Rashid Johnson (b. 1977, Chicago) is recognized as one of the major voices of his generation, an artist who composes searing meditations on race and class while establishing an organic formal vocabulary that fuses a variety of sculptural and painterly traditions. Though he employs materials drawn from specific autobiographical contexts––including those related to African American intellectual and imaginative life––and though his practice had its beginnings in photography and conceptual art, Johnson is equally interested in testing the ability of abstract visual languages to communicate across cultural boundaries. The visceral experience of art, on formal terms, is therefore considered inseparable from the social matrix that gives rise to it. Johnson’s work is predicated upon moving freely between these two modes. The breadth and generosity of his vision has resulted in a wide range of two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects, installations, videos, and performances.
Rashid Johnson has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto (2019), Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2019), and the Aspen Art Museum (2019). Other recent solo exhibitions include shows at Lismore Castle Arts, Lismore, Ireland (2018); Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City (2017, traveled to Milwaukee Art Museum); McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas (2017); Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2016); Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bergamo, Italy (2016); Drawing Center, New York (2015); and Kunsthalle Winterthur, Switzerland (2014). Johnson’s work is in the permanent collections of many public institutions, including the Art Institute of Chicago; Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Johnson directed the 2019 feature film Native Son, an adaptation of the 1940 novel by Richard Wright. He lives and works in New York.