 27, 2018, at 434 Greenwich Street in Tribeca, New York City. Focusing on works by Il Lee from the 1990s, this exhibition brings together select breakthrough black ballpoint ink on paper works that first introduced the energetic, exhilarating mark-making which remains characteristic of his later signature works. To accompany the exhibition, a fully-illustrated brochure with an essay by Erik Bakke will be published.

This is the first exhibition to concentrate solely on works from this critical decade in the artist’s career and includes a loan of Untitled 292 (1992), a stunning example of an early black ink on paper work that was part of an important exhibition at Art Projects International in SoHo in 1997 (Line and Form, Drawings 1984-1996), the first in-depth survey of Lee’s ballpoint ink drawings on paper over twenty years ago. The 90s will also include a group of four large mid-1990s works on paper that represents a radical departure from his previous works: Untitled 9627, a never before exhibited work, presents an iconic Il Lee form constructed out of and unified by teeming ballpoint pen lines; and three similarly large works — Untitled 966, Untitled 967 and Untitled 9622 — that were part of Lee’s critically-acclaimed, mid-career retrospective at the San Jose Museum of Art (SJMA) in 2007, seen here in New York for the first time. In her catalogue essay that accompanied the SJMA exhibition, curator JoAnne Northrup reflects on this exceptionally productive period: “Lee’s mid-1990s drawings revealed a more complex interaction between figure and ground…. In the mid-1990s, Lee was in an experimental frame of mind. He began drawing hard-edge, amoeba-like shapes — a short-lived investigation. He also began to use much larger paper, a decision that would have far-reaching consequences for the future development of his work.”

Relevant research areas: North America, 20th Century

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