Dan Fischer, The FLAG Art Foundation, New York

1 May – 13 August 2021


Alison Jacques Gallery is pleased to announce that Dan Fischer will have a two-decade survery at The FLAG Foundation, New York, on view to the public from 1 May – 13 August 2021.


'Dan Fischer: Drawings, 1999-2021' features over 70  grid-based, graphite-on-paper works that span from 1999 to 2021, and highlights Fischer’s iterative exploration of the photographic medium, mechanical reproduction, and the idea of making an original copy – a 'handmade readymade' or 'retro-appropriation.'


Modern and contemporary art history are Fischer’s singular subject matter and his oeuvre includes high contrast, black and white portraits of iconic artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Isamu Noguchi, and Kara Walker; studio images of Piet Mondrian, Bridget Riley, and Frida Kahlo; and images of artworks that have become synonymous with their makers: Duchamp’s Fountain, 1917, Jeff Koons’s Rabbit, 1986, David Wojnarowicz’s Untitled (Face in Dirt), 1991, among many others. The earliest works in FLAG’s survey include a selection of raster-style drawings from 1999, influenced by his teacher at Alfred University, the sound and video artist Andrew Deutsch, as well as the work of composer, music theorist, artist, and philosopher John Cage. While thematically linked to Fischer’s larger representational practice, these works isolate photographic information in strips against white space to mirror the effect of TV cathode-ray tubes and the vertical delineations known as raster lines.


Working from photocopied images taken from art catalogues, magazines, and other reference materials, Fischer’s drawings are, as described by art historian and curator Robert Hobbs, 'Xerox realistic'. Influenced by Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, and the broader history of appropriation and reproduction, Fischer creates a 1:1 ratio between the photocopied source and drawn image through the use of the grid. While the finished drawings appear photorealistic from a distance, upon closer inspection, grid lines and nuances from the graphite pencil impressions remains visible as both a formal and physical reminder of the mechanics of their reproduction. Fischer said of this process, 'the drawings are highly analytical, both formally and conceptually. Line by line, I try to make these past moments of art history come back to life, to be more exotic, or more surreal than they actually were (perhaps all stories are told this way). I try to reproduce the excitement of a special moment or location in art history, and to celebrate the role of artists as myth, or as icon…the intense attention to detail, the touch of graphite on paper, and the passionate rendering of my favorite subjects are the driving forces of the project.'


Fischer’s practice, like all appropriation art, raises questions about originality, authenticity, and authorship, and belongs to the long modernist tradition of art that questions the nature and/or definition of art itself.[4] By conflating mass-produced photographs of art historical significance with the trace effects of an intensely handmade production, Fischer’s drawings operate between subjectivity and objectivity; they create a new situation, and therefore new or alternative meanings for extant images.