San Antonio, TX
New York-based Rashid Johnson explores complex cultural identities and issues relevant to being African American in the present day. The artist’s recent ventures in film make use of the medium’s ability to express meaning through movement. The New Black Yoga, 2011, shows five young black men on a lakeshore performing movements drawn from yoga, tai chi, martial arts, and modern dance in a meditation on masculinity, race, mysticism, and communication through the body in movement. Samuel in Space, commissioned by Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, Texas, in 2013, continues the trajectory started in The New Black Yoga as a singular, totemic black male dancer observes the vast Southwestern landscape before him and dances through the desert at sunrise. In both works, the black male body is a site of reflection on histories past and progression towards rejuvenation and new meaning in the future.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether or not you go, Rashid Johnson: Message to Our Folks is a comprehensive documentation of New York-based artist Rashid Johnson's work to date. Johnson (born 1977) explores the complexities and contradictions of black identity in the United States, incorporating commonplace objects from his childhood in a process he describes as "hijacking the domestic," and transforming materials such as wood, mirrors, tiles, rugs, CB radios, shea butter and plants into conceptually loaded and visually compelling works that shatter assumptions about the homogeneity of black subjecthood. Published in the new MCA Monographs series, Message to Our Folks accompanied the artist's first major solo museum exhibition and features essays by curator Julie Rodrigues Widholm, novelist and critic Touré and art historian Ian Bourland and an excerpt from Paul Beatty's trenchant and comic coming-of-age novel, The White Boy Shuffle.