Torn Signs: Final Friday

Friday, November 8, 2019 5:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Ralston Crawford: Torn Signs open at the Vilcek Foundation from May 13 to November 13, 2019.

Join us on Friday, November 8, to celebrate the closing of Ralston Crawford: Torn Signs. Guests are invited to stop by the Vilcek Foundation between 5:00PM and 8:30PM to view the inaugural exhibition in our gallery space and have a glass of wine, before the show closes on November 13.

Registration is not required for this event.

This exhibition and accompanying catalogue examine the confluence of Ralston Crawford's Torn Signs and Semana Santa series, two seemingly disparate themes connected by Crawford’s extraordinary visual memory, working method, and inventiveness. Over the course of four decades, Crawford recorded, transformed, and often merged his experiences and memories in photographs, drawings, etchings, paintings, and film. 

In 1938, Crawford first photographed a ripped and pasted-over sign on the street in Philadelphia. Crawford returned to this subject frequently in the last thirty years of his life, photographing collages of  layered and weathered advertisements plastered around New York City. During this time, he also traveled frequently to Seville, Spain and in 1972, documented the experience of Holy Week in his Semana Santa series. Crawford drew inspiration from a constellation of memory and invention that flowed in multiple directions at once: the rhythmic images of hooded penitents processing through the streets for Holy Week recalled formal elements of his Torn Signs imagery. The convergence of these two incredible series is evident in the composition of the titular piece for this exhibition, Crawford’s large-scale painting, Torn Signs, 1974-76 (Vilcek Foundation Collection).

If you are interested in writing about the exhibition for a blog or publication, we encourage you to reach out to Elizabeth Boylan at 212-472-2500.


The Vilcek Foundation is located at 21 East 70th Street, New York, NY 10021.

Visiting Policies

A coat check will be available for jackets, umbrellas, and small personal items, but luggage of any kind and bags larger than 11 x 15 x 5 inches are not permitted and cannot be checked at the foundation.

The foundation reserves the right to refuse to check items and is not responsible for checked items.

Water in plastic bottles may be brought into the foundation. Other food and drink is not allowed and cannot be checked in the coat closet.

Only pencils may be used in the gallery; the use of pens and markers is prohibited.

Please do not touch the artwork on display. Even clean hands can cause damage.

Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. 

Strollers are not permitted in the exhibition.

The Vilcek Foundation reserves the right to remove guests acting in an inappropriate or unacceptable manner.


Non-commercial visitor photography is permitted.

Flash photography, additional lighting, and the use of tripods or extension poles/selfie sticks is prohibited.

The Vilcek Foundation reserves the right to withhold or withdraw photography permissions at any time.

Special Access and Service Animals

The Vilcek Foundation is fully handicap accessible, including both floors of the exhibition and a restroom. However, we do not have wheelchairs available for use.

Registered service animals are permitted in the Vilcek Foundation. Pets or other animals are not allowed. 

Registration is not required for this event.


There are 131 tickets left for this event. No more than 10 tickets may be reserved.
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  • Ralston Crawford: Torn Signs

    Our new exhibition, Ralston Crawford: Torn Signs, features paintings, drawings, and photography by a master of American Modernism that are rarely exhibited to the public.


    Free with advance registration!


    RSVP here >