Chakaia Booker


July 11 – Nov. 4, 2016

Postcard for Chakaia Booker's exhibit titled "SpeakEasy." The image filling the background, is a zoomed in photo of one of her sculptures, constructed from many layers of recycled tires\. Assembled in a spiral fashion, the tire treads create a rhythmical pattern. Text reads: “SpeakEasy. Chakaia Booker. July 11 - November 4, 2016. Kniznick Gallery. Brandeis Women's Studies Research Center."

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 two 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," 2003, Rubber tires, wood and steel, 40.5" x 30.5" x 22". This sculpture made from recycled materials is oblong and evokes natural imagery. Although it is titled "the Nest" it has the appearance of a creature with 2 feet and a tail. Chakaia Booker, The Nest, 2003. Rubber tires, wood and steel, 40.5" x 30.5" x 22"

Chakaia Booker, Untitled, 2013, Woodblock, handpainting, 27: x 23.5". This print is a geometric image made of repeated circular shapes laid out concentrically within a square.  In the center is a translucent white rectangle superimposed over the circular pattern.  In the center is are gestural brush strokes.Chakaia Booker. Untitled, 2013. Woodblock, handpainting 27" x 23.5"


Selected Press

September 14, 2016

Boston Globe


Lecture | Lou Jones: Wide Exposure: Illuminating Diversity

September 27, 2016

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.

Artist Reception | Chakaia Booker

October 18, 2016

Artist Lecture | Chakaia Booker

October 19, 2016

Guided Looking | Exercises for the Quiet Eye with Annie Storr

October 27, 2016

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 to encourage patient reflection, appreciation and an attempt to avoid the rush to understand or determine a set interpretation for what we see.