Rashid Johnson: Anxious Audience

21 September 2019 - 10 May 2020

The Power Plant, Toronto.


Anxious Audience, Rashid Johnson's first solo exhibition in Canada, opens at The Power Plant, Toronto on September 21, 2019 and will remain on view through May 10, 2020. The exhibition, featuring a new site-specific commission, is curated by Lauren Barnes.

"Rashid Johnson has attained international prominence for work harnessing the rich symbolism and histories of varied materials. He is renowned for minimalist black grid constructions that serve as carriers for materials including plants, shea butter, and other objects that reference collective aspects of African­American intellectual history and cultural identity.

Since 2015, his output has encompassed representational works entitled Anxious Audiences. For The Power Plant, Johnson has developed an ambitious new work in this series, enveloping visitors amongst an accumulation of portraits incised in West African black soap and wax on white tile panels. Reflecting a sense of collective unease, this crowd of faces emerges through a process of 'drawing through erasure' into the viscous black surfaces." — The Power Plant

Untitled Microphone Sculpture, 2018, bronze panel, ceramic tile, mirror tile, animal skin, books, shea butter, ceramic, plant, oil stick, black soap, and wax, 72 x 96 x 6 1/8 inches (182.9 x 243.8 x 15.6 cm), Photography: Martin Parsekian

Rashid Johnson (b. 1977, in Chicago, Illinois) is based in New York City. Johnson is among an influential cadre of contemporary American artists whose work employs a wide range of media to explore themes of art history, individual and shared cultural identities, personal narratives, literature, philosophy, materiality, and critical history. His work is known for its narrative embedding of a pointed range of everyday materials and objects, often associated with his childhood and frequently referencing collective aspects of African American intellectual history and cultural identity. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘The Rainbow Sign’, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2018), 'Rashid Johnson. Hail We Now Sing Joy', Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI (2017), 'Rashid Johnson. Hail We Now Sing Joy', Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO (2017), 'Rashid Johnson. Within Our Gates', Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia (2016) and 'Fly Away', Hauser & Wirth, New York, NY (2016).


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