New York–based artist Carissa Rodriguez (US, b. 1970) creates photography, sculpture, and moving image works that examine how art gets made, reproduced, collected, and consumed. In doing so, Rodriguez uncovers the complex and at times personal dynamics between artist, artwork, audience, and institution.
The Maid is a short film that focuses on six sculptures residing in various locations—an auction house, museum storage space, and the homes of art collectors. Through the camera’s meditative gaze, Rodriguez invites viewers to closely attend to the works, highlighting the extraordinary care given to these objects. The film borrows its title from a 1913 short story by Robert Walser (1878–1956). In the paragraph-long tale, a maid spends 20 years searching for a lost child once in her care. When she finally finds her, the maid dies of joy. This journey, driven by love and responsibility, serves as a powerful allegory for the attentive custodianship of works of art.
The sculptures in Rodriguez’s film were created by Sherrie Levine (US, b. 1947) in the 1990s. Known for copying or appropriating works of other artists, Levine modeled her pieces from an early 20th-century sculpture by Constantin Brancusi (Romania, 1876–1957). Referred to as “the father of modern sculpture,” he aligned his artistic creation with birth using the title titled Le Nouveau Né (The Newborn). Levine challenges this patriarchal lineage, adopting the newborns as her own by casting multiple versions in crystal or black glass. Rodriguez searched the globe to locate Levine’s sculptures in public and private collections. Her film reunites several “siblings,” documenting the commercial, domestic, and institutional afterlives of these enduring artworks.
The exhibition also includes Rodriguez’s All the Best Memories are Hers (2018), a series of photographs that brings artistic reproduction into dialogue with biological reproduction.
“By juxtaposing biological time with the eternal life of the art object, my works examine the interstices between subject and object, person and property, and delve into the structures of modern kinship and personhood.” —Carissa Rodriguez
Carissa Rodriguez: The Maid is on view October 3, 2019 through February 2, 2020 in Gallery 7.
Curators: Mary Ceruti, executive director; with Jadine Collingwood, curatorial fellow, Visual Arts
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Carissa Rodriguez (US, b. 1970) lives and works in New York City and has exhibited internationally since the mid-1990s. Recent solo exhibitions include SculptureCenter, New York (2018); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge (2018); the CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco (2016); Front Desk Apparatus, New York (2013); and Karma International, Zürich (2012). Rodriguez received a BA from Eugene Lang College at the New School, New York in 1994, and attended the Whitney Independent Study Program in 2001. She was a core member of Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York from 2004 to 2015. A recent acquisition, The Maid is the first work by Carissa Rodriguez to enter the Walker Art Center’s permanent collection.
ABOUT THE WALKER ART CENTER
The Walker Art Center is a catalyst for the creative expression of artists and the active engagement of audiences. Focusing on the visual, performing, and media arts of our time, the Walker takes a global, multidisciplinary, and diverse approach to the creation, presentation, interpretation, collection, and preservation of art. Walker programs examine the questions that shape and inspire us as individuals, cultures, and communities.
One of the most internationally celebrated art museums, the multidisciplinary Walker Art Center in Minneapolis is known for presenting today’s most compelling artists from the United States and around the world. In addition to presentations of works from its world-renowned collection, the Walker organizes and hosts exhibitions that travel worldwide and annually presents a broad array of contemporary performance, music, dance, theater, design, moving image, and education programs. The adjacent Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, one of the country’s first urban sculpture parks, features at its center a beloved Twin Cities landmark—Spoonbridge and Cherry by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen—as well as some 40 sculptures by multigenerational artists from Minnesota and around the globe on the 19-acre Walker campus. Visit walkerart.org for more information on the Walker’s upcoming events and programs.
The Maid was commissioned and produced by SculptureCenter, New York, and underwritten by Valeria Napoleone XX SculptureCenter (VNXXSC).