Rondinone emerged onto the international art scene in the 1990s. Many of his pieces coax the viewer into a meditative state like the blurred, brightly colored, concentric rings of his target-shaped paintings; or his strictly black and white landscapes of gnarled trees that seem to bristle with energy. His large rainbow signs are just as enigmatically alluring with their imperative affirmations of “Hell, Yes!” or “Our Magic Hour.” These signs seem to point to some hidden aspect of our reality and history. One sign, “Dog Days Are Over,” presented in 1996 at Zurich’s Museum für Gegenwartskunst, proclaims an end to a period of turmoil, but what that period is remains unclear. This sign later inspired Florence and the Machine front woman Florence Welch to write the hit song “Dog Days Are Over.”
In 2013 he showed “Human Nature,” a group of monumental stone figures in Rockefeller Center. They resembled rudimentary robots hewn from the rocks of Stonehenge.