Rashid Johnson (American, b.1977) is a sculptor and photographer who works in a wide range of everyday materials, including wax, wood, steel, brass, shea butter, ceramic tile, and such found objects as books, records, VHS tapes, live plants, and CB radios. He finds inspiration in the work of a diverse group of visual artists, actors, musicians, writers, activists, and philosophers, including Carl Andre , Joseph Beuys, Eldrige Cleaver, Bruce Conner, Joseph Cornell, David Hammons, Kasimir Malevich, Parliament Funkadelic, and Sun Ra. Johnson’s work engages questions of personal, racial, and cultural identity, producing a unique synthesis of historical and material references that are grounded in African American and art history while expanding into questions of mysticism and cosmology.
Johnson was included in the landmark 2001 exhibition Freestyle at the Studio Museum in Harlem, an exhibition of 28 important young African American artists curated by Thelma Golden. The following year, he had his first solo museum exhibition, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Since that time, he has had solo shows at SculptureCenter, New York; the Memphis PowerHouse; and the Kunstmuseum Magdeburg, Germany. 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 D.C.; the Institute of Contemporary Photography, New York; the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; the Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut; the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago; and the Rubell Family Collection, Miami, among others.