• Jimmy Robert, Untitled (detail), 2005, color photographs, charcoal, paper, wood, overall 12' 5 3/4“ x 6' 10 5/8”.

    “Jimmy Robert: Vis-à-Vis”

    Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA Chicago)
    220 East Chicago Avenue
    August 25–November 25, 2012

    Curated by Naomi Beckwith

    Gear-shifting between photography, film, video, and performance, and powered by quietly interrelated thematics—bodies, ephemerality, gesture, theatricality—Jimmy Robert’s mercurial practice resists speedy parsing. But the forty-five works in this show—the artist’s first major US exhibi- tion, spanning 2004 to 2012—should lay out Robert’s main concerns. For now, countenance that what connects the Guadeloupe-born artist’s photographic-sculptural hybrids (folded, bent, curling, or collaged images of people, with faces frequently obscured) and performances (such as the well-known Figure de Style from 2008, Robert’s reenactment of Yoko Ono’s 1964 Cut Piece wherein volunteers tore strips of tape off his brown skin as he read aloud white males’ critiques of Ono’s action) is this: a play of proximity, distance, and tactility in regard to the “other,” that category which, unfortunately, has not yet outlived its usefulness. The catalogue features contributions from the curator and Marie de Brugerolle, and a conversation between Robert and his long-term collaborator, Ian White.