SMACT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 1998
Michael Rakowitz's practice is characterized by his symbolic interventions in problematic urban situations. In 1998, he initiated one of his best known public art projects, paraSITE, seen in the cities of Boston, Baltimore, and New York, in which Rakowitz built inflatable shelters for homeless people that attach to the exterior outtake vents of a building's heating, ventilation, or air conditioning system.
Rakowitz states in an interview with NYFA, "Working with communities becomes a way for me to better understand a city. I want to understand my own urban situation, so I really am interested in how there are these social networks defining a city that I don't always have access to. For instance, when I was conceiving paraSITE, it became clear that the homeless had a completely different topographical relationship to the city than I did, which was a fascinating education into how a city presents itself—or even conceals itself."
Rakowitz's work has appeared in venues workldwide including PS1, MoMA, MassMOCA, Castello di Rivoli, the 10th Istanbul Biennial, Sharjah Biennial 8, Tirana Biennale, National Design Triennial at the Cooper Hewitt, and Transmediale 05. He has had solo exhibitions at Lombard-Fried Projects in New York, Alberto Peola Arte Contemporanea in Torino, and Stadtturgmgalerie/Kunstraum Innsbruck. His public project, Return, was presented by Creative Time in New York. He is the recipient of a 2008 Creative Capital Grant for a collaboration with Emna Zghal, the Sharjah Biennial Jury Award, a 2006 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship Grant in Architecture and Environmental Structures, the 2003 Dena Foundations Award, and the 2002 Design 21 Grand Prix from UNESCO.
Michael Rakowitz Gallery Art
Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, IL
Lombard Freid Gallery, New York, NY
Alberto Peola Arte Contemporanea , Torino, Italy
More Art, New York, NY
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Architecture and Design Collection, UNESCO, Paris, France
Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL