Rashid Johnson: Message to Our Folks accompanies New York-based artist Rashid Johnson's first major solo museum exhibition. A preeminent artist of the post-media age, Johnson explores the complexities and contradictions of black identity in a practice rooted in his individual experience as a black man in the United States. Incorporating commonplace objects from his childhood in a process he describes as "hijacking the domestic," the artist transforms commonplace 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 subjects.
Catalogue essayists include MCA Pamela Alper Associate Curator Julie Rodrigues Widholm, novelist and critic Touré, and art historian Ian Bourland. The book also features an excerpt from Paul Beatty's trenchant and comic coming-of-age novel The White Boy Shuffle (1996).
Rashid Johnson: Message to Our Folks is the first book in the series MCA Monographs, published by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Each volume will accompany a solo exhibition at the MCA of work by a rising artist who has gained international notice for significant contributions to contemporary art. The focus of the series is on bringing this work to wider public attention in the focused context of the monograph, adding depth and dimension to the exhibitions. MCA Monographs will offer an ongoing visual record of today's freshest and most influential work, in all its far-ranging variety, in conjunction with thought-provoking essays by leading art historians and critics. These books will enjoy long lives of their own after the exhibitions they accompany close, enhancing our understanding of the exciting talents that define art today and providing these artists with the broader exposure they deserve.
Hardcover with dust jacket, 104 pages, 8" x 10," MCA Chicago, 2012. Curated by Julie Rodrigues Widholm, the exhibition was presented at the MCA April 14-August 5, 2012. Learn more about the exhibition.