Installation artist Jason Rhoades filled rooms with his spectacular and king-sized pieces of artwork, yet it nearly went unnoticed — at least while he was still alive. The Institute of Contemporary Art is hoping to reverse that with a huge exhibition on him this fall. “Jason Rhoades, Four Roads” takes us down the rabbit hole of Rhoades’ imagination by weaving through four distinct installations and coinciding themes: Jason Rhoades, American Artist; Jason the Mason; Systems and Taboo.
“I wanted a way to bring viewers into this exhibition with some of the immediacy of the work itself,” says ICA curator Ingrid Schaffner about breaking the exhibit into four diverging roads. “The four roads are interpretive paths to guide one to see things that are both obvious — for instance, a sculpture of a garage referencing car culture and American identity — and more intimate. “
To walk through the exhibition is enticing to the eyes as well as the mind. “The work is very systematic, complex, physically overwhelming and full of ideas,” says Schaffner. And yet it’s still familiar and surprising in its appearance. One road in particular is filled with fluorescent words that dangle from the ceiling, creating a sort of vivid and disorienting forest of text.
“Rhoades used stuff we are all familiar with in part to make his art as accessible and appealing as any other consumer good,” Schaffner says.