AMERICAN, BORN 1953
Chakaia Booker works almost exclusively with recycled tires—slicing, twisting, stripping, weaving, and riveting rubber and radials to create and exaggerate the textures, prickled edges, and torqued forms of her radical refashioning. Whether she is creating small-scale wall reliefs resembling ballistic blowouts, suggestively hairy and ovoid pedestal sculptures, or colossal landscape-like tableaux, Booker transforms tires—iconic symbols of urban waste and blight—into extraordinary compositions of renewal.
A Moment in Time conveys multiple meanings that crisscross historical, social, political, and cultural contexts. The different tonalities of the rubber, for instance, from brown- and blue-, to green- and red-black, are linked to issues of African-American identity as well as to the history of black as a color in modern art. As commercial objects, tires symbolize the rise and fall of industrial revolutions, the movement of populations across the landscape, the growth of the suburbs, and the decay of urban centers. Discarded and now re-used, the tires are also metaphors for the modern cycle of industrial manufacture and waste in an era of global expansion. A Moment in Time alludes not only to environmental degradation and decay but also to the possibility of transformation and redemption through the artist’s own brand of environmental spiritualism.