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Robert Wilhite
Senior Lecturer
Teaches In
Product Design

MFA, Fine Art, UC Northridge
BFA, Fine Art, UC Irvine, Graduate Program

Education Experience:                                                                                                                                                                                   
MFA, New Genres, University of California Los Angeles                                                                                                                 
B.A., Cultural Anthropology, Magna Cum Laude, the University of North Carolina At Asheville                                           
1991 Semester in Nepal Program, School for International Training, Brattleboro, Vermont                                            
1987-88 Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland                                                                                      
1987 Diploma in Visual Art, North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, North Carolina                                                                                                                   


Robert Wilhite has worked as an artist and designer for over 46 years.

He attended the University of California at Irvine from 1970-71 and was the student of artists Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, and Ed Moses. As a student, Wilhite was exposed to many artists and designers who would leave a lasting impression on his thinking as both artist and designer; notably, the work of Reitveld, Tatlin, Malevich, Klebnikov, Teo Van Doesburg, Yves Klein, Raymond Loewy, Walter Gropius, Jean Prouve, Pierre Chareau, and Gio Ponti, was especially influential for Wilhite in his early career.

In 1979, Wilhite was invited by Chris Burden to participate in a show of performance art he was curating at the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art (LAICA), titled "Live From LA." For the exhibition, Wilhite staged a performance that used hypnotism to present a sculpture to a limited audience. Another early conceptual performance by Wilhite was presented at Larry Gagosian's Broxton Gallery, where an entire exhibition was described in detail over the telephone to people who called the gallery.

Wilhite also collaborated with the late French artist Guy de Cointet to create the theatrical works and stage sets for, "Ethiopia," "IGLU," "CIGAR," and "Ramona." Wilhite re-staged the play, IGLU in 2012 at the Getty, Harold M Williamson Theater in 2012 as part of the Pacific Standard Time Events.

Wilhite’s interest in sound art and musical sculptures led him to co-curate the LAICA exhibition, "Sound," in 1979, with LAICA director Bob Smith. The exhibition traveled to PS 1 in New York; exhibition ephemera included a catalog and LP record.

In 2012 the concert, Chinese Cocktail, was restaged, at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery Theater using musical sculptures created by Robert Wilhite. The performance was part of Getty's Pacific Standard Time Events.
From 1990 to 2000, Wilhite was both a partner and principal designer for the flatware company Bissell and Wilhite Co. The company manufactured and distributed its flatware and dinnerware designs to art museum stores and department stores throughout the United States and Europe.

More recent efforts by Robert Wilhite include interior design with two De Stijl/Constructivist-inspired saloons/salons: “Bob’s Your Uncle” at the Kunstverein in Amsterdam (2014), and “Bob’s Pogo Bar” at the Kunst-Werke in Berlin, Germany (2016).
Artworks and designs by Robert Wilhite are included in the permanent collections of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York City; the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut; The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, NYC; MOMA, NYC; the Los Angeles County Art Museum, Los Angeles; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; the Jumex Collection, Mexico City; and the MAMCO, Geneva, Switzerland.

Wilhite continues to produce artwork and design from his studio and workshop in Los Angeles, California. For questions, contact 


Grants Awarded

  • 1977, CETA Grant for Art in Public Places
  • 1979, Artist Fellowship Grant, National Endowment for the Arts
  • 1981, Artist Fellowship Grant, National Endowment for the Arts
  • 1983, “Jade Garden”, Artist Apartment, Washington Project, Funded by Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. 
  • 1985, “Gyro | Cone”, sound sculpture, Commissioned by the New Music America Festival, Pershing Square, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • 1986, Artist Fellowship Grant, National Endowment for the Arts
Professional Accomplishments/Exhibitions:  

Selected Group Exhibitions and Performances

  • 2015, Fox, Henhouse, and the Crow, 2015 Brussels Art Fair, Belgium
  • 2013, IGLU, the play by Guy de Cointet and Robert Wilhite performed at The Rufino Tamayo Museum Theater, Chapultepec Park, Mexico, D.F.
  • 2013, Group Exhibition, Grazer Kunstverein, Palais Trauttmansdorff, Burggasse 4, A-8010 Graz
  • 2012, Chinese Cocktail, A Concert, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery Theater, Barnsdall Park, Los Angeles, California Pacific Standard Time Performance
  • 2011, IGLU, a play by Guy de Cointet and Robert Wilhite, Harold M. Williams Auditorium, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Pacific Standard Time Performance
  • 2011, Civic Virtue, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles, California, Pacific Standard Time Exhibition
  • 2010, IGLU, a play by Guy de Cointet and Robert Wilhite, If I can’t Dance, Frascati WG, Amsterdam
  • 2010, IGLU, a play by Guy de Cointet and Robert Wilhite, STUK, Leuven, Belgium
  • 2010, IGLU, a play by Guy de Cointet and Robert Wilhite, Paying a Visit To Mary, curated by Maxine Kopsa, Aldrich Museum, Connecticut
  • 2009,  The Beat Goes On, Barry Whistler Gallery, Dallas, Texas
  • 2005, Coast to Coast, Barry Whistler Gallery, Dallas, Texas
  • 2004, Guy de Cointet, Who Is This Guy?, MAMCO Museum, Geneva, Switzerland
  • 2001, “Designs for Living”, Palos Verde, California
  • 2001, “Art in the Circle”, Manhattan Beach, California
  • 1999, Bill 1999, “One String Quartet”, Al’s Bar, Los Angeles, California
  • 1991, “Artists Chairs”, Gallery of Functional Art, Santa Monica, California
  • 1987, “Chair Exhibition”, San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California
  • 1985, “Furniture and Fashion”, Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art
  • 1985, “Future Furniture”, Newport Beach, California
  • 1985, “New Music America”, Los Angeles, California
  • 1984, Group Exhibition, Angeles Gallery, Santa Monica, California
  • 1984, “American Craft Traditions”, San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California
  • 1984, “Furniture Furnishings: Subject and Object”, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island
  • 1983, “Directions 1983”, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
  • 1982, “Sonic Art”, CSU San Bernardino, San Bernardino, California
  • 1981, “With More Than One Sense”, Los Angeles County Art Museum, Los Angeles California
  • 1980, “Furnishings by Artists”, Otis/Parsons Art Gallery, Los Angeles, California
  • 1980, “Mach One”, Santa Barbara Natural History Museum, Santa Barbara, California
  • 1979, “Parallelogram”, PS1, Long Island City, New York
  • 1979, “Visual | Musical Permutations”, UC Irvine, Irvine, California
  • 1979, “Sound”, Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California
  • 1978, “Forms For Sound”, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California


Clients/Employment History:  

Teaching Experience

  • 2013, Werkplaatz Typographie, Arnhem, Netherlands
  • 2013, Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • 2013, HEAD, (Sound Sculpture) Master Workshop, Geneva, Switzerland
  • 2012, Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • 1989 - 2000, Santa Monica College of Design, Art, and Architecture, Santa Monica, California
  • 1999 - 2000, CSU Northridge, Northridge, California
  • 1995 - 1996, CSU Northridge, Northridge, California
  • 1980, Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, California
  • 1979, Otis-Parsons School of Design, Los Angeles, California
  • 1979, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
  • 1978, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California
  • 1977, UC Santa Barbara, College of Creative Studies, Goleta, California