Carissa Rodriguez: The Maid

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A still from Carissa Rodriguez's film "The Maid" depicts a rounded, shiny sculpture on a table near a window, with two photographs of a woman on the wall in the background.

Still from The Maid, 2018


Carissa Rodriguez. © Carissa Rodriguez. Courtesy of the artist and Karma International, Zurich/Los Angeles.

New York-based artist Carissa Rodriguez (American, born 1970) creates artworks that explore the material and social conditions of art’s reproduction and circulation.

This exhibition features Rodriguez’s film The Maid (2018), which takes its name from a 1913 short story by Swiss writer Robert Walser. The story traces a devoted caregiver’s 20-year journey in search of a young girl who got lost while in her care. Rodriguez’s film orbits around conceptual artist Sherrie Levine’s 1993 Newborn sculptures, a series of works that are themselves casts of sculptures by early 20th-century artist Constantin Brancusi. The film tracks six of Levine’s Newborns across the world through private residences, a museum storage facility, and an auction house, providing the viewer with a prolonged contemplation of their journey.

Also highlighted in the exhibition is a second video work, The Girls, filmed on a playground in Rodriguez’s Chinatown neighborhood in 1997 and recently edited to accompany The Maid. Shown alongside these video works is All the Best Memories Are Hers, a photographic portrait of embryos taken with an EmbryoScope, a hybrid instrument that is at once an incubator and a time-lapse camera. Metaphors of creation, reproduction, and the passage of time unite the three works in this exhibition, the artist’s first in Chicago.

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