Rachel Libeskind

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Artist Statement

In the summer of 2014, I was invited to perform at the Festival di Spoleto, in a show curated by the Italian critic, Achille Bonito Oliva. I was humbled by this commissioned request, and frightened by the gravity of taking on performance- a form that my creative expression had yet to take. As a child in Berlin, I was scouted for my good ear and flawless American accent, and worked from a young age doing voice-over work for BBC cartoons. Up until that moment, that had been the extent of my performance work.

The work that I presented in Spoleto was a performance installation entitled The Traveling Bag. It took place in a 14th century Fortress, and I was assigned the Camera Pinta, a spectacular frescoed room designed for courtly love. The performance was a meditation on the suitcase: The trope of the suitcase is an infinite one. It opens itself to the human experience as a palimpsest; this humble object encapsulates at once both the experience of transit and the importance of materiality to us as human beings.

To me, the very act of packing and unpacking is an almost spiritual one, which conveys an inventory of information about the owner of the bag. How we treat our objects, what we choose to bring with us and how we see and use these objects away from home are all elements which come together in the rich ocean of connotations we have for the traveling bag.

I performed this work five times a day, for two weeks straight. The mania induced both by my fear of performing and the spiritually charged space I was assigned, pushed me to my most outer personal limits of expression. In moments of paralysis, I began to simply make works live, as a bridge between myself and the audience. This energy I shared with the spectators- energy brought on by the revelation of a series of decisions that go into making a collage or a drawing or the manipulation of an object- so fulfilled me that by the end of the two weeks of performing, I could not see myself returning to my former practice that involved only me, alone, working in my studio.

Since my experience in Spoleto, I have sought to build a practice that merges my love of image and object making/manipulation, with larger scale installations (made up of permanent and ephemeral objects), as well as performance work within these created environments. My desire to add sound and video projection, while live making, has allowed space for other artists, musicians and performers to enter my space, and interact with it. The layered nature of this kind of production is rich- it feeds both my need to interact, with a mode of creation that transmutes an honest and intimate work.

[In May of 2015, I performed the traveling bag on the rooftop of the McCarren Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I invited two experimental musicians, whose focus in sound revolves around archeology and anthropology, to join me in this performance. This incarnation, entitled Ancient Baggage, was a 45 minute long, deeply meditative version of The Traveling Bag, performed in front of an audience of 150. Alongside this performance work, I have begun to make installations (video, sculptural etc.) as sets for opera and theater.

Shortly thereafter, in June 2015, I completed a full installation inside the Hotel Chelsea’s storefront space on 23rd street. I was invited to perform inside my installation as a part of the Young Artists at the Chelsea programming. To me, this was an opportunity that allowed me to tailor The Traveling Bag to a specific space and event. I performed every night for 12 nights; following my performance, the space I had designed and mediated during my work was inhabited by actors performing Patti Smith’s Cowboy Mouth. After the play was finished, there was a different musical act every single night. This experience was deeply rich for me, as it afforded me the space and time to curate a space that was designed for multi-disciplinary intervention.]

Such images constitute a program- establish our soul’s fixed fund of capital, which is allotted to us very early in the form of inklings and half-conscious feelings. It seems to me that the rest of our life passes in the interpretation of those insights, in the attempt to master them with all the wisdom we acquire, to draw them through all the range of intellect we have in our possession. (Bruno Schulz)





2007-2011: B.A. Cum Laude from Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts with a degree in Visual Studies and Comparative Literature

Solo Exhibitions/Performances

May 2016 The Traveling Bag: performance in a site-specific installation in Berlin-Mitte, produced by curatorial body, Wild Palms.

May 2016 Sacred Trash, My Genizah: commissioned installation by the Center for Jewish History, located on 16 E15th street, NYC

June 2015 The Traveling Bag: A Performance as a part of Young Artists at the Chelsea Festival, Hotel Chelsea, NYC. Art direction and performance.

May 2015 The Traveling Bag: A performance with live experimental music, McCarren Park Hotel

February 2015 The Rachel Libeskind Society, Hansel&Gretel/Pocket Utopia, 511 W 22nd street, NYC (artist-run collective)

July 2014 The Traveling Bag: A ritual performance, Festival di Spoleto, Italy [curated by Achille Bonito Oliva]

May 2013 “Rich White Men”, Alludo Room, Rome, Italy (non-for profit gallery)

April 2013 LABOEXPO Performance and Installation, Foro Buonaparte 60, Milano

March 2013 “The Wild West”, Hansel & Gretel Picture Garden 511 W 20th Street, NYC (artist-run collective)

December 2011 “Rachel Von Libeskind” Hansel & Gretel Picture Garden 511 W 20th Street, NYC (artist-run collective)


Group Exhibitions

September 2015 Salon Society, the book edition: salon hosted by curator Fabiola Alondra, Brooklyn, NY

September 2015 START Fair, Saatchi & Saatchi, London U.K.

