Rashid Johnson U.S.A., b. 1977
"I wanted my art to deal with very formal concerns and to deal with very material concerns, and to deal with antecedents and art history, which for me go very far beyond just the influence of African-American artists" - Rashid Johnson
Rashid Johnson is an African-American Conceptual artist often hailed as a standard bearer for post-black art. Working in sculpture and photography, the artist employs vernacular yet culturally loaded objects, including shea butter, funk albums, and space rocks. "When I was younger, I would see shea butter being sold on the street, and I was interested in how people were still coating themselves in the theater of Africanism," Johnson said. "You see that in dashikis and hairstyles and music."
Born in 1977 in Chicago, IL, Johnson grew up in an Afrocentric family which influenced many of his ideas about identity. After earning a BFA from Columbia College Chicago in 2000, he went on to receive an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Johnson first rose to prominence at the age of 21, when he participated in the seminal group exhibition "Freestyle" at the Studio Museum in Harlem.
He has since been the subject of solo exhibitions at Hauser & Wirth in New York and the Kemper Art Museum in St. Louis. Today the artist's works can be found among the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Johnson currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.