The Drawing Center presents Neo Rauch: Aus dem Boden / From the Floor, the first exhibition entirely devoted to his drawings in the United States. Neo Rauch is one of the best-known artists from the Leipzig school in Germany. His psychologically complex paintings have been widely collected and written about for more than twenty years. Featuring more than one hundred fifty never or rarely seen works that span over thirty years of Rauch’s career, this exhibition will present drawing as an essential but often overlooked aspect of his oeuvre. A collaboration between The Drawing Center and the Des Moines Art Center, the show was presented first in Des Moines from September 27, 2018–January 6, 2019.

The drawings, which Rauch describes as “dreams on paper,” are made during periods of intense painting activity and are left on the floor of the studio for his assistant to pick up and place in flat files for storage. Rauch, who never makes preparatory sketches or drawings before he begins painting, uses the medium instead to mine his own subconscious and to visualize characters and scenarios for the works in progress. His drawings range from thumbnail compositional sketches for paintings, to phone doodles, to figure and landscape studies, and to more formal and completed works.

Co-organized by Brett Littman, former Executive Director of The Drawing Center, and Jeff Fleming, Director of the Des Moines Art Center, with Amber Harper, former Assistant Curator at The Drawing Center.

Neo Rauch: Aus dem Boden / From the Floor is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.


The Drawing Center, a museum in Manhattan’s SoHo district, explores the medium of drawing as primary, dynamic, and relevant to contemporary culture, the future of art, and creative thought. Its activities, which are both multidisciplinary and broadly historical, include exhibitions; Open Sessions, a curated artist program encouraging community and collaboration; the Drawing Papers publication series; and education and public programs. It was founded in 1977 by curator Martha Beck (1938–2014).

The Drawing Center has presented more than 300 exhibitions, published over 150 catalogs, and has been recognized with prestigious awards such as the International Art Critics Association/USA award for Best Show by a Non-Profit Gallery or Space for the 2010 exhibition Leon Golub: Live & Die Like a Lion?, the 2009 exhibitions Ree Morton: At the Still Point of the Turning World and Unica Zürn: Dark Spring, and the 2008 exhibition, Frederick Kiesler: Co-Realities.

Exhibitions have toured to prestigious museums around the world, including: Tate Britain, London; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona, Spain; the Santa Monica Museum of Art; Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal; MOCA in Los Angeles; the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Chicago; MOCA Cleveland; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; Minneapolis Institute of Art; New Orleans Museum of Art; Albright-Knox Museum; and GNAM in Rome.

The Drawing Center’s acclaimed exhibitions encompass a wide range of artistic traditions and take a uniquely interdisciplinary approach. Dynamic Exhibitions connect drawing to science, architecture, literature, food, political movements, theater, film, music, photography, choreography, textiles, and technology. [ Thread Lines | Drawing on Film | İnci Eviner: Runaway Girls ] | Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity .] Historical Exhibitions focus on both acknowledged and under-recognized masters. [ Portraits from the École des Beaux-Arts Paris |Drawing and its Double .] Modern and Contemporary Exhibitions illuminate unexplored aspects of works by major present-day and next generation artists. [ Louise Despont: Energy Scaffolds and Information Architecture | Rashid Johnson: Anxious Men | Xanti Schawinsky: Head Drawings and Faces of War | Drawn from Photography. ] In The Lab, emerging and under-recognized artists are encouraged to create experimental, cross-disciplinary work, as well as site-specific installations as part of Open Sessions.

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