New York

Robin Rhode

New Museum of Contemporary Art/Perry Rubenstein Gallery/Museum for African Art

Robin Rhode, a young South African artist who seemed to be everywhere in New York last month, has such a light touch that fears of overexposure may be safely set aside. His performances, which have the makebelieve quality of mime, are so quickly executed as to be over almost before they begin, leaving only mental afterimages of fleeting gestures. A few chalk and charcoal drawings made on the run extend the life of these now-you-see-’em-now-you-don’t actions. Yet sensations linger. When he drew a life-size image of a car on a large, white cardboard box in the center of the main gallery at the New Museum, then proceeded to smash the “windows” with a crowbar, shattering a “door” and climbing into the “vehicle” to cause more damage from the inside, the effect of this fake violence was not fake at all. A sense of unnerving danger was the visceral response to this game of “let’s pretend.”


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