Van Dyke Brown print on paper, hand signed. These are all unique prints as they involved hand brushed on ink. I have seen three of them all with slight variations mostly in the margins. This one is not numbered.
30 h × 22½ w in (35X30 with frame)
Rashid Johnson (born 1977) is an American artist who produces conceptual post-black art. Johnson first received critical attention when examples of his work were included in the exhibition "Freestyle," curated by Thelma Golden at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2001—when he was 24. He has studied at Columbia College Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been exhibited around the world and he is held in collections of many of the world's leading art museums.
In addition to photography, sculpture and painting which is where Johnson began, he presents audio (mostly music), video and sculpture art. Johnson is known for both his unusual artistic productions and for his process. He is also known for combining various science with black history so that his materials, which are formally independent, are augmented by their relation to black history. He was a 2012 Hugo Boss Prize finalist.
Johnson was born in Illinois to an academic and scholar mother, Dr. Cheryl Johnson-Odim, and a former Vietnam-war veteran father, Jimmy Johnson, who was an artist but worked in electronics. His parents divorced when he was 2 years old. His mother remarried a man of Nigerian descent. Johnson said that growing up his family was based in afrocentrism and that his family celebrated Kwanzaa.
Johnson was raised in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, as well as Evanston, Illinois. A photography major, he earned a 2000 Bachelor of Fine Arts from Columbia College Chicago and a 2005 Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. While at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, one of his mentors was Gregg Bordowitz.
After obtaining his Master's degree, he moved to the Lower East Side in New York City, where he taught at the Pratt Institute. Although he is generally referred to as a photographer and sometimes referred to as a sculptor, in certain contexts, he has been referred to as an artist-magician.
Johnson followed a generation of black artists who focused on the "black experience" and he grew up in a generation that was influenced by hip hop and Black Entertainment Television.
His work has been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Detroit Institute of Arts; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Corcoran Museum of Art, Washington, DC; the Institute of Contemporary Photography, New York; the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. His art is in the collections of most of these museums, and he is represented by art dealers in Milan, Naples, New York City and Chicago. By 2000, his work was held by the Studio Museum in Harlem, and by 2001 he had two photographs in the collection at the Art Institute of Chicago.
As a college junior, he opened his first show at the Schneider Gallery. By 2000, he had earned a reputation for his unique photo-printing process and his medium and large scale works were priced at up to US$3,000. In 2000, some of his early black-and-white photography work was described as "spectacularly rich" by The New York Times; the Chicago Sun-Times referred to his 2000 collection of portraits of homeless men "stunning", and he was noted for a series of large-scale photos of feet that serve as his interpretation of human migration in 2001. Then, he exhibited in the notable 2001 Freestyle show, a show that is credited with having launched Johnson's career. The curator of the show, Thelma Golden, is credited with coining the term post-black art in relation to that exhibit, although some suggest the term is attributable to the 1995 book The End of Blackness by Debra Dickerson, who is a favorite of Johnson. The term post-black now refers to art where race and racism are prominent, but where the importance of the interaction of the two is diminished.
Johnson's most controversial exhibition was entitled Chickenbones and Watermelon Seeds: The African American Experience as Abstract Art. The subject matter was a series of stereotypical African-American food culture items such as watermelon seeds, black-eyed peas, chicken bones, and cotton seeds placed directly onto photographic paper and exposed to light using an iron-reactive process.
In 2002, he exhibited at the Sunrise Museum in Charleston, West Virginia. The exhibit, entitled Manumission Papers, was named for the papers that freed slaves were required to keep to prove their freedom. In 2002 he exhibited his homeless men in the Diggs Gallery of Winston-Salem State University. The exhibit was entitled Seeing in the Dark and used partially illuminated subjects against deep black backgrounds. He also exhibited his homeless men work, including George (1999), in Atlanta, Georgia as part of the National Black Arts Festival at City Gallery East in July and August 2002. George was part of the Corcoran Gallery of Art November 2004 – January 2005 Common Ground: Discovering Community in 150 Years of Art, Selections From the Collection of Julia J. Norrell exhibition. George and the Common Ground exhibition appeared in several other places including the North Carolina Museum of Art in 2006.
He took part in the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs artist Open Studio Program rotation in the Chicago Landmark/National Register of Historic Places Page Brothers Building during the summer of 2003 with a three-week exhibition. He explored the "historical and contemporary nature of photography". At that time, he was represented by George N'Namdi, who owned G.R. N'Namdi, the oldest African-American-owned, exhibiting commercial gallery in the country.
