Christopher Robbins is an American artist that focuses his art practice in the realm of public art and social sculpture. Robbins works internationally, using physical and conversational processes to create interactions between strangers in order to build community and problem-solve.
Robbins works on the uneasy cusp of public art and international development, creating sculptural interventions in the daily lives of strangers. He uses heavy material demands and a carefully twisted work-process to craft awkwardly intimate social collaborations.
Robbins has lived and worked in London, Tokyo, West Africa, the Fiji Islands, and former Yugoslavia, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin, West Africa, and spoke at a United Nations conference about his cross-cultural work in the South Pacific.
As a way of probing the troubling power dynamics he witnessed in his cross-cultural work, Robbins co-founded the Ghana ThinkTank (GTT) in 2006. With the mission “Developing the First World,” they collect problems in the so-called “Developed” world, and send them to think tanks they established in Cuba, Ghana, Iran, Mexico, El Salvador, and the U.S. prison system to analyze and solve (the network continues to grow.)
Then they work with the communities where the problems originated to implement those solutions – whether they seem impractical or brilliant.
His work with Ghana ThinkTank has been featured in major international exhibitions such as the Venice Biennial of Architecture; the National Museum of Wales; Hong Kong/Shenzhen Biennale in Shenzhen, China; ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe, Germany; New Museum Festival of Ideas; the Foundation for Art and Technology, Liverpool, UK; Nikolaj Kunsthallen/Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center; and Eyebeam Center, New York. Robbins has been awarded residencies or fellowships from Skowhegan, MacDowell Colony, Haystack, Penland, and Anderson Ranch, among others.
The Ghana ThinkTank was awarded a Creative Capital Grant in 2013, spoke at the 2014 Creative Time Summit, and has won major grants from the Knight Foundation and Kresge Foundation.
Christopher Robbins has an MFA from RISD Rhode Island School of Design, and teaches sculpture and art for social change at SUNY Purchase College School of Art & Design.