Rita McBride: Access
Sep 10 – Oct 31, 2015
Alexander and Bonin starts the fall season with Access, a solo exhibition of new work by sculptress Rita McBride. The exhibition will include patinated, water-jet-cut brass keys, door knockers, locks, keyholes, and rings.
Keys unlock, chart, guide, and connote social structures. Their function is derived from contexts and norms of access within communities. Just as a key only opens a certain lock and is meaningless without knowledge of the corresponding lock, the key as an ornament or sign of a society’s visual organization is reliant on specific contexts to provide meaning. A key connotes a certain level of power and status: keys indicate access to otherwise inaccessible locations and contents. McBride’s recent exhibition at Konrad Fischer Galerie in Düsseldorf was titled Gesellschaft, a term used to define a rationally developed society characterized by a detachment from traditional and sentimental concerns. Similarly, a lock and key maintain a rational relationship, paralleling institutional structures within a society.
McBride’s exhibitions examine and question systems of display. The elements comprising a work are not fixities, but rather are combined and distributed as gestures to the exhibition space. The works in Gesellschaft and Access are titled after countries and regions. Their mutability recalls board games where places are won and lost, combined and uncombined.
Rita McBride lives in Los Angeles and Germany where she is the Rector at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. McBride has completed four large permanent public works, including Mae West, a 170-foot high, 57-ton rotational parabola. Installed on the Effnerplatz in Munich, Mae West is one the world’s largest sculptures and the first to be built of carbon fiber. A new public work, Artifacts (C.W.D.), an aluminum grid structure with 21 panels of Tiffany glass shards, will open at PS 315Q this September; the glass shards were discovered during initial construction on the site, which was formerly a Tiffany factory. The work was commissioned by the NYC Department of Education and the NYC School Construction Authority Public Art for Public Schools Program, in collaboration with the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program.
McBride’s work has been the subject of numerous solo museum exhibitions, the most recent of which were held at Museo Tamayo, Mexico City and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. The Kestnergesellschaft in Hanover and the Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf are collaborating on a solo exhibition and publication that will open in Hanover in October and travel to Düsseldorf in spring, 2016.