March 9th, 2015

Slung from a hoist, a partly disassembled and re-jigged V8 engine is hooked up to a power drill. There’s mess everywhere, the usual garage mechanics’ slew of discarded tools, coiled cables, abandoned lunches and girly calendars.

This plasterboard and timber shack, with a wonky basketball hoop over the door, can be taken as an artist’s studio. The things inside don’t go anywhere, but they take you places. Jason Rhoades, Four Roads, which fills two floors of the Baltic and has travelled from the ICA in Philadelphia, is a condensed survey of the late Californian artist’s sprawling oeuvre, and the most manageable exhibition of his art that I have seen. Even so, it is a complicated and sometimes X-rated road trip. Wandering between the garage and the karaoke bar, to the sawmill and the storage racks, via a three-dimensional creation myth, it is hard not to lose one’s bearings.

A former student of Paul McCarthy (and it shows) at UCLA, Rhoades burst on to the LA art scene even before he graduated in 1993, and for much of his career was lauded more in Europe than in his native US. Rhoades died in 2006 aged 41; his heart failure was probably drug-induced. Encounters with the artist himself – who I first saw in a bizarre group show in Ghent in 1994, when he wandered the galleries with a homemade potato-gun, blasting holes in the gallery walls – did not make things clearer….

Writes Adrian Searle in The Guardian

Link to the full article here / Link to The Guardian here

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