Chicago-based artist Michael Rakowitz, who is represented by Rhona Hoffman Gallery, has had two exciting announcements in the past day. He was selected for the 2018 Fourth Plinth Commission at Trafalgar Square (London), and the first US museum survey of his work is scheduled to open at the MCA Chicago this fall.
The Fourth Plinth is a prestigious public art program in the United Kingdom, and Rakowitz was selected along with British artist Heather Phillipson. Rakowitz will recreate a statue of the Lamassu, a hybrid winged bull with a human head, that stood at the entrance to the Nergal Gate of Nineveh from 700 BC until February 2015 when it was destroyed by ISIS. Rakowitz noted that "Rebuilding the Lamassu in Trafalgar Square means the sculpture can continue performing his duties as guardian of Nineveh’s past, present and future, even as a refugee or ghost, hoping to one day return to Iraq." The work is part of a larger project, The Invisble Enemy Should Not Exist, in which Rakowitz has attempted to recreate over 7,000 looted artifacts from the Iraq Museum during the Iraq War.
Backstroke of the West is curated by Omar Kholeif, Manilow Senior Curator at the MCA Chicago and will be on view September 16, 2017-March 4, 2018. The survey of Rakowitz's work will feature a new commission along with Enemy Kitchen, Spoils and The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist.
Top image: Michael Rakowitz, Lamassu maquette, 2016. Courtesy of the artist and Rhona Hoffman Gallery.