Will Rawls (b. 1978, USA) is a choreographer, dancer, and writer whose work unfolds at the edges of sense when dance and language clash. Across his practice, Rawls grapples with language as an ever-evolving site of negotiation, drawing parallels between its fluctuating meanings and the human body as it dances, contorts, transforms, speaks, groans, and repeats itself. The artist’s work poetically embraces glitches and failures in communication, whether linguistic, gestural or visual, signaling Rawls’ belief that precarity is fundamental to storytelling under conditions of oppression. With every body of work, Rawls addresses the inherent concealment and exposure of performance and the mutability of objects, and by extension, the thresholds where black presence meets the edge of erasure from abstraction.
He has received fellowships and residencies from the Guggenheim Foundation, The Alpert Foundation, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Creative Capital, United States Artists, the Rauschenberg Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and several universities and museums. Recent performances and exhibitions have been presented at the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; MoMA PS 1, New York, NY; PACE LA, Los Angeles, CA; REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA; Hessel Museum, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, CT. His writing has been published by the Hammer Museum, MoMA, Museu de Arte de São Paolo, Dancing While Black Journal, and Artforum. Rawls is Associate Professor of Choreography in UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance.