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Chakaia Booker: Conjugal Visit
Marlborough Chelsea    May 10 - Jun 16, 2012


The Directors of Marlborough Gallery are pleased to announce that a major exhibition of recent works by Chakaia Booker will open at Marlborough Chelsea, 545 West 25th Street, with a reception on May 10 from 6 to 8 PM and continue through June 16, 2012.

The exhibition will feature sculptures in the artist’s signature medium of sliced, cut and reconstructed rubber and rubber tires, and will showcase the complete range of Booker’s formats, including pedestal pieces, wall-mounted reliefs, and large-scale freestanding works as well as two dimensional digital prints.

Chakaia Booker has gained significant acclaim for her highly expressive, socially evocative sculptures made principally from rubber tires. With good grace Booker has accepted the moniker “Queen of Rubber Soul.” Her use of rubber as a trademark sculptural material began in the mid-1990s and she has since recycled countless Goodyears, Firestones and Michelins into highly expressive sculptures, creating an amazing variety in texture and form and drawing upon African influences such as tribal body paint, scarification, and textiles. Regarding her work Booker recently stated:

I look at the material like a painter. A painter has a palette and the palette has color. Each color has energy and that is how the painter begins the composition; part of it is through this energy. On my palette I have texture. I have the tires, which have many variations of textures from being busted and worn, and whatever tread patterns remain after they have been worn and used by the previous owner. So all of that feeds my energy, which in turn helps to inform me on how this energy can be used to create the composition of the sculpture.

In her essay on Booker’s work for the Katonah Art Museum, NY, curator Lowery Sims points out that:

Booker’s ambition and achievement locates her in the class of sculptors such as Louise Nevelson, Ursula von Rydingsvard or Nancy Rubin. And her working method aligns her with their distinctively materialist approach to their work. The story of Booker’s initial engagement with tires is by now urban history: how she was able to take advantage of discarded tires that littered the landscape of New York City. This relegates them to what this writer has described as ‘Rumpelstilskin’s Gold’ - something of value created out of nothing.

Born in Newark, New Jersey in 1953, Chakaia Booker realized her interest in art through her observation and participation in the textile work of her grandmother and sister. Her earliest works were in the form of utilitarian pottery and woven baskets and she soon incorporated a vast variety of found objects and raw materials in her aesthetic practice. Booker’s formal education, in sociology, was completed at Rutgers University in 1976 and later at the City College of New York, where she earned an MFA in 1993. The artist lives and works in Manhattan and Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Chakaia Booker has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Recent exhibitions of her sculpture include Forefront: Chakaia Booker at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, 2006; Rubber Made: Sculpture by Chakaia Booker at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, 2008; Chakaia Booker: Mass Transit, a public art installation in downtown Indianapolis, commissioned by the Arts Council of Indianapolis, 2008-2009; Inside Out at the Elmhurst Art Museum, Chicago, 2008-2009; Chakaia Booker: Crossover Effects at the Katonah Museum of Art, New York, 2009; On Site: Chakaia Booker, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, 2010; Chakaia Booker: In and Out, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA, 2010; and Chakaia Booker: Eminent Domain, Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, 2010. Most recently, Booker has been selected as the second artist for the New York Avenue Sculpture Project by the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Her sculptures will be displayed on the famous avenue in Washington, DC through March 2012.

Booker was a 2002 recipient of the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award, and a 2005 recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in New York.

Booker’s work can be found in numerous public collections, including the Birmingham Museum of Art, AL; Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, MI; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, DC; The Newark Museum, NJ; New Orleans Museum of Art, LA; Queens Museum of Art, NY; Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, NY; and The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY.

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