Biography of Rachel Harrison
Famed for her wildly heterogeneous sculptures, Rachel Harrison makes art out of a vast array of found or purchased objects including trash bags, cans of peas, and neon-colored papier-mâché. Her cryptically titled 1996 show Should home windows or shutters be required to withstand a direct hit from an eight-foot-long two-by-four shot from a cannon at 34 miles an hour, without creating a hole big enough to let through a three-inch sphere? set the tone for her diverse practice and shifted her into the public eye.
Under Rachel Harrison's hand, consumer goods and handcrafted elements morph together to create baffling sculptural forms that activate their beholders instantly—"I want people to be real with art, to be conscious and present with the object in order to experience it… The materials convey a direct involvement and immediacy", says the artist emphatically. Glamour Wig, 2005, for instance, takes a stepladder and a rock star wig to create a pastiche of a skinny, androgynous long-legged glam rock star with a gaping mouth, mining the theatricality of the objects on display and contesting the histrionics behind the ideals of heroism and beauty that figurative sculptures embody.
Born in 1966, Rachel Harrison lives and works in New York. Her successful career has seen her exhibiting in some of the finest museums and institutions worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, all in New York as well as Whitechapel Gallery, London. Her stunning work is held in such collections as the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and in MoMA, New York.