LPP in Conversation: Kate Rhoades

Studio Sessions

LPP in Conversation

LPP in Conversation: Kate Rhoades

By Little Paper Planes June 30, 2015

Studio Sessions offers behind-the-scenes access to artists, writers, curators, and creative individuals through a variety of tête-à-tête conversations that consider the how, and what, and where of making art. Studio Sessions are presented as interviews, profiles, and studio visits through text, photo essays, and videos.

LPP in Conversation visits Bay Area artists in their studios and project sites to explore the research, readings, obsessions, and inspiration they use to inform their practice.


Squeezed into a tiny rental office where you might expect to see a sign for a notary public or tax preparation, we sat down with Kate Rhoades in her Oakland studio. It’s a strange but appropriate spot, given Rhoades’ preoccupation with art as a profession and with the art world as a professional community with ethical obligations. 

But in a community that champions individual expression and “natural” talent in the production of expensive objects and experiences, what are the ethics? What are our obligations to one another? What are the access points to this community? What art-world codes are actually cliquey obfuscations? 

Rhoades is intent on seriously and hilariously wrestling with these questions. To that end, she uses many voices to speak about the art world. She cohosts a podcast, creates audiobooks of critical-theory texts, and produces and acts in videos interrogating the theory canon. She also paints. Her projects mix high and low to uncomfortable effect, throwing cartoons and Muppets alongside staid oil paintings and dense academic texts. Perhaps her strongest provocation is to ricochet wildly between what a viewer might interpret as competency and incompetency. And that refusal to be dumb, combined with a refusal to not be dumb, points toward the ethics she is beginning to map out. It’s one of omnivorous inclusion, of taking care of community while leaving room to have wild, absurd, conflicting opinions. 

Kate Rhoades is an Oakland-based artist. Influenced by a background in comic books and YouTube videos, Rhoades uses paint and digital media to probe the absurdity of the art world in all its social and institutional facets. She received a BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design and an MFA from Mills College. Her work has been exhibited in art venues, alleys, and hotel rooms across the United States and Canada.

Kate Rhoades. Required Skimming, 2014; digital video still. Courtesy of the Artist.

Producers/Directors:

Kelly Lynn Jones is an artist and founder of Little Paper Planes in San Francisco. She works with artists in a variety of ways including print, publishing, and curatorial projects, and she runs the LPP+ Residency. She received her MFA from California College of the Arts and has shown her work across the U.S.

Maggie Haas is an artist and writer based in San Francisco. She is the Featured Artist Editor at Little Paper Planes, and writes reviews for LPP and other blogs. She holds an MFA from California College of the Arts and a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University.

Edit/film:

Apart from making videos, Jon Brown is an aspiring semi-professional whistler. He also has too many keys on his keychain.

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