Jason Rhoades

- Biography

Jason Rhoades (1965-2006) is known for his highly original, large-scale sculptural installations, which incorporate miscellaneous materials inspired by Los Angeles car culture and his rural upbringing in Northern California, amongst other sources. Until his untimely death in 2006 at age 41, he carried out a continuous assault on aesthetic conventions and the rules governing the art world, wryly subverting those conditions by integrating them within his practice. He conceived his works as part on an ongoing project to which objects were continuously added—dream catchers and oriental carpets, neon signs, power cords, building materials, and his own newly fabricated products were assembled and re-assembled in different configurations and also enlisted as part of performances and happenings within the installations. Underpinned by a unique combination of strong conceptual vigor and humor, his practice redefined and expanded the space in which artworks are both made and exhibited. Believing in ultimate freedom for artists, Rhoades circumvented notions of taste and political correctness in a candid pursuit of the creative impulse itself.

Rhoades was born in Newcastle, California in 1965. He received his M.F.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1993. Later that year, Rhoades joined David Zwirner—becoming part of the gallery's original roster of artists—and had his first New York solo show.

In 2014, David Zwirner presented Jason Rhoades: PeaRoeFoam at the gallery in New York. The comprehensive exhibition was specially dedicated to Rhoades's body of work using PeaRoeFoam, the artist's self-made recipe for a "brand new product and revolutionary new material" created from whole green peas, fish-bait style salmon eggs, and white virgin-beaded foam. It marked the gallery's first exhibition showcasing Rhoades since its critically acclaimed installation of Black Pussy in 2007. An accompanying publication by David Zwirner Books features scholarship by Julien Bismuth, an interview with Linda Norden, and selected interviews from the Jason Rhoades Oral History project devised by Lucas Zwirner, who interviewed over fifty artists, curators, and others who intimately knew the artist.

Rhoades's work has been exhibited internationally since the 1990s. His first solo presentation at a European institution was held at Kunsthalle Basel in 1996. Other international venues which have organized solo shows include Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands; Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Nuremberg, Germany (both 1998); Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Germany (1999); Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (MUMOK), Vienna (2002); Le Magasin - Centre National d'Art Contemporain de Grenoble, France (2005); and Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain (2006).

In 2013, Jason Rhoades, Four Roads marked the first American museum exhibition of the artist's work, organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. In 2014, the exhibition traveled internationally to the Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany, followed by the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, England in 2015. In 2017, The Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich, Connecticut presented a solo exhibition featuring Rhoades’s works from The Brant Collection as well as significant projects from the artist’s career, including My Brother/Brancusi (1995); The Grand Machine / THEAREOLA (2002); and Untitled (from the body of work: My Madinah: In pursuit of my ermitage…) (2004).

Work by the artist has been prominently featured in group exhibitions worldwide, including the Whitney Biennial (1995, 1997, and 2008) and the Venice Biennale (1997, 1999, and 2007).

Museum collections which hold works by Rhoades include the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Gallery, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

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