Go to moma.org

Degree Zero:
Drawing at Midcentury

November 01, 2020 – February 06, 2021

The Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art announces Degree Zero: Drawing at Midcentury, an exhibition that will showcase approximately 100 drawings made between 1948 and 1961 exclusively from the Museum’s collection. Degree Zero: Drawing at Midcentury will look across movements, geographies, and generations to highlight connections between diverse artists who embraced drawing to forge a new visual language in the aftermath of World War II. Modest, immediate, and direct, drawing—to use a phrase that circulated among artists and writers during these years—was the ideal “degree zero” medium for this “degree zero” moment. Within this impulse common to artists from across the world, drawing took many forms, from the abstract to the figurative, the organic to the hard-edged. Whether in scrawled graffiti or looping calligraphy, featuring reduced geometry or recording movement via mark-making, these works share similar conceptual and material concerns that manifested specifically in the medium.

Degree Zero: Drawing at Midcentury is organized by Samantha Friedman, Associate Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints.

Generous support for the exhibition is provided by the Dian Woodner Exhibition Endowment Fund.

Leadership contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund, in support of the Museum’s collection and collection exhibitions, are generously provided by Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley, the Sandra and Tony Tamer Exhibition Fund, The Contemporary Arts Council, Eva and Glenn Dubin, Alice and Tom Tisch, the Mimi and Peter Haas Fund, the Noel and Harriette Levine Endowment, The David Rockefeller Council, the Eyal and Marilyn Ofer Family Exhibition Fund, the Marella and Giovanni Agnelli Fund for Exhibitions, Kathy and Richard S. Fuld, Jr., The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, and Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis.

Major contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund are provided by Emily Rauh Pulitzer, and Brett and Daniel Sundheim, and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Press Kit

Images

Important: By downloading images you are agreeing to the following permissions: Images are provided exclusively to the press, and only for purposes of publicity of The Museum of Modern Art's and MoMA PS1's current and upcoming exhibitions, programs, and news announcements. Permission to use images is granted only to the extent of the Museum's and MoMA PS1's ownership rights relating to those images—the responsibility for any additional permissions remains solely with the party reproducing the images. The images must be accompanied by the credit line and any copyright information as it appears above, and the party reproducing the images must not distort or mutilate the images.

Uche Okeke (Nigerian, 1933–2016)
Design for Iron Work I, 1959
Ink on paper
11 x 7 1/4″ (27.9 x 18.4 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Walter Bareiss Fund, Curt Valentin Bequest, gift of Mrs. Muriel Stokes, gift of the Weyhe Gallery, Inter-American Fund, gift of William S. Lieberman, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Pepi Borit, gift of the Ian Woodner Family Collection, and Grace M. Mayer Bequest (all by exchange)
© 2019 Uche Okeke, Courtesy Skoto Gallery, NYC

Joan Mitchell (American, 1925-1992)
Untitled, 1957
Oil on paper
19 1/2 x 17 1/2″ (49.5 x 44.5 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Committee on Drawings Funds
© Estate of Joan Mitchell

Jean Dubuffet (French, 1901–1985)
Landscape (Paysage), 1951
Ink on paper
11 3/4 x 12″ (29.8 x 30.5 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase
© 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Yayoi Kusama (Japanese, born 1929)
Infinity Nets, 1951
Ink on paper
15 1/2 x 10 1/8″ (39.4 x 25.7 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchased with funds provided by Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder
© 2019 Yayoi Kusama

Jackson Pollock (American, 1912–1956)
Untitled, 1953-54
Ink and colored ink on paper
15 3/4 x 20 1/2″ (40.0 x 52.1 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ira Haupt
© 2019 Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Karel Appel (Dutch, 1921-2006)
Beast, 1956
Ink on paper
9 3/8 x 12 5/8″ (23.8 x 32.1 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Joan and Lester Avnet Collection
© 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Van Lennep Producties, Amsterdam

Hércules Barsotti (Brazilian, 1914–2010)
Drawing No. 1, 1958
Gouache on paper
28 x 28″ (71.1 x 71.1 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase

Otto Piene (German, 1928–2014)
Untitled (Smoke Drawing), 1959
Soot on paper
20 x 29″ (51 x 73 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchased with funds provided by Sheldon H. Solow
© 2019 Otto Piene / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Germany