September 2015 “Conceived without Sin”, Radiator Gallery, Long Island CIty, NYC

May 2015 Art Miami Fair, a part of the No Longer.Empty booth, Pier 94 NYC

May 2015 Salon Society, private salon hosted by Fabiola Alondra, Brooklyn, NY

February 2015 “Winter Tales”, Alludo Room, Kitzbuhel, Austria

December 2014 Performed in Alexandra Marzella’s work, “Literally Bye” at the Standard Hotel as a part of Art Basel 2014

October 2014 Artecho, SunWest Studios NYC

June 2014 “Traces: A group Exhibition”, Gowanus (Brooklyn), NY

May 2014 Enter: National Lithuanian Arts Festival, Vilnius, Lithuania

February 2014 New Patron Presents: an Exhibition 355 Bowery, NYC

December 2013 “15 WARREN: a group show downtown” 15 Warren Street, NYC

November 2013 “The Jewel Box Revue” Hansel & Gretel / Pocket Utopia, 511 W 22nd street, NYC

March 2013 Decenter Armory: An exhibition on the centenary of the 1913 Armory show (online)

Feb 2013 “RE:SANDY” A Benefit Auction 47 Broadway, NYC

October 2012 SALON ZURCHER: Galerie Zurcher, Paris, France

May 2012 “TWO-D” GRASSGRASS 10 Vyner Street, London, UK

May 2011 “O Pioneers!” Carpenter Center, Harvard University Cambridge, MA’



October 2015 AMERICAN GOTHIC an original opera presented with a multichannel video installation at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, NY

October 2015 SEAPORT STUDIOS commissioned installation at the Howard Hughes corp. funded concept space at the former port of New York. Title TBD

September 2015 CONCEIVED WITHOUT SIN commissioned installation of a nativity scene, with a performance at Radiator Gallery in Long Island City, NY

June 2015 COWBOY MOUTH set-design for the inaugural festival at the new Chelsea Hotel, NYC

February 2015 LA VOIX HUMAINE site-specific installation for a modernist opera, Bas Fisher Invitational, Miami (Funded by the Knight Foundation)

January 2013 HEALTHCARE a multimedia installation and theatrical production at Parade Ground at 187 East Broadway, NYC


2015 Accepted to HEIMA, Seydisfyodor, Iceland (Yet to be completed)

2015 Accepted to 3331 Chiyoda Residency in Tokyo (Yet to be completed)

2014 Accepted to Arteles Residency in Finland (Yet to be completed)

March 2014 ART STUDENTS LEAGUE Residency, Sparkill, NY

February 2014 BERLIN COLLECTIVE ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE, 34 34TH Street, Brooklyn, NY


November 2012 NACHT/MACHT residency at The Watermill Center, Long Island, NY


Forbes – Interview on my work

Artnet News – Young Artists at the Chelsea coverage

The New York Times – Young Artists at the Chelsea coverage

Detail Magazine – Young Artists at the Chelsea coverage

Die Welt (sunday magazine) – Interview on my work

The New York Observer – Frieze Week Guide

Paper Magazine – Frieze Week Guide

NYTimes City Room Blog – coverage of my performance at the McCharren Hotel

The Art Newspaper – coverage of my performance at the McCharren Hotel

MTV Re:Define – interview with Tyrell Winston on my work

Miami New Times – Review of La Voix Humaine production, and my installation

South Florida Classical Review – Review of La Voix Humaine production, and my installation

The Fader – Interviewed on women’s bodies in social media.

La Repubblica – Coverage of performance in Spoleto

All Day – Interview about my work

Arttribune Italy – Coverage of performance in Spoleto

Purple Diary – Coverage of my installation at guerilla show at 15 Warren

Huffington Post Italia – Interview on my work

Dossier Journal – Interview on my work

Revue Magazine – Interview on my work

Minerva Radio – KnowWave.com, Interview

Minerva Zine – Art collective published magazine.

Stay BEST – Art and Fashion magazine, multiple works printed

REVUE magazine – Designed the cover of a monthly German magazine

Work Experience

May 2015 DEAR MAMA: A mother’s day show at the Dept. of Signs & Symbols in Brooklyn, NY curated and hosted a 25 artist. all-female exhibition for the occasion of mother’s day

Jan – Dec 2014 EDUCTIONAL ALLIANCE – PROJECT ORE East 12th Street, NYC I taught a multi-media, weekly art class at a senior center funded by the Educational Alliance, whose clientele is 65+, largely homeless, isolated or mentally ill.

May 2013- Present Work as freelance Art Director for music video, short films, new Brand consulting

Sep 2011- June 2012 DEUTSCHES HAUS NYU worked as moderator for German/English literary and art events, as well as translator