Grain of a Hand: Drawings with Graphite

Saturday, Jul 17, 2021 – Apr 3, 2022

220 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611


July 17, 2021 - April 3, 2022

Featuring works in the MCA Collection, Grain of a Hand: Drawings with Graphite presents a selection of artworks that challenge the traditional uses of graphite, the carbon-based material in the common pencil. While drawing is typically seen as a preparatory medium to quickly sketch out ideas, many of the artists in Grain of a Hand: Drawings with Graphite explore drawing and graphite as their main medium and material of choice and consider graphite drawings as finished works. Works in this exhibiton use drawing and graphite as a means to clarify or abstract experiences of sight, knowledge, and memory, and explore the use of graphite for language and recording. 


The artists featured in both rotations of Grain of a Hand include:

The artists featured throughout the run of the exhibition include:

Jul 17–Dec 12, 2021

Dec 16, 2021–Mar 27, 2022

  • Jamal Cyrus (American, b. 1973)
  • Laura Figa (American, b. 1992)


Tony Lewis, roc an r, 2014. Pencil and graphite powder on paper; framed: 86 ¼ × 62 13/16 in. (219.1 × 159.5 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Marilyn and Larry Fields, 2016.24.

© 2014 Tony Lewis. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago