South African artist Robin Rhode has been named recipient of the 2014 Roy R. Neuberger Exhibition Prize, a biannual prize, which celebrates an exceptional artist with an early-career survey and catalogue. Rhode’s exhibition, Animating the Everyday, a ten-year survey of his digital videos, will be presented at the Neuberger Museum of Art of Purchase College from May 4 through August 10. The 22 works in the exhibition will focus on the digital videos that Rhode identifies as “animations” and photographic series that correspond to or complement the time-based work.
Rhode’s exuberant animations—created in the streets, studios, his parents’ yard in Johannesburg, and Berlin, where he now lives and works—transform the quotidian into the playful and fantastic but include an underpinning of melancholy, danger, and risk. “I embrace chaos. I don’t create a work only with the idea that it has to be lighthearted; there’s something dark underneath,” Rhode explained at a recent visit to the Neuberger Museum of Art. “I come from a culture that is very spontaneous, that has a lot of humor and sarcasm. It stems from the South African mentality and has to do with freedom, and with the possibility of imagining or reinventing another world quite rapidly…Approachability and accessibility are fundamental to my work.”
A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition. It contains essays by co-curators Helaine Posner, Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Neuberger Museum of Art, and Louise Yelin, Professor of Literature, Purchase College; Tom Gunning, Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Art History, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the College at the University of Chicago; and Leora Maltz-Leca, Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Culture at the Rhode Island School of Design accompanies the exhibition.
Bicycles, chairs, and the human look large in Rhode’s animations. Sometimes the figures appear to defy gravity or at least struggle with it as it represents “the ultimate limit to be spurned,” writes Gunning. “Rhodes images simultaneously…celebrate [the] possibilities but also…encounter the resistance of the material circumstances of the real world.”
A director’s brunch and private viewing will be held on Sunday, May 11, from 10:30am to noon. A free bus from Manhattan will depart from corner of 10th Avenue and 26th street at 9:30am, and will include the return trip with an optional drop-off at Frieze Art Fair.
Paola Morsiani, Director of the Neuberger Museum of Art, will host brunch and viewing of Robin Rhode: Animating the Everyday, Forrest Bess: Seeing Things Invisible and When Modern Was Contemporary: The Roy R. Neuberger Collection, in conjunction with Frieze.
Neu First Wednesdays, May 7, 4:30–6:30pm
Exhibition co-curators Helaine Posner and Louise Yelin offer a walk-through of the Robin Rhode exhibition. Art making, refreshments, and music are included.
Conversation: South African Art Today
Sunday, July 20, 2pm
Scholar Leora Maltz-Leca contextualizes Robin Rhode: Animating the Everyday in a conversation about contemporary art in South Africa. Ms. Maltz-Leca is a contributing author to the exhibition catalogue, and Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Culture at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Neuberger Museum of Art
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Purchase, New York 10577
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