A line becomes cheeky, lewd, and downright mean: Carroll Dunham's drawings sometimes have the look of scribbles done by people in the throes of puberty. But that is not the whole truth of the matter. Because however scurrilous Dunham's line may be, it remains just as strictly within the given bounds, obeying the laws of extreme economy. His thoughtful use of form is especially clear in his works on wood or with veneer. This is not simply some overblown imagination letting off steam, for it allows itself to find inspiration in the chance structures in the grain and the patterns of the picture support. And ultimately the curious tale of a man with a top hat proves Dunham to be an artist who has learnt as much from Abstract Expressionism as from comics, because he can combine the two with astonishing ease.
The exhibition presents drawings and prints from 1996 to the present. The museum has been fortunate enough to acquire a sizeable number of his works, which are presented in the sixth volume of the Grafische Sammlung. Museum Ludwig series. For this Kirsty Bell has written an illuminating introduction to Carroll Dunham's work. The book may be ordered from http://www.strzelecki-books.com/. Price 9.80 euros. (Text: Museum Ludwig, Cologne)
The artist Carroll Dunham was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1949, and now lives and works in New York City and Connecticut. Numerous international solo exhibitions were dedicated to his work: in 2002 a retrospective in the New Museum, New York was a tribute to his work, and in 2004 he received the Skowhegan Medal for Distinction in Painting.