Jason Rhoades: DRIVE – Hauser & Wirth, Los Angeles North Gallery

Los Angeles…For Jason Rhoades, the car was a vehicle of artistic pursuit, both readymade sculpture and American idol. Starting 27 February, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles will dedicate an entire gallery at its Downtown Arts District location to a yearlong exploration of Rhoades’ art via the subject of cars and car culture. Known for the driving imagination and ambition of his work, as well as, at times, its reckless provocation and overwhelming materiality, Rhoades (1965 – 2006) was a world builder for whom the making of sculptures and the creation of narratives were intertwined. His epic-scaled installations established him as a force of the international art world in the 1990s while he was based in Los Angeles. ‘DRIVE,’ will unfold over a series of thematic iterations, an ever-changing exhibition of Rhoades’ sculptures, drawings, videos and multiples—enriched by archival materials, public programs and contemporary perspectives.

This February ‘DRIVE’ will open with The Parking Space, featuring a Chevrolet Caprice and Impala, a Ferrari 328 GTS and a Ligier microcar, parked in the gallery alongside a video in which Rhoades fervidly discourses on his concept of the Car Projects. While driving around Los Angeles in 1998, Rhoades explains the relationship of cars to his art (parking is equated with sitting in a sculpture) and to daily practice (driving between the house, the studio and stores is time and space for the mind to race and wander). He expounds on cars as icons of art history (Marcel Duchamp and Francis Picabia speeded modern art forward with their mechanized abstractions), identifiers of class (you are what you drive) and environments of control. The radio is tuned to Power 106 FM and as the world streams by to the propulsive hip-hop beat, the romance of cars seems irresistible.

Jason Rhoades
Photograph for Jason Rhoades’ ‘Caprice Auto Project’ (1996)
Video still of Jason Rhoades interviewed by curator Hans Ulrich Obrist while driving the Caprice around Los Angeles, 1998
© The Estate of Jason Rhoades Courtesy the Estate of Jason Rhoades and Hauser & Wirth

In April, the installation will be reconfigured to accommodate a lounge and become The Pit. An influx of archival materials will be key to unpacking the various episodes of Rhoades’ Car Projects, starting with the Caprice and the 1996 exhibition ‘Traffic.’ Not only did the artist cut a deal with CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, France the organizers of the show, to go in on buying him the car as a transactional work of art, he later leveraged its symbolic value by trading the Caprice for a Ferrari.

This summer the exhibition’s focus will swerve onto The Racetrack. A set of half-scale NASCAR-style cars, custom jackets and colorfully painted tire barriers are among what remains of ‘The Snowball.’ Staged in California as a daylong racing event at Willow Springs speedway, ‘The Snowball’ was ultimately destined for the 2000 Venice Biennale and Rhoades’ collaborative work for the Danish Pavilion. In September, The Garage will cover the final stretch of ‘DRIVE’ with a selection of framed works on paper and a major sculptural installation.

Jason Rhoades
Video still of Jason Rhoades interviewed by curator Hans Ulrich Obrist while driving the Caprice around Los Angeles, 1998
© The Estate of Jason Rhoades Courtesy the Estate of Jason Rhoades and Hauser & Wirth
Lisbeth Thalberg
Lisbeth Thalberghttp://lisbeththalberg.wordpress.com
Journalist and artist (photographer). Editor of the art section at MCM. Contact: art (@) martincid (.) com
Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles