Jessica Stockholder: Rose’s Inclination

September 12, 2015 – July 2, 2017

Jessica Stockholder, Rose's Inclination, 2015

Jessica Stockholder, Rose's Inclination, 2015–2016, Paint, carpet, fragment of Judy Ledgerwood's painting, branches, rope, Plexiglas, light fixtures, hardware, extension cord, mulch, Smart Museum foyer, courtyard, sidewalks, and beyond. Commissioned by the Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago. Courtesy of the artist, Mitchell-Innes & Nash Gallery, and Kavi Gupta Gallery.

In a site-specific Threshold series installation, Jessica Stockholder intersects the Smart’s lobby with a wave of color and texture that climbs to the clerestory, cuts across the floor, and travels outwards into the Museum’s sculpture garden and beyond. 

Rose’s Inclination makes use of ordinary materials—lamps, paint, Plexiglas, carpet, and garden mulch—to “reach up and out,” altering the physical experience of the Smart Museum’s modernist architecture and landscaped courtyard. The work also repurposes a small section of the previous Threshold commission, a wall painting by Judy Ledgerwood, by agreement of both artists.

Stockholder is Raymond W. and Martha Hilpert Gruner Distinguished Service Professor and Chair of the Department of Visual Art, The University of Chicago. Art21 deemed her “a pioneer of multimedia genre-bending installations that have become a prominent language in contemporary art.” Rose’s Inclination is her second public installation in Chicago since she arrived in 2011—the first being Color Jam (2012), which took over a busy intersection in the Loop and was one of the largest public art installations in the city’s history. 


Threshold

Launched in 2010, the Threshold series brings large-scale installations of contemporary art to the Smart Museum’s lobby and courtyard on an annual or biennial basis. The prominent placement of these commissions ensures that all visitors—whether they have come to the building for a class, an exhibition, or a cup of coffee—will instantly encounter thought-provoking new art.

Rose’s Inclination is to reach up and out. She slips under and over, and weaves into the landscape while flapping towards the sky.

She is painted on the walls, embodied by carpet on the floor, and her spirited entry into the world is carried by daylight streaming in through glass and by lamplight. Her essence is flapping in the wind as the doors are opened and closed.

Rose plays a part in the Smart foyer. She includes visitors, tables, chairs, a remnant of Judy Ledgerwood's painting, and coffee in her drama. She acknowledges and mirrors her surroundings; she is contained by the museum, and wears it like a close fitting jacket, though she is bursting through the seams. At times she is reminiscent of plant parts pushing through material so slowly that the eye can’t detect the motion.

She is like the plant in the Little Shop of Horrors film growing bigger and bigger and more demanding. She is greedy and hungry. Her infiltration of the ground creates instability. The design of the building, the Smart courtyard, and by extension the sidewalks, and the grid of the city, could morph at any moment. The cumulous cloud of subjectivity that is each one of us—clattering words in mind and falling out of mouth—feelings in body, filling self-awareness and driving action—pass through her rosy glow.

— Jessica Stockholder