Drawing Degree Zero

The Line from Minimal to Conceptual Art

By (author) Anna Lovatt

Hardback - £71.95

Publication date:

25 November 2019

Length of book:

240 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271082431

Drawing Degree Zero examines a pivotal moment in the history of drawing, when the medium was disengaged from its connoisseurial associations and positioned at the forefront of contemporary art. From Mel Bochner’s seminal exhibition Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to Be Viewed as Art of 1966 to the Museum of Modern Art’s major survey Drawing Now ten years later, Anna Lovatt documents this period of restless artistic experimentation and fierce political ambition.

Traditionally considered a preparatory or subsidiary practice, drawing’s notational, provisional, and incidental qualities accrued new value in the context of post-Minimal and Conceptual art. Considering the work of Bochner, Sol LeWitt, Rosemarie Castoro, Dorothea Rockburne, and Richard Tuttle, Lovatt explores the strategies these artists used to confound long-standing presumptions about drawing, rendering it systematic rather than autographic, public rather than private, and conceptually rigorous rather than manually dexterous. Drawing Degree Zero argues that these artists pursued a neutral, anonymous mode of inscription analogous to Roland Barthes’s concept of “writing degree zero.”

A lively examination of the resurgence of interest in drawing, Drawing Degree Zero highlights the medium’s ability to foreground issues of authorship, process, location, and participation that remain fundamental to contemporary art. Scholars and art aficionados will welcome Lovatt’s insights.

Drawing Degree Zero is well researched, provides unique contributions to the discourse, and includes both color and black-and-white images of exhibitions, installations, and ephemera. This text is an important addition to any library that supports advanced scholarship in postmodern/contemporary art, poststructuralism, or modern French literature.”

—Andrew Wang, ARLIS/NA Reviews