The crowd pleaser of the current exhibition at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel is a gallery filled with artist Jason Rhoades' neon tubes spelling 240 slang terms for female genitals. The subject was an obsession for Rhoades, a UCLA art graduate who died in 2006. His "My Madinah. In pursuit of my ermitage..." was conceived on a drive between Los Angeles the desert settlement of Mecca near the Salton Sea. Hauser Wirth says the installation is "part mosque, part temple: a place of religious seclusion covered in a carpet of towels adjoined by the artist's Spukaki technique, punctuated by crystals, incense, ceramic donkeys, and camel saddle footstools. Beneath a veritable cloud of 240 neon 'pussy words' - such slang terms for female genitalia as 'Fluttering Love Wallet,' 'Cock Pocket,' and 'Breakfast of Champions' ... viewers are invited to lie down and surrender to transmitting light. Formally conflating the visual language of contemporary urban America with the influence of his travels to ancient spiritual sites in the Middle East, Rhoades challenges post-9/11 anti-Islamism on his own terms."
A separate room features neon chandeliers with more 100 slang descriptors in
English and Spanish.
From the website:
While Rhoades' groundbreaking installations found early recognition in Europe and New York, the artist spent the entirety of his career in Los Angeles, where he lived and worked until his untimely death in 2006 at the age of 41. The exhibition at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel is conceived to share and celebrate his unwavering vision of the world as an infinite, corpulent, and lustful universe of expressive opportunity. Assertively pushing against the safety of cultural conventions, Rhoades broke accepted rules of public nicety and expanded the frontiers of artistic opportunity through unbridled, brazenly 'Maximalist' works. In short, Rhoades brought the impolite and culturally unspeakable to the center of the conversation.
It's on exhibit in the Arts District until May 21.