The term “Ruffneck Constructivists” is Walker’s intentional recasting of “Russian Constructivists.” Viewing F. T. Marinetti’s 1909 “Futurist Manifesto” as a precursor to hip-hop artist the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Machine Gun Funk,” the phrase “Ruffneck Constructivists” evokes thuggishness as an expression of abjection. Walker’s wordplay suggests a relationship between the works on view in the exhibition and the moment, a century ago, when art and architecture were remaking a modern world. Yet, in place of the ego of the architect, they evoke the censured braggadocio of the hood and its black-market ingenuity. The works in this show do not communicate straight politics or solutions, though in Walker’s words that is “the background hum.” Instead, the exhibition focuses on structure and space as it is made and remade by policed bodies and identities. As Walker states, “It is my hope that the interaction between these very divergent works and methods could return a viewer to the questions of modernism, architecture, urbanism and the resistant bodies who reshape it.”
Walker is the third invited artist in the Katherine Stein Sachs (CW’69) and Keith L. Sachs (W’67) Guest Curator Program, which brings artists to curate an ICA exhibition every three to four years.