Join artist Tony Lewis and Hirshhorn curator Betsy Johnson to discuss how drawing and poetry can be tools to challenge important issues of our time.

In an ever-expanding engagement with drawing, Tony Lewis harnesses the medium of graphite powder to confront social and political topics, including race, power, communication, and labor. Lewis’ Anthology 2014–2016, a suite of thirty-four original collage-poems, is the focus of a forthcoming catalogue. Exhibited at the Hirshhorn for the first time in its entirety in Spring 2018, and now part of the Hirshhorn’s permanent collection, this series of evocative black-and-white works draws on an unlikely source: Calvin and Hobbes comic books. Lewis, part of an exciting generation of artists working to collapse the boundaries between disparate art forms, has quickly established himself in the contemporary art world by forming a distinct visual vocabulary that integrates poetry and text with the properties of abstraction. His monochromatic drawings pull from various visual and written sources, ranging from the personal to the political. Separating, rearranging, and erasing text, he shifts the way we read to open up new and unexpected meanings.

Tony Lewis: Anthology 2014-2016 features essays by internationally renowned artist Theaster Gates and Betsy Johnson, as well as a visual essay by artist Karl Haendel.

Get your own copy! The book is available for purchase online through the Smithsonian Store and in person through the Hirshhorn store.


Tony Lewis’ work has been the subject of recent solo exhibitions including Anthology 2014-2016, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (2018); Plunder, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA (2017); Alms, Comity and Plunder, Museo Marino Marini, Florence, Italy (2016); and nomenclature movement free pressure power weight, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH (2015). Lewis participated in the 2014 iteration of the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, NY and was the recipient of the 2017-2018 Ruth Ann and Nathan Perlmutter Artist-in-Residence Award at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, Waltham, MA. Lewis lives and works in Chicago, IL.

Check it out! Don’t miss Maker Morning: Art from Your Heart on Saturday, February 11 to make your own art project inspired by Tony Lewis’ Anthology 2014-2016.

Image courtesy of Mousse Publishing.