Women’s Museum Debuts Recycled Tire Sculptures by Chakaia Booker

WASHINGTON DC—Every day countless tires roll down New York Avenue as vehicle traffic ebbs and flows. Inspired by the everyday material, sculptor Chakaia Booker works with recycled tires, cutting, folding and layering the black rubber to create uniquely textured forms. Last week, on International Women’s Day, the National Museum of Women in the Arts dedicated four sculptures by Booker that are installed adjacent to the museum on the median along New York Avenue. The collection includes “Shape Shifter,” a new work the New York-based artist created specifically for the exhibit.

Booker’s sculptures address globalization and ecological matters and explore race, gender and economic issues. She is the second artist to participate in the New York Avenue Sculpture Project, which the museum describes as “the only public art space featuring changing installations of contemporary works by women artists.” The first artist chosen for the project was Niki de Saint Phalle in 2011.

Booker’s recycled tire sculptures will be on view from March 8, 2012, to March 9, 2014.

All photos by Arts Observer

Above, “Shape Shifter,” 2012, a new sculpture created specifically for the New York Avenue installation. Its abstract curvature suggests a gesturing figure. Top of page, “Pass the Buck,” 2008.

According to the museum, to construct the large-scale works Booker uses computer-aided design software, creates detailed models, and constructs armatures from pressure-treated wood or steel rods.” Above, “Shape Shifter.”

Detail of “Shape Shifter.”

“Gridlock,” 2008: “Through interplay of convex and concave this sculpture signifies the complexities of human kind’s journey.”

According the museum, “Using both industrial tools and handiwork, [Booker] strips, sheds and slices pieces of rubber and then folds, weaves, knots, and rivets them onto the armatures.” Above, “Gridlock.”

Installation view of “Gridock” with “Pass the Buck” in the background.

“Pass the Buck,” 2008. Inspired by Madame CJ Walker, the first black woman millionaire who sold beauty products, “the work’s concentric circles suggest the pursuit of success and giving back to one’s community.

Detail of “Pass the Buck.”

“Pass the Buck.”

“Take Out,” 2008: “Evoking photographs and reflection through its frame- or mirror-like rectangular shape, this sculpture invites viewers to explore and engage in the New York Avenue cityscape.

Detail of texture on the frame of “Take Out.”

“Pass the Buck.”

Post Your Thoughts