Columbia University in the City of New York

The Harriman Institute Presents

Reflections: The Art of Drawing

by David Miretsky

Woman Holding Necklace by David Miretsky (pencil, paper 16×12.5″) 2005

Woman Holding Necklace

Pencil, paper 16×12.5″

About the Exhibit

The word “reflections” could signify seeing clouds mirrored by a puddle, or deep thoughts. This show can be defined as a synthesis of both meanings. These artist-curated drawings present only a small part of the graphic “Reflections” of a long journey, fragments of time, space and human existence. They are selected from years of capturing life, started in Kyiv, in the sixties, in notebooks or on single pieces of paper of poor Soviet quality. They were added daily for over forty years in New York, and have now become a unique collection of at least an album a year full of drawings, often accompanied by non sequitur texts on the facing page.

The albums present a variety of themes: from a sketch of a jail cell in Kyiv, to an occasional landscape or still life. But most of the pages are filled with uniquely recognizable characters from all walks of life, reflecting the vulnerable humaneness of humans, with empathy, amusement and love. Genre scenes, later turned into paintings. Ordinary life elevated to the archetype of relationships. Portraits of people, from paupers to politicians, meshed with conceptual and poetic exercises. Themes repeat in Miretsky’s mirror labyrinth. His Art of Drawing can be as elaborate and precise as Dürer’s etchings, or be a one-line fleeting moment, like a Hokusai manga, and every time—revealing some of life’s painful truth, inherited from Otto Dix’s narrative. One never grows tired looking at these drawings. What you see here is a mere mirror shard… reflecting life.
—Nellie Belin

About the Artist

David Miretsky (b. 1939, Kyiv) studied at the Kyiv Art Institute from 1965 to 1969. Unable to exhibit his work in official venues because of its unorthodox subject matter and style, Miretsky took part in underground exhibitions in Kyiv and Moscow, which eventually led to his arrest and the confiscation of some works. He and his family left the Soviet Union and made their way to the U.S. in 1975, settling first in Cincinnati, but then moving to New York, where he has made his home ever since. Today he lives and works in Brooklyn.

He has had a number of solo exhibitions in Cincinnati, Chicago, and New York, and in 2006 he exhibited his work at the National Art Museum of Ukraine (Kyiv). You can learn more about Miretsky’s life and work by visiting his website:

Artist Talk and Reception

An artist talk by David Miretsky about his work and a reception will take place on October 27th at 6:00 PM. Registration required. Learn more >>


Monday–Friday, 9:00 AM–5:00 PM
October 24th through December 16th
excluding university holidays


Harriman Institute Atrium
420 W 118th St, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10027

Visitor Information

All non-Columbia visitors must meet the primary vaccination series mandate.

No registration or tickets required.