Common to Jason Rhoades’s multifarious output is an underlying interest in the conditions in which art is made and the subversion of any conventions that stand in the way of its production. Up to his untimely death in 2006 at age 41, Rhoades carried out a continuous assault on aesthetic conventions and the rules governing the art world: these conditions, in fact, were used as materials or tools for his work. His conceptual vigor and his attempts to redefine and expand the space in which works are both made and exhibited earned him a reputation as an artists’ artist. Believing that the creative process demanded ultimate freedom, his work could be dangerous, overwhelming, politically incorrect, obnoxious, or sublime.
Rhoades was born in Newcastle, California in 1965. He received his M.F.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1993. Later that year, Rhoades joined David Zwirner—becoming part of the gallery’s original roster of artists—and had his first New York solo show.
David Zwirner recently presented Jason Rhoades: PeaRoeFoam at the gallery in New York, on view September 11 to October 18, 2014. The comprehensive exhibition was specially dedicated to Rhoades’s body of work using PeaRoeFoam, the artist’s self-made recipe for a “brand new product and revolutionary new material” created from whole green peas, fish-bait style salmon eggs, and white virgin-beaded foam. It marked the gallery’s first exhibition showcasing Rhoades since its critically acclaimed installation of Black Pussy in 2007. An accompanying publication by David Zwirner Books will feature new scholarship by Julien Bismuth, an interview with Linda Norden, and selected interviews from the Jason Rhoades Oral History project devised by Lucas Zwirner, who has interviewed over fifty artists, curators, and others who intimately knew the artist.
Rhoades’s work has been exhibited internationally since the 1990s. His first solo presentation at a European institution was held at the Kunsthalle Basel in 1996. Other international venues which have organized solo shows include the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands; Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Nuremberg, Germany (both 1998); Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Germany (1999); Museum Haus Esters, Krefeld, Germany (2000); Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (MUMOK), Vienna (2002); Le Magasin - Centre National d’Art Contemporain de Grenoble, France (2005); and the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain (2006).
In 2013, Jason Rhoades, Four Roads marked the first American museum exhibition of the artist’s work, organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. In 2014, the exhibition traveled internationally to the Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany, followed by the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, England in 2015.
Work by the artist has been prominently featured in group exhibitions worldwide, most recently in 2013 as part of NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star at the New Museum, New York. Other group shows that have shown major installations by Rhoades include the Whitney Biennial (1995, 1997, and 2008) and the Venice Biennale (1997, 1999, and 2007).
Museum collections which hold works by the artist include the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Gallery, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.