Young artist seeks audience to enjoy poly-conscious attempts at post-medium condition production.
Must enjoy race mongering, disparate disconnected thoughts and sunsets (really). Familiarity with the work of Sun Ra, Joseph Beuys, Rosalind Krauss, Richard Pryor, Hans Haacke, Carl Andre and interest in spelunking the death of identity a plus. I’m looking for an audience with a good attention span that is willing to stay with me through the good and the bad. I enjoy creating videos, producing sculptures, and making photographs. My interest are costuming, Sam Greenlee novels, Godard films and masturbation. Ability to hold conversation using only rap lyrics, and a sense of humor a must.
— Rashid Johnson
Titled after a book of poems by LeRoi Jones (later Amiri Baraka), the exhibition reflects Johnson’s multifaceted engagement with what David Hammons termed “cultural abstraction.” Using sculpture and tightly cropped photographs, the artist explores the semiotic systems and iconography of a mythic secret society of African-American intelligentsia within a metaphysical landscape removed from time and history.
Functioning as investigative reporter and archivist as well as artist, Johnson deploys materials including steel, shea butter, black soap, wax, mirrors, wood, together with found objects to form an installation that effortlessly shifts between media, emphasizing the poetic cadence of his work. Mysticism and nostalgia create interplay among smoke-shrouded portraits, symbolic substances, and menacing forms.
Rashid Johnson studied at Columbia College, Chicago (1996-2000) and the School at the Art Institute of Chicago (2004-2005). His exhibitions include Freestyle, curated by Thelma Golden (2001, The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY); A Perfect Union…More or Less, curated by Hamza Walker (2004, Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, IL); and recently, Color Line, curated by Odili Donald Odita (2007, Jack Shainman Gallery, NY). Upcoming exhibitions include the Magdeburger Kunstmuseum, Magdeburg, Germany (2008, solo) and the Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati (2008). He lives and works in New York.