In this course, students will explore artist Chakaia Booker’s technical artistic practice across various mediums such as wood, metal, rubber, and canvas that will foster imagination, encourage innovation and creative risk-taking.
Chakaia Booker is an internationally renowned and widely collected American sculptor known for creating monumental, abstract works for both the gallery and outdoor public spaces. Born in 1953 in Newark, New Jersey and raised in neighboring East Orange, NJ, Booker learned to sew from her grandmother, aunt, and sister. Fixing, repairing, and manipulating materials early in life was foundational to Booker’s later approach to wearable art, ceramics, and sculpture, specifically with the use of pattern, repetition, and modular construction. Beginning in the 1980s, Booker created wearable sculptures which she could place herself inside and utilize as clothing. “The wearable garment sculpture was about getting energy and feeling from a desired design.” In the early 1990s, Booker began to create large outdoor sculptures from stainless steel and discarded materials found at construction sites, including rubber tires, a medium in which she continues to work. Many of her experimental work is made out of bronze, ceramic, and plastic, and acrylic painted on wood, canvas, and paper.The exhibition features a large range of Booker’s sculptures, which are twisted and woven into totems, monuments, environments, and figures.
Since 1993, she has created a striking, beautiful, and political signature style, assembling cast-off tires into monumental landscapes. Tire tread patterns in her work may also refer to elements of African culture, including scarification, body painting, and traditional textiles.
“When you use any discarded material, it always comes with its own history: it has the history of the manufacturer who produced the product, it has the history of person who utilized it, and what happened to it along the way through its travels. It could then collect things like paint or dirt or stone or glass or anything, and once I’m able to utilize the material, then all of this is information that’s in the actual piece.”