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Aug 4
Microcosmos US National Arboretum 3501 New York Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002
Aug 4
Microcosmos US National Arboretum 3501 New York Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002
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Leos Carax Retrospective 1328 Montana Avenue Santa Monica, Ca 90403

Huguette Caland at The Drawing Center

Huguette Caland, Enlève ton doigt (Remove Your Finger), 1971. 15 x 30 inches (38.1 x 76.2 cm), Oil on canvas. Private Collection.

On June 11, 2021, the solo show paying tribute to artist Huguette Caland, Tête-à-tête is opening at The Drawing Center. This exhibition was part of the 2019 Étant donnés Contemporary Art grantees awarded by the FACE Foundation. Bringing together works on paper and canvas from the past five decades—as well as caftans, mannequins, sculptures, and notebooks on and in which she wielded her pen—the exhibition will show how Caland used the candidness and mutability of the medium of drawing to challenge taboos associated with the representation of female sexuality.

In the late 1960s, at the age of 39, Huguette Caland (b. Beirut, Lebanon, 1931; d. 2019) left her husband and children in Beirut and relocated to Paris to pursue a career as an artist. Because of her early paintings on the subject of human sexuality, Caland briefly came to international prominence in the 1970s; yet, it is the explicit manner in which she expresses sensuality through drawing that has precipitated her recent resurfacing. Caland’s pencil and colored-pencil drawings from the 1970s and 1980s at first appear empty or abstract, but closer observation of the artist’s deliberate lines reveals intertwined body parts, tender images of caressing lovers, and carnivalesque portraits of topsy-turvy figures. Often, Caland uses a single line to convey a body part or intimate gesture, and incorporates the white of the page as a part of the drawing process.

Extending her drawing practice to fashion in the early 1970s, Caland created a series of one hundred kaftans and embroidered many of these with schematic images of breasts and female genitalia. The tension between the nakedness of the human body and the fabrics that conceal it became a central theme in Caland’s drawing practice beginning in the early 1990s, where it was reflected both in the artist’s delicately cross-hatched ink drawings that resemble woven textiles and in a series of nude mannequins embellished with these same designs. Even in her later, more abstracted drawings, the vitality of the human body and the human spirit remains palpable as fragments of figures and geographical elements from her past and present surface amidst brightly-colored drawn and patterned landscapes.

About Huguette Caland:

Born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1931, Huguette Caland is the only daughter of the first president of the Republic of Lebanon. She began painting at the age of 16 under the private tutelage of Fernando Manetti, an Italian artist who resided in Lebanon. She then studied art at the American University of Beirut, lived in Paris for 17 years, and spent some time in New York. Huguette eventually settled in Venice, California in 1987, where she lived and worked until 2013. In 2013, she travelled to Beirut to visit her sick husband, and has been living there ever since.