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Pictured right: Chakaia Booker’s Foci, 2010. Part of Storm King’s 50th Anniversary Exhibition, 5+5: New Perspectives June 5 – November 14, 2010. Collection of the Artist. Courtesy of Mark Borghi, New York | Bridgehampton | Sag Harbor. Photo by Jerry L. Thompson.

As part of a series to re-introduce you to Storm King’s collection and to ask for your annual support, our curators are sharing stories from their collaboration with artists over the years. Please consider a gift today, which helps us achieve a central part of our mission: supporting artists and their most ambitious works. 

Below, Storm King’s Director and Chief Curator David R. Collens shares his memories of working with artist Chakaia Booker, and her work A Moment in Time. Jump to story >   

As I think about the artists who have helped shape Storm King’s collection over the years, Chakaia Booker comes immediately to mind, whose sculpture, A Moment in Time entered the collection in 2004. Chakaia returned to Storm King in 2010 with her tremendous work Foci, as one of five artists featured in our 50th Anniversary Exhibition, 5+5: New Perspectives. 

I was introduced to Chakaia Booker around 1999 through artist Mark di Suvero. At that time, she had a small studio at Broadway and 133rd St. in New York City where she made massive sculptures out of a commonplace and fascinating material: steel-belted tires, which has remained central to her practice.

It was wonderful to spend time with Chakaia and her fabricators Alston Van Putten, Sr., Alston Van Putten, Jr., and Nelson Tejada through the installation process of her first major exhibition, which took place at Storm King in 2004. The self-titled exhibition featured 10 of her works installed in our indoor galleries and outside.

If you look closely at A Moment in Time, you’ll notice the different ways tires are transformed in this work: On the outward-facing elements of the sculpture, the artist uses shagged strips of tire, each bolted down on one end. She wraps other pieces neatly along some edges of the sculpture. On the interior, Booker fastens individual loops to the surface, creating an entirely different look from the same material. Walk around and through the sculpture and you will notice the variation in the patterns and color of the tires that may not have been apparent at first. A Moment in Time allows you to experience how an iconic symbol of urban waste and blight can become an extraordinary composition of renewal.  

You can find A Moment in Time conserved and installed in a forested enclosure in Storm King’s North Woods which protects it somewhat from the elements as well as inviting an intimate and personal experience. This work has also broadened Storm King’s collection both in terms of materials and aesthetic: Chakaia’s approach to sculpture is matched by no one else, and as a Black female artist creating bold, beautiful works at an often-grand scale, she has been an important role model and inspirational figure for many artists emerging today.  

Come and enjoy Chakaia Booker’s A Moment in Time at Storm King this season and make a contribution to the care and maintenance of this work and others in Storm King’s permanent collection.  

About Chakaia Booker
Chakaia Booker’s works are contained in more than 40 public collections and have been exhibited across the US, in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Booker was included in the 2000 Whitney Biennial, with a major self-titled exhibition at Storm King in 2004. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005. Her work returned to Storm King in 2010 as part of its 50th Anniversary Exhibition: 5+5: New Perspectives. Public installation highlights include Millennium Park, Chicago (2016-2018), Garment District Alliance Broadway Plazas, New York, NY (2014), and National Museum of Women in the Arts New York Avenue Sculpture Project, Washington DC (2012). Booker is the subject of a new exhibition, Chakaia Booker: The Observance, at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami which opened on April 22, 2021.