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Orange County Museum of Art receives donation of Richard Jackson's 100 Drawings
100 Drawings, 1978; mixed media, dimensions vary. Collection Orange County Museum of Art; gift of Nancy Reddin Kienholz. Three of 100 Drawings shown, from left: No. 35, 1978, pencil on tracing paper, 12 1/8 x 13 1/8 in; No. 87, 1978, pencil on tracing paper, 12 1/8 x 13 1/4 in.; No. 71, 1978, pencil on tracing paper; 12 1/8 x 13 3/4 in. Photos: Chris Bliss Photography.
NEWPORT BEACH, CA.- The Orange County Museum of Art recently received the generous gift of 100 Drawings (1978), a major drawing installation by Richard Jackson. The work, donated by Nancy Reddin Kienholz, provides an essential early record of Jackson's proposals for painting projects. A sort of index to Jackson's working process, and an invaluable record of his protean output, 100 Drawings, includes proposals for works that he had already made, for works that he would realize years or even decades later, as well as ideas that were ultimately abandoned. Although fewer than the original 100 drawings exist today, the museum's gift includes all 90 works that remain in total. The 100 Drawings are currently included in the OCMA exhibition, Richard Jackson: Ain't Painting a Pain and will enter the museum's permanent collection following the conclusion of the exhibition tour.

“Jackson’s humility and humor make his work all the more bold, and it is in these drawings that we glimpse into the brilliant mind of an artist who's constantly striving to expand his abilities as a painter and sculptor" states Szakacs. "The museum is enormously grateful to Nancy Reddin Kienholz for recognizing the importance of these artworks, preserving them over the years, and now gifting them to the museum for the public to enjoy for generations to come."

Based in Los Angeles since the late 1960s, Jackson became friends with Edward Kienholz early in his career. A fellow hunter, Kienholz' blunt, uncompromising, and democratic approach to art was a significant influence on the younger artist.

In 1978 Edward and Nancy Kienholz invited Jackson to exhibit at their Faith and Charity in Hope Gallery in Hope, Idaho. It was for this exhibition that he produced the series of one hundred drawings, each one a different proposal for a painting project. Of the many drawings, the proposals include placing a bucket of paint on top of an open door that is then shut, filling a chest of drawers with paint, and using a high-powered fan to spray—or apply—paint to a surface. Each drawing included instructions on how to make the painting, written in the artist's hand, and was later given a letter grade by Jackson. The more original the setup, the more absurd the action described in a drawing, the higher the grade. Jackson stated at the time: "Do all the drawings for the project, as many as possible, maybe a given number like 100. 100 or more like an English composition, but not less. I can go back after all the drawings are complete and grade myself with a red pencil.

For the exhibition catalog essay "Painting's Playbook", author Jeffrey Weiss considered whether these grades were to take on the role of his own instructor or the much-maligned substitute teacher. He stated "It is clear from the slapstick nature of the proceedings that Jackson was out for laughs, and, if the project is to be understood as homework, then his approach is a lark at the expense of Schoolboy diligence—a long-running, gut-busting prank."

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December 28, 2013

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