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Traveling & MakingLeonardo Drew
Leonardo Drew discusses the importance of travel in relationship to his artwork. “If you allow your antennas to reach out,” he tells a group of students at Vigo Gallery in London, “you’ll find what it is you need for this part of your journey.”
Deeply devoted to his studio practice, Drew was initially reluctant to leave his home base in New York for an extended period of time. But back-to-back trips to Peru, Cuba, Spain, and Switzerland led him to a realization: “I could spend that much time out of the studio and not miss the studio because life was going on and art was going on within me,” he explains. “The art is fed by experiences.”More information and credits
Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producers: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interviewers: Nick Ravich & Susan Sollins. Camera: John Marton, Michael Miles, Joel Shapiro, and Andrew David Watson. Sound: Tom Bergin & Andy Paddoa. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Leonardo Drew, Sikkema Jenkins & Co., and Vigo Gallery. Archival Images Courtesy: Leonardo Drew. Special Thanks: Melissa Diaz. Theme Music: Peter Foley.
Art21 Exclusive is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; 21c Museum Hotel, and by individual contributors.
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Although often mistaken for accumulations of found objects, Leonardo Drew’s sculptures are instead made of “brand new stuff”—materials such as wood, rusted iron, cotton, paper, and mud—that he intentionally subjects to processes of weathering, burning, oxidation, and decay. Whether jutting out from a wall or traversing rooms as freestanding installations, his pieces challenge the architecture of the space in which they’re shown. Never content with work that comes easily, Drew constantly reaches beyond “what’s comfortable” and charts a course of daily investigation, never knowing what the work will be about but letting it find its way, and asking, “What if….”
“I want to take in as much as possible,
I want to learn as much as possible,
and I want to give back as much as possible.”