Rachel Harrison’s oeuvre challenges conventional narratives of the history of sculpture and how we experience objects as individuals in space and time. Her work forces viewers to slow down, examine it closely, develop narratives from various juxtapositions, and consider social relations in light of the artist’s assertions via the object. Harrison has been described as essentially feminist, rebuking the masculine heroicism of much contemporary and Modernist art. Using commercially available materials such as chicken wire, polystyrene, a stucco foam agent called Parex, paint, and found objects, she makes assemblages that are humorous and bold. Even photographic works, such as her 2007 frieze The Voyage of the Beagle, operate as sculpture. The 57 ordered photographs in the series must be seen in some sequence and juxtaposed, leading the viewer to a critical appreciation of the figurative objects each photo depicts.
Harrison’s work has been exhibited widely since the 1990s in shows at the Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum, and the Walker Art Center, among others, and she was included in the 2002 and 2008 Whitney Biennials.