Paul Rucker

Image: Birth of a Nation Project - Detail Medium: Mannequins, Kente Cloth, Camouflage, Spandex, Satin, and Artifacts Year: 2015 Description: Birth of a Nation Project: During 2015, I worked with my sister-in-law to fabricate at least one new Ku Klux Klan robe a week. I re-imagined KKK robes in Kente cloth, camouflage, white satin, and other fabrics. I created robes for infants, toddlers, teens, and adult men and women. For more information click: http://www.rewindexhibition.com/koken/albums/birth-of-a-nation-project/
Paul Rucker in Visual Art and Sound Studio at Creative Alliance. Photo by Mike Morgan

Paul Rucker is a visual artist, composer, and musician who often combines media, integrating live performance, sound, original compositions, and visual art. 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 surrounding particular subject matter. Much of his current work focuses on the Prison Industrial Complex and the many issues accompanying incarceration in its relationship to slavery. He has presented performances and visual art exhibitions across the country and has collaborated with educational institutions to address the issue of mass incarceration. Presentations have taken place in schools, active prisons and also inactive prisons such as Alcatraz.

His largest installation to date, REWIND, garnered praise from Baltimore Magazine awarding Paul “Best Artist 2015.” Additionally, REWIND received “Best Solo Show 2015” and “#1 Art Show of 2015” from Baltimore City Paper, reviews by The Huffington Post, Artnet News, Washington Post, The Root, and The Real News Network.  Rucker has received numerous grants, awards, and residencies for visual art and music. He is a 2012 Creative Capital Grantee in visual art as well as a 2014 MAP (Multi-Arts Production) Fund Grantee for performance. In 2015 he received a prestigious Joan Mitchell Painters & Sculptors Grant as well as the Mary Sawyer Baker Award. In 2016 Paul received the Rauschenberg Artist as Activist fellowship and the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, for which he is the first artist in residence at the new National Museum of African American Culture.

Residencies include MacDowell Colony, Blue Mountain Center, Ucross Foundation, Art OMI, Banff Centre, Pilchuck Glass School, Rauschenberg Residency, Joan Mitchell Residency, Hemera Artist Retreat, Air Serembe, Creative Alliance, and the Rockefeller Foundation Study Center in Bellagio, Italy.  In 2013-2015, he was the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Artist in Residence and Research Fellow at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

He was most recently awarded a 2017 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, TED Fellowship, and the Arts Innovator Award from the Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation.

This fall, Rucker’s work will be featured at the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University in its inaugural exhibition, Declaration.

Paul Rucker is a iCubed Visiting Arts Fellow embedded at the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University.  

Birth of a Nation Project – Detail, Mannequins, Kente Cloth, Camouflage, Spandex, Satin, and Artifacts, 2015
Birth of a Nation Project: During 2015, I created at least one new Ku Klux Klan robe a week. I re-imagined KKK robes in Kente cloth, camouflage, white satin, and other fabrics. I created robes for infants, toddlers, teens, and adult men and women.
September 15, 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, 16″ x 48″ x 2″, Spruce, Purfling, Acrylic, 2013
One of a series of wood sculptures I created to acknowledge victims of racially motivated violence and significant civil rights events. This work represents the Alabama church bombing and deaths of four young girls.
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