The Last of The Real Thing

Rhonda Kuhlman

Exhibition: Sep 21 – Nov 26, 2006

Kuhlman’s WindowWorks project, The Last of The Real Thing, transforms Artpace’s light-filled front exhibition area into a shimmering tropical paradise that comments on the rise of industrialization and its harmful health effects. The space is dotted with sandy spits and “sugar cane” islands made of verdant green mosaic squares and towers of recycled Mexican Coca-Cola, one of the few remaining sodas made with unprocessed sugar cane. Complete with a functional hammock, the interactive project playfully focuses on the prevailing practice of forsaking natural foods for less nutritious refined varieties.


Rhonda Kuhlman

San Antonio, Texas, USA

Based in San Antonio, Rhonda Kuhlman reclaims the refuse of the streets-candy wrappers, tin cans, and thrift items-and returns it to the public as architectural sculptures and interactive installations. Taking cues from the make-do attitude of folk art as well as the vibrant expression of ethnic cultures in San Antonio, her furniture works, archway fences, and house drawings seduce viewers into unexpected, artistic experiences with common materials. For a project at San Antonio’s Cambridge Middle School in 2006, Kuhlman had students collect, decorate, and then plant their lunch sporks in neighboring fields. The sea of tulip clusters revealed the macro and micro organization of the student body.
The artist received an MFA in painting/studio art from the University of Houston, TX, in 1992. She was owner, operator, and curator of RC Gallery, Blue Star Arts Complex, San Antonio, TX, from 2001 to 2003. In 2005, she completed the commission Starry Constellations, Folk Art Collectors Gallery Space, San Antonio, TX. Kuhlman was named the Recycled Artist of the Year by Niche Magazine in 2001.

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