Rirkrit Tiravanija (b. 1961) uses everyday acts to manifest community. His work relies on real-time experience and exchange, linking the creation of art with viewership and participation. In his installation (who’s afraid of red, yellow, and green), which came to Wrightwood 659 from the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the gallery is recast as a communal dining space where visitors share bowls of curry while observing local artists draw images of civil protests on the walls. From 2009-2010 anti-government protests in Bangkok, Thailand, to Chicago’s 2020 Black Lives Matter marches, the selection of images underlines Tiravanija’s interest in the social relationship between citizens, the role of government, and personal liberty. The exhibition Rirkrit Tiravanija: (who’s afraid of red, yellow, and green) challenges expectations of performance and asks how simple acts of gathering can be used to move beyond division.
Tiravanija’s unorthodox work first came to public view in a 1989 New York group show that included Untitled Empty Parenthesis, which consisted of the remains of a green curry meal. He continued to challenge the possibilities of the gallery space, eventually co-opting it as a site for the preparation and consumption of communal meals for gallery-goers, as in Untitled (Free) (1992), and even going so far as to invite people to live within the gallery in Untitled (1999), which was an exact replica of his East Village apartment. Tiravanija’s interest lies in a desire to subvert deeply ingrained ways of interacting with art. By seeking alternative experiences of time, Tiravanija opens the door for novel forms of collaboration and exchange by diminishing the preciousness of objects through a reconsideration of their life cycle and function.
Born in Buenos Aries, Argentina, Tiravanija received his Bachelor of Arts from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1984, and his Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1986. From 1985 to 1986, he participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program. He has received numerous grants and awards, including the Absolut Art Award (2010), the Hugo Boss Prize (2004), the Lucelia Artist Award (2003) and the Gordon Matta Clark Foundation Award (1993), among others. He has had individual exhibitions at the following institutions: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas (2014); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2013); Tate Modern, London (2013); Singapore Art Museum, Singapore (2012); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2012); MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), New York (2012); Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (2011); Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis (2009); and Drawing Center, New York.
Rirkrit Tiravanija: (who’s afraid of red, yellow, and green) is organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
Support for this exhibition is provided by Alphawood Foundation Chicago.
All videos courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
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