Viewing Imi Knoebel’s 250.000 Zeichnungen (250,000 Drawings)

Saturday, March 12, 2022, 2:00 pm, Dia Beacon

Event Details
Saturday, March 12, 2–3:30 pm          

Dia Beacon 
3 Beekman Street 
Beacon, New York 

Free with museum admission. Space is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Imi Knoebel's 250.000 Zeichnungen (250,000 Drawings, 1968–75) consists of 6 custom-built, double-doored cabinets containing 912 boxes. These hold 250,000 graphite drawings executed between 1968 and 1975, each consisting of juxtapositions of 2 straight lines on letter-sized paper. Like his Raum 19 (Room 19, 1968), also on view at Dia Beacon, which can be shown in innumerable ways, 250,000 Drawings explores notions of presentation and installation. 

When exhibited, the cabinets are displayed closed, as if in storage, adding a sense of mystery to the work; however, the artist has allowed that anyone who wishes to see the drawings need only ask. This was the case when they were first shown at Dia in 1987, though it has been reported that no one ever made such a request. For this event, a selection of drawings from the 912 boxes will be made available for visitors to view following a brief introduction by Donna De Salvo, Dia’s senior adjunct curator, special projects.

Imi Knoebel was born in Dessau, Germany, in 1940. He was a Meisterschüler (master student) of Joseph Beuys at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from 1964 to 1971. His first exhibition, IMI + IMI, with fellow student Imi Giese, was held in Copenhagen in 1968. His work has since been included in such seminal exhibitions as Public Eye: Kinetik, Konstruktivismus, Environments, Kunsthaus Hamburg (1968); Prospect 71, Städtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (1971); and Documenta (1972, 1977, 1982, and 1987). In 1987 Knoebel oversaw an installation of his work, as well as that of Beuys and Blinky Palermo, for Dia’s inaugural exhibitions on West 22nd Street in New York. A 1996–97 retrospective of Knoebel’s work traveled throughout Europe, including to such venues as the Haus der Kunst, Munich; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Spain. Two related exhibitions of Knoebel’s work were held in Berlin in 2009, at the Neue Nationalgalerie and the Deutsche Guggenheim. In 2011 he was commissioned to create six monumental stained-glass windows for the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Reims, France, and in 2016 he received the Ordre des arts et des Lettres from the French Minister of Culture. Knoebel’s environmental installation Raum 19 (Room 19, 1968) is on long-term view at Dia Beacon. He lives in Düsseldorf.    


Donna De Salvo joined Dia Art Foundation in 2019 as senior adjunct curator, special projects, providing specialized input on Dia’s collection, exhibitions, long-term installations, and archive. Her appointment at Dia follows a fifteen-year tenure at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, where, in 2006, she was appointed the museum’s first chief curator; in 2015, she assumed the role of deputy director for international initiatives and senior curator. Recent exhibitions that she co-organized at the Whitney include Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again (2018–19), Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium (2017), Open Plan: Michael Heizer (2016), Open Plan: Steve McQueen (2016), and America Is Hard to See (2015). De Salvo previously held curatorial positions at Dia; Tate Modern, London; the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; and the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio. In 2005 De Salvo co-organized Course of Empire: Paintings by Ed Ruscha with Linda Norden for the United States pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

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