Casey Kaplan, New York, is exhibiting Jonathan Monk’s “Restaurant Drawings” through July 26, 2019.

The exhibition is the artist’s ninth exhibition with the gallery. The show brings together over 120 drawings on restaurant receipts, produced over the last year and each receipt portrays a hand rendered artwork, and is priced at the cost of the meal.

“The series began in 2015 when Monk and his family relocated temporarily from Berlin to Rome. Communal meals became habitual as the family sought to familiarize themselves with the new city. Attracted to the elegant, hand-written paper receipts commonly used in restaurants in Italy, Monk began to collect the bills received at the end of his family meals. Once home, he would draw directly onto the receipts, a recurring practice that has continued to this day,” says the gallery. “Monk’s imagery is culled from both a personal and canonicalized engagement with more recent Western art history.” 

The drawings offer a diaristic glimpse inside the daily life of the artist through the logging of his meals. The meals themselves are a public and often communal act, their visibility and distribution has remained mostly digital. Instead of a critique of social media, Monk manipulates Instagram as a platform through which he can engage directly with his patrons, reminiscent of the democratic utopia once promised by the Internet as a potential space for unregulated exchange. The speed and accessibility of the interaction are fundamental to the conceptual underpinnings of the work. 

“This exhibition will provide most viewers their first opportunity to see the restaurant drawings in person, rather than mediated through the screen of a phone; a chance for the pace of viewing to more closely mirror the leisure of dining out. Seen up-close, the drawings reveal the gestural intimacy of the artist’s hand. Many contain slight creases, torn corners, or curling edges that expose their vulnerability and the ephemeral nature of receipt paper,” adds the gallery.

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