Rita McBride: Vehicles and Vessels
Sep 4 – Oct 11, 2003
Alexander and Bonin is pleased to begin the fall season with an exhibition of recent sculpture by Rita McBride. The exhibition, entitled Vehicles and Vessels will include works executed in titanium, copper, glass, painted steel and vinyl.
One of the first artists to examine elements of architecture through contemporary sculpture, McBride began her exploration of modernism’s orphans in 1987 with installations of model home structures and Plexiglas encased furniture. Her attention to the often unspoken aspects of buildings -- parking structures, awnings, conduits, seating and HV/AC units has continued to the present. In her last New York show she added Machines (fabricated sculptures of standard video game consoles found in arcades and neglected bars around the world) to her vocabulary. This exhibition will include a set of three titanium machines, McBride’s first use of this material. The Machines take you to the days of first–generation minimalism, while simultaneously presenting a post–minimal version of the present politics of sculpture as a social signifier.
A startlingly colored set of purple vinyl awnings first shown in Archisculptures at the Kunstverein Hanover and subsequently included in solo shows at the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz and Institut d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne will be shown for the first time in North America. The five awnings are installed end-to-end evoking storefronts and serial sculpture. They have been constructed to allow each to nest inside the next largest – a kind of “Russian Doll” or “Trojan Horse” that expands from a single awning to half a city block’s worth. White Elephant (wall) a wall-mounted copper relief further directs us to the sublimated aesthetics of the mechanics of every-day life in the late 20th and early 21st century. This shining copper wall unit, based on a domestic comfort delivery device accomplishes a similar act of magic, speaking of Modernism’s pristine premise. A site-specific version of Servants and Slaves, painted ductwork that will run through the gallery’s three floors further posits the delivery system as modern icon and object of desire.
Rita McBride was born in Des Moines in 1960 and educated at Bard College and California Institute of the Arts. In 2002 she was awarded a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and served as a member of the Skidmore Owings and Merrill team for the World Trade Center competition. She lives in New York and Germany where she is a professor at the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf.