RASHID JOHNSON "RUN", 2018
Rashid Johnson (b. 1977) explores elements of cultural identity through a wide range of media, with a focus on African American history.
Many of Johnson's works are poignant meditations on race and class. Johnson is known for using both abstraction and autobiographic elements in his work juxtaposed with aspects of science African American history.
The artist frequently introduces new techniques to his practice, whether at his own printmaking atelier or through frequent collaborations. He also makes his own tools to score, scrape, engrave, and brand his artwork.
Regardless of medium, Rashid Johnson's aesthetic is known for its repeated motifs: such as giant black forms, sometimes aggressive, sometimes gestural, that seem to devour their pictorial plain.
In this work, the artist uses a lithographic pencil to etch the word "RUN" across the surface of the page, going over each letter with a heavy hand. The simple text and intensity of its application create a sense of urgency and unease, prompting a visceral reaction from the viewer.
The ominous messaging (which can be read as both a warning or directive) speaks to the insidious consequences of institutional racism and the collective experience that young Black men encounter as a result.
This particular work is included in numerous museum collections such as the Whitney Museum (NYC) and the Cleveland Museum.
A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, his work can be found in museum collections around the world. In 2011, he was featured in the international pavilion at the Venice Biennale. He is also one of the youngest artists to have works pass the $1 million dollar mark at auction.
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Signed and dated by the artist on verso
From an edition of 35
10"H 12"W (work)
12.5"H 14.5"W (framed)
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