Monday, June 3, 2013

EVENT: Rashid Johnson In Conversation

UPDATE: Sam Gilliam will not attend this event as originally planned. Conversation will take place between Rashid Johnson and curator Laura Hoptman.


Moderated by Laura Hoptman, Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, MoMA

Thursday, June 27, 2013
7:00 PM Program | 8:15 PM Reception
Doors open at 6:30 PM

The Celeste Bartos Theater (Theater 3)
The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building
4 West 54 Street
New York, NY

General Public Tickets ($35) can be purchased at The Museum Information and Film Desks, online at, or through The Friends Of Education office. All tickets will be held at the door.

Presented by The Friends of Education of The Museum of Modern Art, Conversations: Among Friends explores works of art as reflections of their political and social contexts. The evening features a conversation between artists Sam Gilliam and Rashid Johnson, moderated by Laura Hoptman, a curator in MoMA’s Department of Painting and Sculpture. The program will explore Gilliam and Johnson’s work—and how it is shaped by, responds to, and reflects the artistic, historical, political, and social context of its making. Following the program, guests are invited to continue the conversation and meet the participants at an intimate reception catered by Fantasy Fare in the Cullman Mezzanine.

Rashid Johnson was born in 1977 in Chicago, IL, and studied at Columbia College Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2001, Johnson's work was included in Freestyle, an exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem curated by Thelma Golden. The show featured 28 up-and-coming artists whose work Golden considered to be “post-black,” a term defined by Golden as “characterized by artists who were adamant about not being labeled as 'black' artists, though their work was steeped, in fact deeply interested, in redefining complex notions of blackness.” Johnson, who was 24 years old at the time and the youngest artist in the exhibition, presented photographs from his Seeing in the Dark series of portraits of homeless African American men in Chicago. The work drew critical attention, and since then, his practice has become central to the “post-black” movement. Johnson's mixed-media work incorporates a wide range of everyday materials and objects, including wax, wood, steel, brass, shea butter, ceramic tile, books, records, VHS tapes, live plants, and CB radios. With shamanistic inspiration from both African American history and art history, many of Johnson's more recent works employ these materials in a way that suggests an indefinite form of mysticism and a role as devotional objects. Johnson's work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Walker Art Center, and in ILLUMInations, the 54th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, among others. In 2009, he had a solo show at SculptureCenter in New York. In 2012 Johnson enjoyed his first major solo museum exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, had first solo show in the U.K. at the South London Gallery, and won the David C. Driskell Prize. His current solo exhibitions include New Growth at the Ballroom Marfa, TX; and his upcoming shows include Rashid Johnson: Message to Our Folks at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, and the Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis, MO. Johnson currently lives and works in New York, NY.

Laura Hoptman is a curator of contemporary art in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, where she is currently organizing a career retrospective of the German sculptor Isa Genzken, and an exhibition on contemporary painting. Since joining the Museum she has organized Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language, a group exhibition of contemporary art dealing with language; Artist’s Choice: Trisha Donnelly; and, with Peter Eleey, a mid-career survey of the work of the Los Angeles painter Henry Taylor at MoMA/PS 1. Previously, Hoptman was senior curator at the New Museum where she organized Unmonumental: The Object in the 21st Century, The Generational: Younger Than Jesus, and monographic exhibitions on Tomma Abts, Elizabeth Peyton, Brion Gysin, and George Condo. In 2004/2005 she was the director of the 54th Carnegie International, and, as a drawings curator at MoMA from 1996 to 2002, she curated the first U.S. museum exhibitions of Rirkrit Tiravanija, Maurizio Cattelan, John Currin, and Luc Tuymans among others. In 1997, she was the co-curator of Love Forever: Yayoi Kusama, a show that reintroduced Kusama to international audiences, and in 2002, organized Drawing Now: Eight Propositions, a landmark exhibition of contemporary figurative drawing.

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