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Director’s Lecture Series 2016–2017, Lecture 4: Hanne Darboven’s 408 drawings in 10 chapters, 1972–73

By Dr. Cathleen Chaffee, Senior Curator

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

6:30 pm - 8 pm EST

Hanne Darboven’s K: 15 x 15-F: 15 x 15 (Ordner:1)Varianten-aufzeichnungen 1-99 (Ordner:5), and Varianten-aufzeichnungen 1-99 (Ordner:6), all 1972–73, in Looking at Tomorrow: Light and Language from The Panza Collection, 1967–1990. Photograph by Tom Loonan.

5:30–6:30 pm, Reception
6:30–7:30 pm, Lecture
7:30–8 pm, Questions & Conversation

$85 general admission 
$65 for Members (FREE for Members at the Andy Warhol Circle and higher)
$35 for students (with valid student ID)
Series Tickets and Scholarships


This immersive series of drawings by Hanne Darboven offers a striking example of the artist’s daily artmaking practice. Often using the current calendar date as her starting point, Darboven produced systematic charts and sequences of numbers as well as long strands of looped forms that evoke handwriting. Both serve as methods of counting and marking time as well as giving material form to its passage. While the artist’s drawings often explore the many possible relationships that can exist between integers, her use of numbers in no way represents an interest in mathematical logic, as Darboven herself warned, “I only use numbers because it is a way of writing without describing. . . I choose numbers because they are so constant, confined, and artificial.”

In 1966, Darboven moved from her native Germany to New York, where she met and exhibited with many artists of the burgeoning Minimalist and Conceptual art movements, including artists in the Albright-Knox’s collection, such as Carl Andre and Sol LeWitt (who was an early supporter of her work and remained a lifelong friend). Although she lived in New York for only two years, it was a formative experience and established writing and numbers as the building blocks for her work in the 1970s. This group of drawings was acquired from the Panza Collection in 2015, and this lecture will be the first opportunity to learn about the work’s importance in relation to the art of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as the Albright-Knox’s collection.

About the 2016-2017 Director's Lecture Series

This year’s Director’s Lecture Series presents the story of six timely—and timeless—works of art that help define the continuing greatness of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. The series is designed by Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director Dr. Janne Sirén and presented by Dr. Sirén, Deputy Director Dr. Joe Lin-Hill, and Senior Curator Dr. Cathleen Chaffee. Learn More and View Series Schedule

Program Sponsors

The Director's Lecture Series is made possible, in part, through the generous support of HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Additional support has been provided by WSF Industries, Inc.