“What I really hoped to do with my work,” Rashid Johnson has said, “was to at least be able to define my relationship to race.” His method? Dissecting cultural notions of Blackness. Influenced by his reading of historical and philosophical texts, Johnson has stormed the art scene with startling multimedia work. His 2019 sculpture The Crisis, titled after a 1967 study “The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual,” is now presented for the first time in America. Sixteen feet tall, it is a structure of yellow steel grids—skeletal and cubistic—that holds an array of potted plants within. Growth imprisoned, freedom limited, the metaphor is powerful. A dance by Johnson called The Hikers will occasionally be performed near the sculpture. —E.C.
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