People Feeders

Rob Pruitt

MASSIMODECARLO is pleased to present an edition of hand-crafted People Feeder mugs by Rob Pruitt.

The project, begun in 2010, brings two key critical observations to our attention:
1. our wasteful society: the landfills laden with non degradable tires,
2. and a population that in the artist’s own words “can’t go 20 minutes without outside stimulus like a sugary candy or checking an iPhone”

The original People Feeder sculptures from 2010 used real truck and car tires, stacked one on top of the other, creating dystopian totems, with tread patterns articulated in white house paint to create the world’s largest candy dishes, catering to this constant need for stimulation whilst bringing their relentless cumulation to our attention. With these totems of consumption, Pruitt also pays homage to Alan Kaprow’s iconic 1961 Yard. This happening – or intrusion – consisted in filling a New York City gallery backyard with more than one thousand used tires, forcing visitors to meander uncomfortably among their cumbersome presence.
Today, Pruitt’s edition of People Feeder mugs commemorates this earlier work, scaling it back to true candy dish proportions. Pushing his reflection on utility and obsolescence one step further, Pruitt’s 2023 mugs are as multifunctional as they are empty – devoid of use: filled alternatively with brushes, coffee, tools or candy, they can serve multiple purposes, whilst still harkening back to the artist’s initial concern with our wasteful reality.

An edition of 20, Pruitt’s hand-painted People Feeders are presented at MASSIMODECARLO Pièce Unique in Paris on the occasion of the artist’s first solo exhibition in the gallery.

The artist

Rob Pruitt (Washington D.C., 1964) lives and works in New York, US.

Since the early 1990s, Rob Pruitt’s risk-taking investigations into American popular culture have taken many forms. From his notorious Cocaine Buffet (1998) and glitter portraits of Pandas or the significant Suicide Paintings’ series, Pruitt’s works are a surreal and extravagant interpretation of the pop world, a kaleidoscopic look towards mass culture by exploring the multiples aspects and the paradoxes of our present time.

Throughout his career Rob Pruitt has fine-tuned his ability to express nuanced ideas about culture and society through re-interpretation of common objects and materials, all filtered through a sense of humor and irony.

Rob Pruitt studied at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington D.C. and Parsons School of Design in New York. He lives and works in New York.

His work has been included in numerous museum solo exhibitions, including a recent exhibition at Rebuild Foundation, Chicago (2019); Kunsthalle Zurich, curated by Daniel Baumann, Zurich (2017); Brant Foundation, Greenwich, (2015); a mid-career retrospective at Aspen Art Museum, Aspen (2013); Dallas Contemporary, Dallas (2011); Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit (2015); Kunstverein, Freiburg (2012); Le Consortium, Dijon (2002); and group shows such as: From Day to Day, de la Cruz Collection, Miami (2019); The Shadows Took Shape, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2013); Pop Life, Tate Modern (2009); Mapping the Studio, Punta Della Dogana/Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2009). In 2009, he debuted the Rob Pruitt’s Annual Art Awards at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, an award show for the art world fashioned after the Oscars. In 2011, he was commissioned by the Public Art Fund to install The Andy Monument, a highly polished chrome sculpture of Andy Warhol (replete with shopping bags) in New York’s Union Square, near the site of Warhol’s Factory.