Friends of the Fine Arts

, 2009
until 2011
Drawing Circle
organized together with Celeste Dupuy-Spencer

The life drawing circle Friends of the Fine Arts plays off the renewed interest in painting and aesthetic experience by both pointing to a traditional approach and transcending it in its format. All fifteen or so members of Friends of the Fine Arts are practicing artists coming from a wide variety of artistic backgrounds and working with media as diverse as sculpture, dance, writing, music, video, and painting. When it comes to rendering the figure, skill levels vary widely, from a high level of accomplishment to absolute beginners. We aspire to skill-sharing, however learning is transmitted equally between all members of the group—the vast difference in experience does not dictate who learns from whom. In this collective experience, the products are more than just the drawings we make.
Celeste Dupuy-Spencer and Ulrike Mueller initiated the life drawing sessions in the fall of 2008. Since then, Friends of the Fine Arts has been meeting in members’ studios and homes. In the beginning, modeling for our peers seemed merely a means to the end of drawing. Before long, it became apparent that the experience of posing was as important and exciting as the activity of drawing. We had always lightly referred to the academic tradition, but while mining its tools and methods, we have been developing an entirely different approach and goal. As Friends of the Fine Arts, we aim for performance and (self-)representation; we foster exchange; we are interested in the physicality of the experience, bodies touching in multi-person poses, the sexuality of being looked at, and the intimacy of looking.