Art21 Extended Play

Leonardo Drew and Piet Mondrian Meet on the Grid

Leonardo Drew visiting the grave of Piet Mondrian in Cypress Hills Cemetery, Brooklyn. Production still from the series ART21 Exclusive. © ART21, Inc. 2015. Cinematography: Joel Shapiro.

“What can I say about Mondrian, he’s just the man. As far as the grid and composition, obviously I’m working off of him and standing on the shoulders of giants.” —Leonardo Drew

Today’s ART21 Exclusive features artist Leonardo Drew as he reflects upon the influence of Piet Mondrian on his own work. “As different as my work looks, Mondrian is actually right in there,” says Drew, whose work is often built around the same gridded compositional structure that Mondrian innovated. Drew visits Mondrian’s grave in Cypress Hills Cemetery—which is nearby his Brooklyn studio—where visitors often leave paint tubes and other offerings. Drew and his artist friend Paul Pagk first found Mondrian’s grave in 2009 at a time when the cemetery did not realize Mondrian’s notability. After an article titled “Remembered at MoMA, Forgotten at the Cemetery” was published about Drew and Pagk’s discovery, the cemetery installed a sign at Mondrian’s grave identifying the artist as “notable.”

CREDITS: Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interviewer: Nick Ravich. Camera: Joel Shapiro. Sound: Tom Bergin. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Leonardo Drew, Sikkema Jenkins & Co. & Vigo Gallery. Archival Images Courtesy: Leonardo Drew. Special Thanks: Melissa Diaz. Theme Music: Peter Foley.

ART21 Exclusive is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; 21c Museum Hotel; and by individual contributors.