Rad Hourani is an interdisciplinary artist who uses the mediums of sculpture, painting, architecture, photography, costume, instruction, performance, textile, printmaking, curation, text, sound, and video to highlight the labels that are used to code and categorize human beings. His hybrid artistic approach revolves around the foundations and contexts of geopolitical, religious, sexual, and economic social systems. Questioning established boundaries and hierarchies, Rad practice in the visual arts seeks to revolutionize these structures into evolving manifestations of activism.
From an early age, Rad observes the meaning behind how the world is constructed into fragmentation or generalization. He analyzes the various forms of oppression perpetrated by the labeling of identity, be it through gender, age, race, class, or other. His early memories of noticing these supremacies later lend to his familiarity with exposing the boundaries of social constructs. Rad constantly dealt with the question, "Where are you really from?" being born in Jordan to a Syrian Orthodox Christian mother and a Jordanian-Canadian Catholic father and growing up in Canada in his teen years. As a non-religious adult, he continued to feel a sense of non-belonging as he lived in several cities, such as Paris and New York, which shaped his attentive observations of humanity based on a global perspective.
Rad perceives humanity as a synonymous ecosystem of cultures and posits nonconformity as the essence of individuality. His critique of the discriminatory bases of nationalism, racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, and authoritarianism foregrounds a pluralist perspective that questions our existence and our modes of operation as a tool for uniting all. It aims to return to the basis of these precepts in order to achieve awareness of the effects of our generalizations and categorizations. The artist's philosophical baseline maintains that all individuals are multi-faceted and unique. The transdisciplinarity of his vision, which confronts institutional formalism and aesthetics by assuming a decompartmentalization between disciplines, is reflected in a lens of union. His ongoing ideation concedes to the power of visual consumption to open conversations and share knowledge that celebrates a non-conformist perception of belonging. Furthermore, with no post-secondary academic background, the learning is inherently beyond systematized construction and expansive in nature.
Between 2005 and 2007, Rad Hourani invented the first gender-neutral patterns, in addition to a non-gendered sizing system specific to a complete unisex wardrobe. In October 2007, he introduced the first entirely gender-neutral ready-to-wear collection in fashion history via a runway performance. In 2012, he was approached by the "Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture" in Paris to become an "invited member". In January 2013, Rad Hourani became the first to create and present a unisex couture collection in the history of "Haute Couture". His revolutionary concept of gender-neutral collections aims to initiate a dialogue on non-binarity through the medium of costume. Defending a baseline of equality, Rad Hourani's work has paved the way for boundary-pushing creations of the future, using non-binary terms such as genderless, agender, genderfluid, non-gendered, all-gender, human, and others.
An artist classified as BIPOC, queer, and neurodivergent, Rad multidisciplinary practice challenges the categorical preconceptions of identity as created by society and its established hierarchies. His anthropological studies involve lengthy research throughout his processes that aim to revive crucial debates on prejudices and open dialogues on issues of inclusion and inequality. Delving into these explorations demonstrates the structures based on the connotations associated with a subject, including various media, regarding its history and its evolution. The work honors art's ability to activate the human senses, which is projected as a connecting link between concepts. Rad looks at the genetics of categorization and how they are generated. For Rad, this is an act of radically de-compartmentalizing narratives to invite us to question the ways in which we function and to envision an existence free from limitations and conditioning.
Rad was invited to teach and lecture to spread his knowledge beyond the artistic or academic community in Seoul, Dubai, Beijing, Paris, Berlin, Tbilisi, New York, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, London, and other cities, as well as at various institutions, including the Centre Pompidou, FIT Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, UQÀM, and École du Louvre. He was a member of the jury of numerous art and film festivals and programmed a "carte blanche” at Le FIFA. He has curated solo and group exhibitions by diverse artists in public art establishments. His large knowledge and creative expertise have been implemented in private consulting, mentoring, and art direction for countless clients. Rad collaborates with the LGBTQIA2S+ community and projects on feminism and diversity with contemporary artists such as Lady Gaga, Larry Clark, Rihanna, Chinawoman, Jared Leto, Nick Cave, Shirine Neshat, Édouard Lock, and Thundercat. Rad Hourani's work has been featured internationally in publications such as the New York Times, Interview, Vogue, WSJ, Aesthetica, Elle, Time, V, National Geographic, Surface, i-D, The Cut, Vanity Fair, Dazed, GQ, Rolling Stone, BBC, Harper's Bazaar, The Guardian, Forbes, Nowness, etc. His artworks are held in private collections and museums worldwide.
