Wednesday, February 19, 2014

DENVER: Rashid Johnson

Rashid Johnson, Phoenix Bird (detail), 2013. Burned red oak flooring, black soap, wax and spray enamel. 96 1/2 x 72 1/2 x 3/10 in. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth, New York via
New Growth
FEBRUARY 21–JUNE 15, 2014

1485 Delgany Street
Denver, CO

From MCA Denver web site:

In Rashid Johnson: New Growth, the artist works with personally and historically loaded material such as shea butter and black soap, combining it with LP covers and books in complex paintings, sculptures and installations. His works challenge conventional representations of collective identity. Beginning with the question, “What would happen if Sun Ra, George Washington Carver and Robert Smithson started a community together in the desert?” New Growth's playful scrutiny intertwines cosmology and escapism in an attempt to blur the lines separating past, present and future.

The physical manipulation of biomaterial into an abstract, aestheticized form is a concept that runs through all of the works in the exhibition. Johnson references the ongoing transformation of both bodies and landscapes, and the identities embedded within them. New Growth features newly commissioned works including the video Samuel in Space and the Shea Butter Irrigation System. Works in wax, burned wood, tile and mirror, as well as brass chairs, wood chairs and rugs round out the exhibition.

Rashid Johnson was born in 1977 in Chicago. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Johnson was recently the subject of the solo exhibition Rashid Johnson: Message to Our Folks at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, an exhibition that traveled to the Miami Art Museum, the Kemper Art Museum and the High Museum of Art. His work has been included in group exhibitions such as Shanghai Biennale, REACTIVATION, Shanghai, China, 2012; Venice Biennale, ILLUMINations, Venice, Italy, 2011; For the Love of the Game: Race and Sports, The Amistad Center for Art & Culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, 2007; and Freestyle, The Studio Museum, 2001. Johnson was the recipient of the 2012 David C. Driskell Prize.

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