In 2014, Harold Ancart (b. 1980), a Belgian artist living and working in New York, transformed the trunk of his jeep into a studio and set out on a road trip across the United States. He wanted to experience the vastness of the country he now called home. Along the way he would pull his car over whenever he saw something that moved him to draw. Untitled (There is no there there), a group of 27 drawings completed over the course of his journey, reflects the immediacy and vitality of his method.
There are logos and billboards, suns and moonscapes, Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, mountains and plateaus. Ancart’s drawings—informed by Max Ernst, Clyfford Still, and Richard Serra—do not seek to resolve the tension between form and formlessness, resolution and process. In this regard, Ancart says, “It’s important that I work in drawing and not painting. Painting has more to do with the search for completion, the finished masterpiece… Drawings are never finished or unfinished—they are a promise for the future.”(1)
The Menil Collection will present Untitled (There is no there there), a title borrowed from Gertrude Stein, in its modern and contemporary galleries from August 18–October 23, 2016. It is Ancart’s first installation in a major American museum. The work is shown alongside a selection of drawings that the Menil has been gifted or acquired from 2011 to the present.