This nonconformist artist (innovator, sculptor, researcher, architect, teacher, philosopher, activist, etc.) seeks to propose, transmit, collaborate, and nurture even further the idea we might have of the arts through his activism. The ideas he puts forward are universal and inclusive, always ensuring that marginalized communities are represented in his work through a unifying prism. His work has been presented in partnership with the Graham Foundation, the Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA), the City of Chicago, the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCASE), the Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater, Sherbrooke University, Wesleyan University, the Centre Culturel Canadien à Paris, and endorsed by Sidney Toledano of Christian Dior Couture, Franca Sozzani and Anna Wintor of Palazzo Morando Museum, Phoebe Greenberg of Fondation PHI, Pierre Bergé, and François-Henri Pinault of Andam, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Arts Council, Fonderie Darling, and the Arsenal. Rad participated in residencies at Artexte and is a grant recipient of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Canada Council of the Arts.
Rad Hourani's work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions, notably at the Jardin du Palais-Royal in Paris (2009), the Yvon Lambert Gallery in New York (2010), the Centre Pompidou in Paris (2012), Tate Modern in London (2013), the Phi Centre in Montréal (2013), the MU Hybrid Art House in Eindhoven (2014), the Centre Cuturel Canadien in Paris (2015), the Herning Museum of Contemporary Art in Herning (2015), Arsenal Contemporary Art in Montréal (2015), the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York (2016), the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2017), the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (2019), the Noguchi Museum in New York (2019), and the A.K.T; in Pforzheim (2021).
GENDERLESS RACELESS AGELESS NATIONLESS LIMITLESS
S E L E C T E D D A T E S
JUNE 2021 - PFORZHEIM / GERMANY - A.K.T; - "THE THIRD GENDER” EXHIBITION
OCTOBER 2019 - MIDDLETOWN / USA - EZRA & CECILE GALLERY - "INACTION” EXHIBITION
SEPTEMBER 2019 - NEW YORK / USA - NOGUCHI MUSEUM "CONTRACT AND RELEASE” EXHIBITION
MAY 2019 - BORDEAUX / FRANCE - MUSÉE DES BEAUX-ARTS "JE NE PEUX PAS RESTER SILENCEUSE” PERFORMANCE IN THE PERMANENT EXHIBITION
MARCH 2019 - SEOUL / SOUTH KOREA - SAVINA MUSEUM - "NA NA LAND : IT'S MY WORLD” EXHIBITION
MARCH 2019 - BOSTON / USA - FINE ARTS MUSEUM - "GENDER BENDING” EXHIBITION
JUNE 2017 - BILBAO / SPAIN - GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM - "UNISEX” INSTALLATION IN “DRESSING IDEAS IN FILMS” EXHIBITION
OCTOBER 2016 - SAN JOSE / USA - SAN JOSE MUSEUM OF ART - “BEAUTY" COOPER HEWITT EXHIBITION
JULY 2016 - BERLIN / GERMANY - L40 GALLERY - “EYE" EXHIBITION
FEBRUARY 2016 - NEW YORK / USA - THE COOPER HEWITT DESIGN MUSEUM - “BEAUTY" EXHIBITION
