Chakaia Booker | SpeakEasy

July 11 - November 4, 2016

Chakaia Booker SpeakEasy

Chakaia Booker’s abstract sculptures made from automobile tires address cultural, gender, and environmental issues through their physicality and suggestive forms.  Booker’s work is often monumental in scale, and she achieves a range of effects with the pliable material.  The forms and textures she creates fluctuate from industrial and supernatural to expansive and figurative.

Discarded rubber tires come with immediate associations of excess and colossal waste, but as sculptural material their characteristics take on new meaning.  The skin-like membranes with worn treads and patterned, burnt surfaces are exploited by the artist. Her prints in the exhibition demonstrate a similar responsiveness to her process and materials and expand her visual language in 2 dimensions. She marks the woodblock surfaces with drills, chisels, and routers, mimicking her sculptural practice. With the printed material, she arranges torn and layered shapes to create figurative and abstract forms.

Booker’s intention is to create an open dialogue with the viewer, allowing the final form of her work to evade a singular reading. SpeakEasy refers to elusive territory, obscured potential and the surprising consequences of the artist’s manipulation of materials.

Chakaia Booker, The Nest


Chakaia Booker

chakaia booker. untitled, 2013. woodblock, handpainting 27" x 23.5" 

Selected Press

The Boston Globe
Strength and delicacy, sculpture and prints

The Brandeis Hoot
Booker's exhibition showcases wonderful complexity in sculpture

The Justice
Gallery explores social issues with recycled materials


Tuesday, September 27, 12:30-2:00 pm

Lecture | Lou Jones: Wide Exposure: Illuminating Diversity
Lou Jones, an established internationally renowned photojournalist, will discuss his recent photography project that aims to expose issues of race and culture in Egypt, Senegal, Ghana, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Namibia. panAFRICAproject attempts to redefine preconceived notions and encourage insight into the unique characteristics of diverse cultures and individual lives. The presentation and discussion will highlight the different ways that artists address African identity and the complexities surrounding assumptions and false perceptions of people of color.

A Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program sponsored by the Offices of the Dean of Arts and Sciences and Provost

Tuesday, October 18, 5:00-8:00 pm

Artist Reception | Chakaia Booker

Wednesday, October 19, 4:00-5:30 pm

Artist Lecture | Chakaia Booker

Thursday, October 27, 2:30-4:00 pm

Guided Looking | Exercises for the Quiet Eye with Annie Storr
WSRC Scholar, art historian and museum educator, Annie Storr will lead art experiencing exercises through the Kniznick Gallery exhibition Chakaia Booker: SpeakEasy. Storr developed Exercises for the Quiet Eye (EQE) to encourage patient reflection, appreciation, and an attempt to avoid the rush to understand, or determine a set interpretation for what we see. 

Chakaia Booker, SpeakEasy installation at the Kniznick Gallery

Chakaia booker, speakeasy installation at the kniznick gallery

This exhibition is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Natalie Marcus Arts Endowment, and the Brandeis Fine Arts Department.