For over three decades, Leonardo Drew has become known for creating contemplative abstract sculptural works that play upon a tension between order and chaos. At once monumental and intimate in scale, his work recalls post-Minimalist sculpture that alludes to America’s industrial past. Drew transforms accumulations of raw materials such as wood, scrap metal, and cotton to articulate various overlapping themes with emotional gravitas: from the cyclical nature of life and decay to the erosion of time. His surfaces often approach a language of their own, embodying the labored process of writing oneself into history.
Drew’s works have been shown internationally and are included in numerous public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; and Tate, London. His works have recently been acquired by The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Bloomington, Indiana; and New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana among others.
Drew was commissioned for a new outdoor project City in the Grass for Madison Square Park in summer 2019, marking the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s 38th public commission and the
artist’s first major public outdoor art project. City in the Grass was presented as a solo exhibition in three museums, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut (2021); Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson (2020); and North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh (2020). Other solo exhibitions include Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, California (2020); University of Massachusetts Amherst (2019); de Young Museum, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, California (2017); Palazzo Delle Papesse, Centro Arte Contemporanea, Siena, Italy (2006); and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (2000). Drew’s mid-career survey, Existed, premiered at the Blaffer Gallery at the University of Houston in 2009, and traveled to the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina, and the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Drew was also commissioned for two major site-responsive works permanently installed at San Francisco International Airport, Harvey Milk Terminal 1, and at the Facebook Headquarters, Menlo Park, California respectively. In 2022, Drew was elected as a National Academician by the National Academy of Design.
Drew was born in 1961 in Tallahassee, Florida, and he grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
National Academy of Design
Held on Monday, October 11, 2021
Watch recording here
Wadsworth Athenum Museum of Art
Front lawn: June 4 – November 14, 2021
Main Street lobby: June 18, 2021 – January 2, 2022
Watch the recording here
North Carolina Museum of Art
Raleigh, North Carolina
September 7, 2020 – January 3, 2021
June 10, 2022
By Caroline Roux
October 1, 2021
by Jonah Groeneboer
May 30, 2019
By Hilarie M. Sheets
May 30, 2019
By Francesca Anton