Robert Wilhite (born 1946) is a Los Angeles based artist. He studied at the University of Calif. Irvine with noted artists Robert Irwin, Larry Bell, and Ed Moses. His 45 year, multi-disciplined career includes sculpture, painting, drawing, design, and both theatrical and sound performances.
The early work of Robert Wilhite included an exhibition viewed by telephone descriptions to callers from Larry Gagosian’s, Broxton Gallery in 1976, as well as San Francisco and Los Angeles Concerts introducing a musical sculpture. The concerts were presented by telephone from his studio in Los Angeles, both documented by a limited edition recording.
In 1977, Wilhite co-curated the “Sound” Exhibition at the Los Angeles institute of Contemporary Art, in los Angeles. The exhibition traveled to PS 1 in Long Island city, New York, and included performances, an exhibition and a documentary recording with samples of each artists sound artwork. The exhibition included Mike Kelly and was his first exhibition following graduate school. Also in 1977, Wilhite was included along with two other artists in the exhibition, “Live from LA,”curated by Chris Burden and included an exhibition of artwork and a Hypnotism performance.
Recent exhibitions/performances include a small retrospective exhibition, Bob’s Store for Art and Design, at the Kunstverein in Amsterdam; the staging of the play, IGLU from 1978 by Guy de Cointet and Robert Wilhite at the Getty Center in Los Angeles in 2011. A part of the Pacific Standard Time Getty events included the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery Theater concert, “Chinese Cocktail,” a sound work involving an orchestra of Musical Sculptures. Other important performances included presentations of IGLU at the Aldrich Museum in Connecticut and the Rufino Tamayo Museum Theater, Chapultepec Park, D.F. in 2013; A reading of Espahor ledet ko uluner!, by Guy de Cointet at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France; and the design and fabrication of the Bob’s Your Uncle secret bar at the Kunstverein in Amsterdam.
The production design work of Robert Wilhite includes furniture, flatware, as well as lighting. His designs were sold at most of the major art museum stores and department stores in the United States and included the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, in New York; The National Museum in Washington, D.C.. Wilhite also hold a US Mechanical patent on a coffee brewing device.
Wilhite was a department chairman from 1989 -2001 at the Santa Monica College of Design, Art, and Architecture where his responsibilities included new genre, sculpture, furniture, product design. He has been a visiting artist and guest lecturer at many institutions but most recently the Werkplaatz Typographie in Arnhem, Netherlands; the Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam, The HEAD, in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Lyon in Lyon, France.