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Robin Rhode engages a diverse range of political and cultural histories in his performance-based work, from hip-hop/"street" culture and the impact of global media, to the social and economic legacy of apartheid in his native South Africa.
Join us as Rhode discusses his work with Catharina Manchanda, senior curator of exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts and curator of the exhibition Catch Air: Robin Rhode; Claire Tancons, an independent curator who has followed the artist's work closely since 2003; and Hamza Walker, director of education and associate curator at the Renaissance Society, University of Chicago.
Keep reading for more about the artist and panelists.
More about the artist
Born in Cape Town in 1976, Robin Rhode witnessed South Africa's political transformation in the 1990s. After completing his fine arts diploma at Witwatersrand Technikon in 1998, he attended the South African School of Film, Television and Dramatic Arts in Johannesburg. The artist currently divides his time between Berlin and Johannesburg. His work has been prominently featured in group and solo exhibitions in South Africa and Europe since 2000 but is comparatively little-known in the United States, although it has been featured in such prominent venues as the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. In 2008, his projects for Prospect.1 New Orleans, an exhibition curated by Dan Cameron and intended as the inaugural edition of a New Orleans biennial, attracted considerable critical attention as among the show’s standouts. Catch Air at the Wexner Center is his first major solo exhibition in an American museum.
More about the panelists
Catharina Manchanda joined the Wexner Center staff as senior curator of exhibitions in August 2008. Catch Air is her first exhibition for the center. Her interest in Robin Rhode and his art stems, in part, from the ways his particular use of photography coincides with her ongoing engagement with contemporary photography and photoconceptualism. She was previously curator at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis. Beauty and the Blonde: An Exploration of American Art and Popular Culture, an exhibition held there in fall 2007, demonstrates another relevant aspect of her curatorial focus: investigations into the social and political dimensions of contemporary art and its continuing dialogue with popular culture. Prior to joining the Kemper, Manchanda worked in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, where she worked closely with Robert Storr on the coordination and research of two important Gerhard Richter exhibitions. A native of Germany, she received her undergraduate degree from the University of Stuttgart, her MA in art history at the University of Delaware, and her PhD in art history at the City University of New York.
Claire Tancons’s investigations of varied performance art practices coupled with her longstanding familiarity with Robin Rhode and his work inform and enrich her perspective on this artist. Most recently associate curator for both the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans and Prospect.1 New Orleans, she first encountered Rhode's work while working as a curatorial intern at the Walker Art Center on How Latitudes Become Forms, the 2003 group exhibition that helped introduce the artist in the United States. She organized his performance of The Score in 2004 at Artists Space in New York and witnessed his subsequent string of performances in the city. A native of Guadeloupe, French West Indies, Tancons received an MA in museum studies from the Ecole du Louvre in Paris and an MA in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. The traditions of carnival processions and related arts are ongoing research interests for Tancons, as evidenced in Spring, the procession-based project she organized for the 7th Gwangju Biennale in South Korea in 2008. She is currently working on a procession project to be realized in Cape Town in 2009 (as part of CAPE 09). Tancons contributed an essay on the artist to the Wexner Center's catalogue Catch Air: Robin Rhode.
Hamza Walker's interests in issues of representation and art's potential in the urban realm make him an ideal commentator on Robin Rhode's work. Since 1994, he has served as director of education for the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, a noncollecting museum devoted to contemporary art. The recipient of a Curator's Grant from the Peter Norton Family Foundation in 1999, Walker also teaches painting and drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He previously worked as a public art coordinator for Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs. Walker is currently on the boards of Noon, an annual publication of short fiction, and Lampo, a nonprofit presenter of new and experimental music; he also served on the board of Randolph Street Gallery for several years before its closing. He has written articles and reviews for such publications as Trans, Parkett, and Artforum and he has participated in numerous panels, locally, nationally, and internationally. Walker was one of the jurors for the Wexner Center's State Fare exhibition in 2007.
Additional Image Info
Classic Bike (detail), 1998
12 C-prints face-mounted with Plexiglas on aluminum panels
11 3/4 x 18 in. (35.6 x 56.4 cm) each panel
Image courtesy of the artist and Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York.
© Robin Rhode
Hybrid Spaces: A Panel featuring Robin Rhode