Jason Rhoades: PeaRoeFoam

Texts by Julien Bismuth and David Zwirner. Contributions by Dylan Kenny and Lucas Zwirner. Interview with Linda Norden

Up to his untimely death in 2006 at age 41, Jason Rhoades carried out a continuous assault on aesthetic conventions and the rules governing the art world—wryly subverting those very conditions by using them as materials for his work. In 2002, Rhoades introduced the world to his PeaRoeFoam, a “brand new product and revolutionary new material” created from whole green peas, fish-bait style salmon eggs, and white virgin-beaded foam. When combined with non-toxic glue, they transform into a versatile, fast-drying, and ultimately hard material that he intended for both utilitarian as well as artistic uses—his detailed step-by-step instructions accompanied do-it-yourself kits complete with everything needed to make PeaRoeFoam. 

Rhoades debuted his PeaRoeFoam project at David Zwirner in 2002 (then located on Greene Street in SoHo) in the first of a trilogy of exhibitions that also brought it to Vienna and Liverpool the same year. Following the original “PeaRoeFormance” at the gallery, the artist moved the equipment to the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (MUMOK) in Vienna, where he added a makeshift karaoke studio, and then to the Liverpool Biennial, where he continued the production inside a giant, inflatable pool the shape and color of a human liver. PeaRoeFoam continued to be appropriated for subsequent works, but the majority of the leftovers and objects from all three “PeaRoeFormances” found a new place in Rhoades’s studio. Arranged on shelves covering the full length of a large wall, they remained on the location until after the artist’s death. The entirety of the installation, never previously shown, was exhibited as part of the comprehensive presentation of the PeaRoeFoam project at David Zwirner in New York in 2014. 

This seminal publication is the first to properly examine and situate PeaRoeFoam within Rhoades’s career and to acknowledge its importance within the overall framework of his practice. The 2014 exhibition at David Zwirner presented many of the individual components for the first time since their original installations, and this book discusses and reproduces those initial presentations in depth. Also included is an abundance of archival documents and photographs, installation views of all 2002 shows, as well as the artist’s diagrams and drawings. The publication also features a personal and revealing essay by David Zwirner, who began showing Rhoades’s work in the early 1990s, new scholarship by Julien Bismuth, and selected interviews from the Jason Rhoades Oral History project, conceived by Dylan Kenny and Lucas Zwirner, who have interviewed over fifty artists, curators, friends, collaborators, art historians, and others who intimately knew the artist—including curator and art historian Linda Norden.


Publisher: David Zwirner Books

Artists: Jason Rhoades

Contributors: Julien Bismuth, Dylan Kenny, Linda Norden, David Zwirner, Lucas Zwirner

Designer: David Chickey

Printer: VeronaLibri, Verona, Italy

Publication Date: 2015

Binding: Hardcover

Dimensions: 8 1/2 x 12 1/4 in (21.6 x 31.1 cm)

Pages: 112

Reproductions: 55 color, 3 b&w

ISBN: 9781941701072

Retail: $55 US & Canada | £32 | €44

Status: Available

Jason Rhoades

Jason Rhoades was born in Newcastle, California in 1965. He received his MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1993. Later that year, Rhoades joined David Zwirner—becoming part of the gallery’s original roster of artists—and had his first New York solo exhibition. Rhoades’s work has been exhibited internationally since the 1990s. His first solo presentation at a European institution was held at the Kunsthalle Basel in 1996. Other international venues which have organized solo shows include the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands; Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Nuremberg, Germany (both 1998); Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Germany (1999); Museum Haus Esters, Krefeld, Germany (2000); Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (MUMOK), Vienna (2002); Le Magasin – Centre National d’Art Contemporain de Grenoble, France (2005); and the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain (2006). In 2013, Jason Rhoades, Four Roads marked the first American museum exhibition of the artist’s work, organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, which travels internationally through 2015 to the Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany and the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, England. Museum collections which hold works by the artist include the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Gallery, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

All Jason Rhoades books

Julien Bismuth

Born in Paris in 1973, Julien Bismuth is an artist and writer currently based in New York. He received a BFA from the University of California, Los Angeles, an MA from Goldsmiths College, and he is currently pursuing a PhD in Comparative Literature at Princeton University. His work navigates between the visual and literary arts, and he has published a number of texts, including a series of publications with Devonian Press, which he co-founded with the artist Jean-Pascal Flavien in 2005, as well as an essay for the catalogue Jason Rhoades: PeaRoeFoam, published on the occasion of the 2014 exhibition at David Zwirner in New York. His work is represented by Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois, Galerie Parisa Kind, and the Layr Wuestenhagen Gallery, and he has exhibited at Tate Modern, London; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; and the Villa Arson, Nice, France; among other venues.

Dylan Kenny

Dylan Kenny is a writer and researcher. He is currently a Paul Mellon Fellow at Cambridge University.

Linda Norden

Linda Norden is an independent curator, writer, and art historian. Norden’s writing has covered an extensive range of artists and critics, including Richard Artschwager, Robert Gober, Eva Hesse, Roni Horn, Pierre Huyghe, Lucy Lippard, Sharon Lockhart, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Ryman, and Cy Twombly.

David Zwirner

David Zwirner opened his eponymous gallery in the SoHo neighborhood of New York in 1993. With locations currently in New York (Chelsea) and London (Mayfair), the gallery represents close to fifty artists and estates.

Lucas Zwirner

Lucas Zwirner is head of content at David Zwirner where he oversees all aspects of gallery publishing through books, web, video, and the podcast Dialogues.