On Site: Chakaia Booker

September 30, 2010–February 13, 2011
Baumgartner Galleria

The Milwaukee Art Museum is pleased to present On Site: Chakaia Booker, the latest in a series of exhibitions featuring the work of contemporary artists presented in the Quadracci Pavilion. Booker’s stunning black sculptures made from automobile tires will be dramatically presented in the pristine, light-filled spaces of the Baumgartner Galleria.

Chakaia Booker’s sculptures stem from a tradition in modern art of using found objects and industrially fabricated materials recalling artists as diverse as Mark Di Suvero, Louise Nevelson, and Marcel Duchamp. Yet Booker’s work goes beyond this conventional reading, incorporating elements of African dance, weaving, and basketry. The artist actually began her career making wearable sculpture in the 1980s, and continues to emphasize the connections between life, movement, and her artworks. The textures and patterns of the tires give them a woven, textile-like quality, yet the forms seem particularly anthropomorphic. The surface finishes range from rich and lustrous to dried and cracking. It has been suggested that they are metaphors for the African-American experience.

The Manhattan-based artist has her studio in a former factory building in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where she commutes by bus. In her factory, she has the tools that allow her to slice, dissect, twist and assemble the automobile tires that are the clay for her sculptures. Over a dozen works will be presented in On Site: Chakaia Booker.

Sponsored by: Milwaukee Art Museum’s Contemporary Art Society and African American Art Alliance
The exhibition is organized by Brady Roberts, chief curator for the Milwaukee Art Museum.
  • Chakaia Booker, Skip Stop, 2005, Rubber, tire, and wood.