FEBRUARY 2016 - TIBLISI / GEORGIA - PHOTO FESTIVAL - “PORTRAITS" EXHIBITION
NOVEMBER 2015 - MONTRÉAL / CANADA - ARSENAL CONTEMPORARY ART - “NEUTRALITY" EXHIBITION
SEPTEMBER 2015 - HERNING / DENMARK - MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART - “RESISTANCE" EXHIBITION
JANUARY 2015 - PARIS / FRANCE - CANADIAN CULTURAL CENTRE - "UCART#14" EXHIBITION
NOVEMBER 2014 - BEIJING / CHINA - ARTCO GALLERY - “ANATOMY" EXHIBITION
JUNE 2014 - EINDHOVEN / NETHERLANDS - MU ART CENTER - “GENDERBLENDER” EXHIBITION
MARCH 2014 - DUBAI / UAE - ART WEEK - “5YRSOFUNISEX” EXHIBITION
NOVEMBER 2013 - MONTRÉAL / CANADA - CENTRE PHI - "SEAMLESS" EXHIBITION
APRIL 2013 - LONDON / UK - TATE MODERN - "METAPROJECTION” PERFORMANCE + INSTALLATION
NOVEMBER 2012 - NEW YORK / USA - FIT MUSEUM - "GENDERLESS PROCESS" LECTURE WITH HISTORIAN VALERIE STEELE
NOVEMBER 2012 - PARIS / FRANCE - LA CHAMBRE SYNDICALE DE LA HAUTE COUTURE - "UNISEX COUTURE" - Rad Hourani was approached by the "Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture" in Paris to become an "invited member," with the endorsement of Sidney Toledano at "Christian Dior Couture." Embodying an innovative spirit since 2005, Rad Hourani then became the first to both create and introduce a gender-neutral collection in the history of "Haute Couture" in January of 2013.
NOVEMBER 2012 - PARIS / FRANCE - CENTRE POMPIDOU - "VF“ FILM INSTALLATION
JUNE 2012 - HONG KONG / CHINA - IT GALLERY - “EARTH" EXHIBITION
OCTOBER 2011 - SOEUL / SOUTH KOREA - PUBLIC - “UNISEX” PERFORMANCE
OCTOBER 2011 - PARIS / FRANCE - MANNERHEIM GALLERY - "TRANSFORMABLE UC#8” EXHIBITION
JUNE 2011 - ARNHEM / NETHERLANDS - ARNHEM BIENNALE - “UNFRAMED” INSTALLATION
FEBRUARY 2010 - NEW YORK / USA - YVON LAMBERT GALLERY - "UC#5” SHOW PERFORMANCE
JUNE 2009 - PARIS / FRANCE - JARDIN DU PALAIS-ROYAL - “TRANCLASSIC" EXHIBITION
OCTOBER 2007 - PARIS / FRANCE - DOMINIQUE FIAT GALLERY - “GENDER-NEUTRAL - UC#0” - A performance via the medium of the runway to introduce the first entirely gender-neutral ready-to-wear collection in the history of fashion. Rad Hourani invented the first gender-neutral patterns in 2007, in addition to a new sizing system specific to a complete unisex wardrobe. In conceiving his revolutionary concept of ready-to-wear collections, the works of art aim to initiate a dialogue on non-binary through the medium of costume.
"I STARTED CREATING WITH A SENSE OF CURIOSITY AND INNOCENCE DRIVEN BY MY 'NO-BACKGROUND' BACKGROUND. NO SCHOOL. NO TELLY. NO BOUNDARIES. NO FORMATTING. I LIKE THE IDEA OF A WORLD THAT WE COULD LIVE AND SHAPE BY OURSELVES, ONLY BY OBSERVING. EACH OUR OWN. MY AESTHETICS HAVE ERUPTED FROM THIS WORLD OF MINE. THEY ARE GENDERLESS, AGELESS AND LIMITLESS. THEY COME FROM NO NATION, NO RACE, NO RELIGION, YET THEY COULD BE HOME ANYWHERE, ANYTIME. THEY EXUDE THE ESSENCE OF TIMELESSNESS FOR ANTI-CONFORMIST INDIVIDUALS." - Rad Hourani
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