Critics’ Picks

Jason Rhoades, PeaRoeFoam Bulk Pallet, 2002, wood pallet with fifty-five-gallon container of dried peas, fifty-five-gallon container of Styrofoam beads, twelve gallons of glue, two gallons of salmon roe,  rubber boots, shovel, wrench, aluminum pipes, cardboard, bolts, felt, plastic, paper towel, box cutter, shrink wrap, tape, web strapping, 5 x 3'.

Jason Rhoades, PeaRoeFoam Bulk Pallet, 2002, wood pallet with fifty-five-gallon container of dried peas, fifty-five-gallon container of Styrofoam beads, twelve gallons of glue, two gallons of salmon roe, rubber boots, shovel, wrench, aluminum pipes, cardboard, bolts, felt, plastic, paper towel, box cutter, shrink wrap, tape, web strapping, 5 x 3'.

Waltham

Jason Rhoades

Rose Art Museum
415 South Street Brandeis University
September 13–December 13, 2015

Jason Rhoades spent the entirety of his career—cut short by his death in 2006—blending sculpture, installation, and performance into a densely packed continuum of artistic production. Rhoades’s sculptures are massive orgies of stuff, yet his love of objects followed distinct patterns. Occasionally, discrete, often smaller pieces were taken from his larger bodies of work as officially sanctioned multiples.

Re-creating many of his sprawling, sculptural installations is a daunting and resource-consuming undertaking for any museum. Led by curator Christopher Bedford, though, the Rose Museum has taken a different approach and is instead offering Rhoades in bite-size pieces, showing a nearly complete collection of those editioned multiples. The most noticeable piece on view, however, is not small. Spaceball, 1997, is a human-size gyroscope, a cage of sorts that when spun gives a single seated rider a few moments of weightlessness. One of these devices was featured, as part of a larger installation, in the artist’s second solo show at David Zwirner in New York in 1997.

Rhoades’s editions may have served as a means of disseminating core concepts in lieu of original works, but the very best of them also gave the artist a way to disseminate experience—in lieu of his own presence. Consider PeaRoeFoam Bulk Pallet, 2002. This is a major piece from Rhoades’s “PeaRoeFoam” series, where the artist would whip up his dubiously functional, do-it-all construction material out of a concoction of Styrofoam, salmon roe, and green peas. The pallet is basically a DIY PeaRoeFoam starter kit, and as such it fulfills the ultimate directive of the project: that one be able to try the stuff for himself.