South African Artist Wins Neuberger Exhibition Prize From Purchase College

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South African artist Robin Rhode will exhibit his works at Neuberger Museum of Art of Purchase College from May 4 through Aug. 10, 2014.
South African artist Robin Rhode will exhibit his works at Neuberger Museum of Art of Purchase College from May 4 through Aug. 10, 2014. Photo Credit: Contributed

PURCHASE, N.Y. -- South African artist Robin Rhode has been named recipient of the 2014 Roy R. Neuberger Exhibition Prize, a biannual award, which celebrates an exceptional artist with an early-career survey and catalog.

Rhode’s exhibition, Animating the Everyday, a ten-year survey of his digital videos, will be presented at the Neuberger Museum of Art of Purchase College from May 4 through Aug. 10, 2014. The 22 works in the exhibition will focus on the digital videos that Rhode identifies as “animations” and photographic series that correspond to or complement the time-based work.

A fully-illustrated catalog with essays by co-curators Helaine Posner, senior curator of Contemporary Art, Neuberger Museum of Art, and Louise Yelin, professor of literature, Purchase College; Tom Gunning, Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Art History, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the College at the University of Chicago; and Leora Maltz-Leca, assistant professor of Contemporary Art in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Culture at the Rhode Island School of Design accompanies the exhibition.

Rhode’s animations – created in the streets, studios, his parents’ yard in Johannesburg and Berlin where he now lives and works – transform the quotidian into the playful and fantastic but include an underpinning of melancholy, danger, and risk. 

“I embrace chaos. I don’t create a work only with the idea that it has to be lighthearted; there’s something dark underneath,” Rhode said at a recent visit to the Neuberger Museum of Art. “I come from a culture that is very spontaneous, that has a lot of humor and sarcasm. It stems from the South African mentality and has to do with freedom, and with the possibility of imagining or reinventing another world quite rapidly ... Approachability and accessibility are fundamental to my work.”

Born in Cape Town in 1976, Rhode moved with his family to Johannesburg at age seven. He received a diploma in fine art from the Technikon Witwatersrand in 1998, followed by postgraduate studies at the South African School of Film, Television, and Dramatic Art. His earliest works were public performances staged on the streets in which he interacted with a chalk or charcoal drawing of an everyday object, such as a bicycle, a basketball hoop, or a boom box. Film came later when he attended art school.

Rhode had his first major museum solo show by Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany, in 2007. He has since had major solo exhibitions at a number of important museums around the world, including the Hayward Gallery, London (2008); The Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2009), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California (2010), and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2013).

Support for the 2014 Roy R. Neuberger Exhibition Prize is provided by Helen Stambler Neuberger and Jim Neuberger, the Friends of the Neuberger Museum of Art, and Purchase College Foundation. 

There will be an Open House on Sunday, May 4, from 1–3 pm at the Neuberger Museum of Art. It is free and open to the public. Programs and events in conjunction with the exhibition will be announced at a later date.

The Neuberger Museum of Art is at 735 Anderson Hill Road in Purchase.

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