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There is something alien and alarming about Chakaia Booker’s sculpture, but also teasingly familiar and comforting. Booker tears apart tires and re-assembles them around metal or wood armatures into fantastic shapes and structures. The essence of the tire – thick rubber, tread patterns, steel belts – peers out from within its new form, but these well-known elements are now transformed from being merely functional into decorative, suggestive features. The experience is akin to seeing the insides of the human body, where gut and bone are appreciated for their inherent beauty, not just for what they do. Nine of Booker’s sculptures are on display in the exhibition, Chakaia Booker, at Gallery 210 on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus (1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road; 314-516-5976 or gallery210.umsl.edu). The show opens with a free public reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 4, and remains up through Saturday, December 8. Gallery 210 is open Tuesday through Saturday.
Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: Oct. 4. Continues through Dec. 8, 2007

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