Rhonda Zwillinger, Cha Cha (from the Dada Toys series), 2010. Steel base/armature on wheels, permitted white-tailed deer antlers, and glass beads and Swarovski crystals on string wire, 66 x 57 x 57 cm.

Rhonda Zwillinger


Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Rhonda Zwillinger’s recent exhibition was unexpectedly rattling. Ten hours after the experience, I could still feel the accompanying soundtrack. The show opened a door that I found myself not wanting to cross because the situation was so troubling. Though the work progressed from tragedy toward acceptance (my wishful thinking?), it offered a disturbing story that deserves attention. Zwillinger, who was active in New York City’s East Village scene in the mid-1970s and ’80s, received widespread attention for sculptures and installations covered with beads and faux precious stones. Both conceptually strong and decorative, these works combined craft techniques, pop culture references, and a visual language drawn from Hollywood to make humorous comments on social mores and male/female relations. In the early 1990s, her life changed dramatically: she had developed a hypersensitivity to chemicals, including those she worked with, a fact that drastically altered her life and work. She left New York and moved to a small house on the edge of the desert in Arizona.…see the entire review in the print version of January/February’s Sculpture magazine.