In conjunction with the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, Rashid Johnson exhibited The Evolution of the Negro Political Costume in December 2004. He presented replicas of three outfits worn by African-American politicians. He included a late 1960s dashiki worn by Jesse Jackson, a 1980s running suit worn by Al Sharpton in the '80s and a business suit worn by then United States Senator-elect Barack Obama. The presentation, which invited inspection, was as likely to evoke humorous response to the Jackson dashika as well as critical commentary about the presentation of political attire.
Johnson explored the theme of escapism at the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art in a show entitled The Production of Escapism: A Solo Project by Rashid Johnson. He addressed distraction and relief from reality through art and fantasy. Johnson used photos, video and site-specific installation to study escapist tendencies through often with a sense of humor that bordered on the absurd.
In 2006, Rashid Johnson's first project in Germany together with Michael Langlois and Robert Davis took place at Markus Winter Gallery, Berlin.
In Dark Matters, a 2007 exhibition at the James Harris Gallery in Seattle, Washington, Johnson is said to mimic Édouard Manet's Olympia in a work called White Girls and Sam Gilliam and Richard Tuttle in his skyspace backdrops that are perceived as sweeping perfection.
Johnson's work stood out from the 200-piece 30 Americans at the Rubell Family Collection to be singularly mentioned in The Miami Herald. His work was described as a fusion of "portraits, sculptures and photography bathed in the color black...[that] represent a fictional secret society of African-American intellectuals". Johnson described his work as a demonstration of the complexity of the black experience.
In November 2011, he was named as one of six finalists for the Hugo Boss Prize. In April 2012, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, presented Johnson's first major museum solo exhibition. MCA Pamela Alper Associate Curator Julie Rodrigues Widholm curated the exhibition in close collaboration with the artist. The exhibition was a survey of the previous ten years of the artist's work. Additionally, a new MCA commission was to be shown for the first time.
According to the culture publication Flavorpill, he challenges his viewers with photography and sculpture that present the creation and dissemination of norms and expectations. Johnson has garnered national attention for both his unusual subject matter and for his process. In addition to portrait photography, Johnson is known for his use of a 19th-century process that uses Van Dyke brown, a transparent organic pigment, and exposure to sunlight. He achieves a painterly feel with his prints with the application of pigment using broad brush strokes. He uses a 8-by-10-inch (20 by 25 cm) Deardorff, which forces him to interact with his subjects.
Johnson is married to artist Sheree Hovsepian.
Selected solo exhibitions
2002: "12x12: New Artist/New Work," Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
2005: "The Production of Escapism," Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, Indianapolis, IN
2008: "Sharpening My Oyster Knife," Kunstmuseum Magdeberg, Germany
2009: "Other Aspects," David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles
2009: "The Dead Lecturer: Laboratory, Dojo, and Performance Space," Power House Memphis, TN
2009: "Smoke and Mirrors," Sculpture Centre, Long Island City, NY
2012: "A Message to Our Folks," Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
2012: "Rumble," Hauser & Wirth, New York, NY
2013: "New Growth," Ballroom Marfa, TX
2015: "Smile," Hauser & Wirth (South Gallery), London (January 28 – March 7, 2015)
2017: "Rashid Johnson: Hail We Now Sing Joy," Kemper Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO
Select group exhibitions
2000: "A Decade of Acquisitions," Detroit MI
2001: "Freestyle," Studio Museum in Harlem, New York NY
2004: "Inside Out: Portrait Photographs from the Permanent Collection," New York NY
2005: "International Biennale of Contemporary Art 2005," Prague, Czech Republic
2006: "A noir, E blanc, I rouge, U vert, O bleu: colors," Magdeburg, Germany
2008: "30 Americans," Rubell Family Collection, Miami FL
2009: "Beg, Borrow and Steal" Rubell Family Collection, Miami FL
2010: "Selected Works from the MCA Foundation; Focus on UBS 12x12," Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago IL
2010: "From Then to Now: Masterworks of Contemporary African American Art," MOCA, Cleveland OH represented many of the most important artists of our time in a range of media including works on paper, painting, sculpture, and installation art. The exhibition began with signature works by such pioneering artists of the 1970s and 1980s as Romare Bearden, Alma Thomas, and Sam Gilliam, and continued up to the present with prime examples of works by artists such as Leonardo Drew, Alison Saar, Willie Cole, Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems, and Kehinde Wiley. Other artists included in this exhibition were, Dawoud Bey, Chakaia Booker, Mark Howard, Richard Hunt, Rashid Johnson, Al Loving, Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, Bradley McCallum, Jacqueline Terry, John Moore, Adam Pendleton, Faith Ringgold, and Kara Walker.
2011: "ILLUMInations" 54th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
2011: "American Exuberance," Rubell Family Collection, Miami FL