The Maid is a short film that focuses on six sculptures residing in various locations—an auction house, museum storage space, and the homes of art collectors. Through the camera’s meditative gaze, Rodriguez invites viewers to closely attend to the works, highlighting the extraordinary care given to these objects. The film borrows its title from a 1913 short story by Robert Walser (1878–1956). In the paragraph-long tale, a maid spends 20 years searching for a lost child once in her care. When she finally finds her, the maid dies of joy. This journey, driven by love and responsibility, serves as a powerful allegory for the attentive custodianship of works of art.
The sculptures in Rodriguez’s film were created by Sherrie Levine (US, b. 1947) in the 1990s. Known for copying or appropriating works of other artists, Levine modeled her pieces from an early 20th-century sculpture by Constantin Brancusi (Romania, 1876–1957). Referred to as “the father of modern sculpture,” he aligned his artistic creation with birth using the title Le Nouveau Né (The Newborn). Levine challenges this patriarchal lineage, adopting the newborns as her own by casting multiple versions in crystal or black glass. Rodriguez searched the globe to locate Levine’s sculptures in public and private collections. Her film reunites several “siblings,” documenting the commercial, domestic, and institutional afterlives of these enduring artworks.
The exhibition also includes Rodriguez’s All the Best Memories are Hers (2018), a series of photographs that brings artistic reproduction into dialogue with biological reproduction. As the artist describes, “By juxtaposing biological time with the eternal life of the art object, my works examine the interstices between subject and object, person and property, and delve into the structures of modern kinship and personhood.”
Curators: Mary Ceruti, executive director; with Jadine Collingwood, curatorial fellow, Visual Arts
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