Jason Rhoades Instillations, 1994-2006 opens at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel Saturday, February 18, 2017, and continues through May 21, 2017. Cartwheel Art was invited for the press opening where we were introduced to this survey of Rhoades expansive, multi layered, assemblage works, by Iwan Wirth, Schimmel and Paul McCarthy.
Wirth spoke of his relationship with Rhoades, who passed 10 years ago, last August. How the Los Angeles based artist was consequential in the forming of Hauser Wirth Gallery and how he was embraced in Europe, yet described “LA’s continual dismissal of Jason’s work.”
Schimmel spoke of Rhoades contextually as he experienced the work; simultaneously pushing with “buffoonery” and exposing the “privileged” place the artists holds in the world, sustained duality. Schimmel continued illuminating on the concepts, studio practice, materials used and Rhoades’ evolution. Also mentioned was the timing for this survey of works and how they strike a chord with the current political climate. It is the galleries sincerest wish, to introduce “Jason’s World” to the next generation.
Artist Paul McCarthy, one of Rhoades mentors, spoke on how his unique thinking affected the school, teachers and students as he engaged in “group entertainment” and “Jokester Plays.” McCarthy spoke of his exploration of “Art as a ready-made process, a way of life, questioning the nature of painting, sculpture and commodity,” thereby raising these questions for everyone.
There is a lot going on in Jason Rhoades works. Each instillation is large, encompassing its own, very large room. Once acclimated to each room, or exhibition, it’s time to explore. The first exhibition is Swedish Erotica and Fiero Parts from 1994, Rosamond Felsen Gallery in West Hollywood, his first solo show. Playing with the yellow of the gallery, legal pads and the Fiero (not included in this exhibit), the viewer also feels like it’s a game. A maze visually, a handmade ikea store, as well as intellectually, as you experience the “Jokester Plays” McCarthy described.
As you move into the second room, exhibiting My Brother/Brancusi, Rhoades addressed the walls with home framed pictures, the images inside, juxtaposing Brancusi with his brother. This exhibit is the smallest of the six, and least overwhelming, as it is mainly contained in the center of the room.
The Creation Myth feels like a carnival ride and goes much further, debunking man as creator. From an internal brain with computers and moving parts, to an “asshole” that blows smoke rings, there is something of meaning, which leads to another meaning, in every nook and cranny. Even where nothing has been placed, the negative space reveals something as visual projections moving around the room, touch everything.
The next three exhibitions feature neon words for “pussy”. My Madinah, In pursuit of my ermitage… is visually beautiful, and the space between above and below is a relief. It can be taken in as a whole, and then broken into parts as you read the words hung from above, total of 240 neon “pussy words”. It feels like a holy place.
The Black Pussy… and the Pagan Idol Workshop, again, feels a bit like a carnival or a spooky house, as one enters a dark room with dark blue/black neon and vignettes. ‘The Black Pussy… and the Pagan Idol Workshop’ joyously reincarnates 360 banished idols, brazenly attending to our worship of the gods of commerce and spectacle. “The BlackPussy” is my collection of pussy words drawn from African, Creole, Cajun, Ebonics and Hip Hop Dialects,’ said Rhoades in 2006.
The final work is in a room toward the front of the gallery called Tijuanatanjierchandelier where Rhoades has created a “bazaar” type atmosphere with assembled chandeliers, in a mix of Mexico and Morocco. There are mats with nick knack’s and beds strewn throughout the room with piles of laundry. Within it all, there are 176 “pussy words” in English and Spanish.
As one moves through the rooms, there is a description of the exhibit, which are shown in the pictures to follow.
I am happy the show will be up until late May as, like with a good movie, there are many nuances you miss the first time around.