Whitney Biennial 2014

Solo en Inglès

Hear directly from artists as they discuss the thoughts, processes, and ideas behind their work in the 2014 Biennial. The guide also features commentary from Biennial curators Stuart Comer, Anthony Elms, and Michelle Grabner.

Karl Haendel

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Karl Haendel: I call them theme-time drawings.

Narrator: Karl Haendel.

Karl Haendel:  A few years ago I started listening to this Bob Dylan internet radio show called Theme Time Radio Hour. And every week Bob Dylan played a bunch of songs from sort of the canon of American music, 1930s to like 70s, based on a certain theme. Ideas, lyrics, concepts that come up again and again in song. 

And in my own practice for a number of years since I’ve started making drawings I’ve always been interested in these sort of like categories or types of images. And building my own kind of language with which to explore how images make meaning for us. I sense that like certain images or ideas keep getting reiterated throughout culture, and I thought that I would take each of his categories or his themes every week and I would make a drawing based on that same theme. He did one on food, he did one on coffee, he did one on alcohol. 

Usually I photograph the things to make the drawings to sort of provide an outline and sort of a reference for making a drawing. And sometimes I photograph things like a newspaper article, sometimes I photograph objects, sometimes I photograph things that I draw and then re-photograph, so it can be like anything goes on this. 

An installation view of artworks on a wall.

Karl Haendel: I call them theme-time drawings.

Narrator: Karl Haendel.

Karl Haendel:  A few years ago I started listening to this Bob Dylan internet radio show called Theme Time Radio Hour. And every week Bob Dylan played a bunch of songs from sort of the canon of American music, 1930s to like 70s, based on a certain theme. Ideas, lyrics, concepts that come up again and again in song. 

And in my own practice for a number of years since I’ve started making drawings I’ve always been interested in these sort of like categories or types of images. And building my own kind of language with which to explore how images make meaning for us. I sense that like certain images or ideas keep getting reiterated throughout culture, and I thought that I would take each of his categories or his themes every week and I would make a drawing based on that same theme. He did one on food, he did one on coffee, he did one on alcohol. 

Usually I photograph the things to make the drawings to sort of provide an outline and sort of a reference for making a drawing. And sometimes I photograph things like a newspaper article, sometimes I photograph objects, sometimes I photograph things that I draw and then re-photograph, so it can be like anything goes on this. 


Karl Haendel, Installation view (detail), Theme Time—Colors (version 2), 2013. Pencil and enamel on cut paper, 71 x 52 in. (180.3 x 132.1 cm) framed; Theme Time—Danger, 2014. Pencil on cut paper with shaped frame, 36 x 52 x 2 in. (91.4 x 132.1 x 5.1 cm) framed; Theme Time—Fruit, 2013. Tarpaper, matboard, pencil on cut paper, 45 1/4 x 60 1/4 x 2 in. (114.9 x 153 x 5.1 cm) framed; Theme Time—Blood, 2013. Pencil and enamel on cut paper, 104 x 73 1/2 x 2 in. (264.2 x 186.7 x 5.1 cm) framed; Theme Time—Weather, 2013. Pencil on paper with shaped frame, 45 1/4 x 68 in. (114.9 x 172.7 cm) framed; Theme Time—Food (peas & carrots) [version 2], 2014. Pencil and enamel on paper, 30 x 33.75 in. (76.2 cm x 85.73 cm); Theme Time—Questions [version 2], 2014. Pencil and enamel on cut paper, 30 x 33.75 in. (76.2 cm x 85.73 cm); Theme Time—Presidents Day, 2013. Two drawings: pencil on paper with shaped frames, 69 x 52 in. (175.3 x 132.1 cm) each framed. All works: Collection of the artist; courtesy Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects