Artist in Residence: Paul Rucker
STORM IN A TIME OF SHELTER
In 2014, Paul Rucker began producing Ku Klux Klan robes in nontraditional materials. For the ICA, he has created the largest assembly of these figures to date, extending his ongoing series Storm in the Time of Shelter. They are arranged in a large “x” formation, displayed on slightly larger-than-life mannequins, and accompanied by three cases of historical texts and artifacts.
The cases contain objects from his own collection that address the origin, organization, and ideology of the Klan. Rucker also created an in-depth newspaper that provides further historical background and context to the artifacts and overall project, which is available for visitors to take from the gallery and available on subsequent pages. The installation evokes repeating patterns of history, building on Rucker’s research into historical and current manifestations of systemic racism in the United States.
Storm in the Time of Shelter, 2018. Mixed media installation including fabric, mannequins, historical artifacts, and printed matter. Courtesy of the artist
Gallery 1 – Beverly Reynolds Gallery
“This work is based on “Shelter in the Time of Storm,” a hymn my mother knows from her experience as a church organist. The images of “storm” and “shelter” resonate with me in thinking about the second wave of the Klan, through their dramatic rise in membership in a time of American protectionism.
The iconic outline of the KKK robe captured my imagination when I witnessed Klan rallies growing up in the south. I didn’t think much about them until 25 years later when I started to research the origin, organization, and ideology of this group.”
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU AS AN ARTIST?
I am motivated by misunderstanding and a yearning to understand and be understood. I am motivated by questions, by asking what is ignored and why. I am motivated by the potential to make poetic objects that engage others to ask and think through an understanding with me.
WHAT DOES THE WORD “DECLARATION”
MEAN TO YOU?
To me, declaration, in relation to my work, is to publicly state and stand in confidence with a position that instigates and gathers community for justice.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO BE SHOWING YOUR WORK AT THIS MOMENT IN HISTORY? IN THIS LOCATION? AS PART OF THE ICA’S LAUNCH?
I think it is a very significant and important opportunity to exhibit this specific sculpture in Richmond. I think that during my life I have been able to witness a shift in institutional opportunity and inclusion from the inside out and this exhibition and the mission of the ICA prominently demonstrates this shift.
DO YOU BELIEVE ART HAS SOCIALLY TRANSFORMATIVE POWER?
Yes, I believe art embodies a socially transformative power in its ability to mirror or reflect an awareness onto otherwise unseen or unnoticed issues of a contemporary moment. Whether a work is shown in its present time or a future one, it carries the potential to instigate and ignite a deeper inquiry and even change.
Born 1968, Anderson, South Carolina; Lives in Baltimore, Maryland, and Richmond, Virginia
Paul Rucker is a multimedia visual artist, composer, and musician who integrates live cello performance, original compositions, visual art, and social practice into projects that illuminate the legacy of slavery in America and its relationship to the current Prison Industrial Complex. His work is the product of a rich interactive process, through which he investigates community impacts, human rights issues, historical research, and basic human emotions.
Select solo exhibitions: The Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland (2015); The Maryland Institute and College of Art (2014); and Cornish College of Art in Seattle, Washington (2009). Select group exhibitions: Maryland Institute and College of Art (2016); Arcade Museum (2016); Center on Contemporary Art in Seattle Washington (2016) and Northwest Biennial, Tacoma Art Museum in Tacoma, Washington (2011). Select performances: Monroe Correctional Complex in Monroe, Washington (2011) and Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco, California (2011). Select public commissions: Baltimore Light City Festival (2016); Human Rights Legacy in Tacoma, Washington (2011-13); King County Trails Projects Commission (2010); and T. Evans Wyckoff Memorial Bridge in Tacoma, Washington (2008). Collections include: 21c Museum and Hotels.
Select awards: John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2017); Rauschenberg Foundation Artist as Activist Fellowship (2016-2018); Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2016); Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant (2015); Mary Sawyer Baker Award (2015); Multi-Arts Production Fund MAP Fund Performance Grant (2014), Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Artist in Residence and Research Fellow (2013-2015), and Creative Capital Grant (2012). Rucker is currently embedded at the ICA as one of the 2017–2018 Arts Fellows in VCU’s iCubed (Innovation, Inclusion, Inquiry) program.