BAD TOUCH 2.0
GROUP DRAWING SHOW CURATED BY BILL THELEN
December 3 – January 16
opening reception, Friday December 3, 6-9pm
Bill Thelen and a few of his cohorts originally came up with what would become the title to this show, in reference to their common approach to drawing: a style so lackluster that the end results were often great. They would refer to other artists with this peculiar gift for drawing as having a “bad touch.” It could be the charming way the lines are lazily put to the paper, or a drawing’s endearingly sophomoric feel. Or, it could be an awkward rendering, where the beauty of an object is muddled, but somehow comes out beautiful anyway. Whatever the cherished flaw, a drawing like this has the potential to cut through the bullshit in an exceedingly conservative art market, one with a logic of value that strains credulity.
The first Bad Touch show happened in 2001 at Lump. Sarcastic, anti-academic, and generally fucked-up, the drawings in that show were hung salon style and presented as a type of assault to the senses. Luckily nothing sold, because the show traveled to Space 1026 in Philadelphia, followed by a cascade of iterations, each one adding more artists; Chicago, London, New York, Tampa, and finally the Rose Museum in Boston. Bad Touch was the precursor to The Nothing That Is, a massive drawing show that Bill curated at CAM Raleigh in 2015.
So as 2021 comes to a close, Lump brings the concept full circle with a Bad Touch reunion that includes many of the original artists, plus a Bad Touch addendum, which introduces a group of new artists, in keeping with the fundamental tradition of the series. It’s an important show. For Bill. For Lump. For those of you who have never really considered the power of poor line work. And for every artist out there who is gifted with the bad touch.