The Drawing Class
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ebrowne's picture


The Drawing Class by Nicole Eisenman looks a little like the art class version of the Cantina on Tatooine in Star Wars.

Everyone in this piece looks just a little bit like an alien. There’s the guy with the big ass claws for hands, the green person in the back corner, the blobfish of a muse in the center, and even the body from which we are looking onto the scene has the world’s biggest thumbs.

But there is a formula here that we have seen time and time again and it is (drum roll) the male gaze! It’s better this time though because Eisenman sees the absurdity of that and instead of giving us some vivacious, voluptuous Odalisque with zero anatomical integrity but nonetheless an amazing rack (lookin’ at you Ingres), we get an indeterminate shape whose only feature is a black heart. According to artist Amy Sillman, "The gaze is critical [in Eisenman’s work]. We look at someone as they look at someone or something, creating instant shame at the self-consciousness involved in being seen, being judged, being aware of the moment.’” It puts you in a position that you certainly don’t want to be in but find yourself in anyways. It’s awkward and feels weird but is also funny at the same time. So basically it’s like high school but a painting. It’s also over five feet tall and almost seven feet long (topic: giant objects), so it’s inescapable like high school as well.

Eisenman’s vibe is such that she just makes art that approaches serious subjects in a non-serious way. This is good. Someone needed to bring humor into the art world, which, let’s face it, can be a bit stuffy and pretentious. I mean who else would create a body of work and call it “al-ugh-ories.” It’s genius. Nicole Eisenman is genius.



  1. Chang, Ian. "Nicole Eisenman." N.p., 2011. Web. 22 Aug. 2018.
  2. "Nicole Eisenman: Artist Talk And Drawing Workshop | Whitney Museum Of American Art." N.p., 2012. Web. 22 Aug. 2018.
  3. Schjeldahl, Peter. "Seriously Funny." The New Yorker. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Aug. 2018.
  4. "The Drawing Class | Society For Contemporary Art." N.p., 2018. Web. 22 Aug. 2018.
  5. "The Drawing Class | The Art Institute Of Chicago." N.p., 2018. Web. 22 Aug. 2018.
  6. Yau, John. "A Truly Great Artist." Hyperallergic. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Aug. 2018.