Concerned with history and current events, Michael Rakowitz uses his work to explore pressing issues and to invite others into the conversations fostered by his public projects, installations, and events. He engages in fact-finding and makes connections with people at all opportunities, focusing on individuals involved in situations that range from the personal to the local to the geopolitical. Among his first projects is paraSITE (begun 1997), a series of inflatable homes built in consultation with the homeless people who would occupy them. Rakowitz's own Iraqi-Jewish heritage figures prominently in many of his works, reflecting his deep connection to the country. Since 2004, with his ongoing project, RETURN, he has been attempting to import Iraqi dates into the U.S., the centerpiece of a multipart project that illustrates the cultural richness of this country in crisis.Read More
Michael Rakowitz (b. 1973, New York) is the recipient of the 2020 Nasher Prize, the 2018 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts (Visual Arts category), a 2012 Tiffany Foundation Award; a 2008 Creative Capital Grant; a Sharjah Biennial Jury Award; a 2006 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship Grant in Architecture and Environmental Structures; the 2003 Dena Foundation Award, and the 2002 Design 21 Grand Prix from UNESCO. He was awarded the Fourth Plinth commission (2018-2020) in London's Trafalgar Square. From 2019 - 2020, a survey of Rakowitz's work traveled from Whitechapel Gallery in London, to Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea in Torino, to the Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai, marking his first major museum retrospective in the region. He has shown regularly at Sharjah Art Foundation including mostly recently in Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber (2019) and Unsettled Objects (2021) at the Flying Saucer.
Rakowitz's work has appeared in venues worldwide including dOCUMENTA (13), MoMA PS1, MoMA, MassMOCA, Castello di Rivoli, Palais de Tokyo, the 16th Biennale of Sydney, the 10th and 14th Istanbul Biennials, Sharjah Biennial 8, Tirana Biennale, National Design Triennial at the Cooper-Hewitt, Transmediale 05, FRONT Triennial in Cleveland, and CURRENT: LA Public Art Triennial. He has had solo projects and exhibitions with Creative Time, Tate Modern in London, The Wellin Museum of Art, MCA Chicago, Lombard Freid Gallery and Jane Lombard Gallery in New York, SITE Santa Fe, Galerie Barbara Wien in Berlin, Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago, Malmö Konsthall, Tensta Konsthall, and Kunstraum Innsbruck.
His works are featured in major private and public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Neue Galerie, Kassel, Germany; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Smart Museum of Art, Chicago; Van Abbemuseum, Endhoven, Netherlands; The British Museum; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Kabul National Museum, Afghanistan; and UNESCO, Paris.
He lives and works in Chicago.
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Michael Rakowitz, the Chicago-based, Iraqi-American artist known for producing powerful works that often address complicated histories and events, such as the death of Tamir Rice—the twelve-year-old
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