Press RoomPhoenix Art Museum names New York-based artist Rashid Johnson as 2022 Lenhardt Lecture speaker
Phoenix Art Museum names New York-based artist Rashid Johnson as 2022 Lenhardt Lecture speaker
Oct, 06, 2022
Special Events and ProgramsCollectionsModern and Contemporary Art
Phoenix Art Museum names New York-based artist Rashid Johnson as 2022 Lenhardt Lecture speaker
Contemporary artist will present an in-person lecture on November 2; newly acquired painting by Johnson on view this fall at PhxArt
PHOENIX (October 6, 2022) –On November 2, 2022, Phoenix Art Museum will present critically acclaimed artist Rashid Johnson as the speaker for the Museum’s fall Lenhardt Lecture, a key component of the Dawn and David Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative. Johnson is internationally renowned for his abstract and evocative installations, two- and three-dimensional objects, videos, and performances that explore themes of social history, art history, philosophy, and his own autobiography. The 2022 Lenhardt Lecture featuring the New York-based artist coincides with the recent acquisition of Johnson’s Untitled Anxious Bruise Drawing (2021), which is on view in the Museum’s Katz Wing for Modern Art and is the fourth work acquired by the Museum through the Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative. This year’s Lenhardt Lecture will be presented at 7 pm on November 2 in the Museum’s Whiteman Hall. Tickets are complimentary and can be reserved here.
“Phoenix Art Museum and Dawn and David Lenhardt share a passion for not only expanding representation in the museum’s contemporary art collection but also impacting our community through engagement with artists,” said Jeremy Mikolajczak, the Sybil Harrington Director and CEO of Phoenix Art Museum. “We are thrilled to welcome internationally acclaimed artist Rashid Johnson as the speaker for the Museum’s fall Lenhardt Lecture, made possible through the Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative. Rashid’s influential and layered multi-disciplinary works explore themes of personal and collective history, reinforce the importance of representation, and explore the resilience and power within African-American communities and histories.”
Born in Chicago and now based in New York, Rashid Johnson studied photography at the Art Institute of Chicago, but his practice has since expanded to embrace sculpture, painting, drawing, filmmaking, and installation. Through spontaneous and unmediated mark-making, his work addresses the existential struggles of his own life as well as life itself, resulting in compositions that are both autobiographical and metaphorical.
“Rashid Johnson is one of the brightest creative minds of his generation,” said Gilbert Vicario, the Museum’s curator of modern and contemporary art. “He has a deep knowledge of history, which he deploys in conceptually thought-provoking ways, bringing a rare combination of innovative aesthetics and deep historical contemplation to issues of identity and self-awareness.”
Solo exhibitions of Johnson’s work have been presented nationally and internationally, including at Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; Milwaukee Art Museum; Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow; and Drawing Center, New York. His first feature-length film, an adaptation of Richard Wright’s Native Son, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was released in 2019 on HBO. Johnson’s work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and now Phoenix Art Museum.
“Dawn and I are very pleased to welcome Rashid Johnson as the speaker for this November’s Lenhardt Lecture,” said David Lenhardt, vice chair of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. “Johnson’s visceral works blend various media and call upon symbolism and his personal experiences to explore racial and social issues. We are excited to bring him to Phoenix to engage with our community through a public lecture and an opportunity to connect with young art students.”
Johnson’s Untitled Anxious Bruise Drawing (2021) is the fourth work acquired into the Museum’s collection with funds from the Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative, which seeks to diversify the contemporary art collection of Phoenix Art Museum through the acquisition of works by artists contributing to discourses on race, gender, and other socially relevant concerns, including those by Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and women artists, among others. The work is part of a series of drawings and paintings titled Bruise, which develops themes presented in Johnson’s Anxious Red series that he created during the pandemic to explore the anxiety, isolation, and loss felt by many due to COVID-19. These Bruise works, including Untitled Anxious Bruise Drawing, use gridded compositions of expressive half-geometric, half-human faces in various shades of blue to conjure the feelings of aftermath, reckoning, and healing that have now taken hold of people from all walks of life, all over the globe. They also draw from the mood and lyrics of the Fats Waller jazz standard “Black and Blue,” which was made popular by Louis Armstrong and is an important motif in Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man. In this way, the painting reflects not just the immediate impact of violent social changes sparked by the pandemic and the intensification of hostilities across political lines, but how current social moments and movements are indicative of ongoing, historical inequities.
About Phoenix Art Museum Since 1959, Phoenix Art Museum has provided millions of guests with access to world-class art and experiences in an effort to ignite imaginations, create meaningful connections, and serve as a brave space for all people who wish to experience the transformative power of art. Located in Phoenix’s Central Corridor, the Museum is a vibrant destination for the visual arts and the largest art museum in the southwestern United States. Each year, more than 300,000 guests engage with critically acclaimed national and international exhibitions and the Museum’s collection of more than 20,000 works of American and Western American, Asian, European, Latin American, modern and contemporary art, and fashion design. The Museum also presents a comprehensive film program, live performances, and educational programs designed for visitors of all ages, along with vibrant photography exhibitions made possible through the Museum’s landmark partnership with the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona. To learn more about Phoenix Art Museum, visit phxart.org, or call 602.257.1880.
About the Dawn and David Lenhardt Lecture and the Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative The Dawn and David Lenhardt Lecture engages Valley audiences with some of the most acclaimed contemporary artists in the world. In 2018, the inaugural lecture presented New-York based artist Jim Hodges, and subsequent lectures have featured artists Shara Hughes, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Arcmanoro Niles, Teresita Fernández, Amalia Mesa-Bains, and Derek Fordjour.
The Lenhardt Lecture is a key component of the Dawn and David Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative. Made possible through the generosity of the Arizona-based Lenhardt family, the Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative was established in 2017 to deepen the Museum’s commitment to contemporary art through various programs, namely the Lenhardt Lectures, which engage Valley audiences with some of the most acclaimed contemporary artists in the world; the Lenhardt Contemporary Art Acquisition Fund, which enables Phoenix Art Museum to collect works by contemporary artists; and the Dawn and David Lenhardt Gallery, designated for the presentation of contemporary art, including works acquired with funds from the Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative, loans from national and local collectors, and a rotating series of artworks from the Lenhardts’ own collection. In 2021, the initiative was expanded to support the diversification of the contemporary art collection of Phoenix Art Museum through the acquisition of works by artists contributing to discourses on race, gender, and other socially relevant concerns, including those by Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and women artists, among others. Since 2017, the Museum has acquired artworks by Shara Hughes, Arcmanoro Niles, Derek Fordjour, and Rashid Johnson with funds from the Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative.
About Rashid Johnson Rashid Johnson (b. 1977, Chicago) is recognized as one of the major voices of his generation. Johnson composes searing meditations on race and class while establishing an organic formal vocabulary that fuses various sculptural and painterly traditions. Though he employs materials drawn from specific autobiographical contexts—including those related to African-American intellectual and imaginative life—and though his practice had its beginnings in photography and conceptual art, Johnson is equally interested in testing the ability of abstract visual languages to communicate across cultural boundaries. The breadth and generosity of his vision has resulted in a wide range of two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects, installations, videos, and performances. Johnson has been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions including Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2019); Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2019); Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City (2017); Milwaukee Art Museum (2017); Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2016); and Drawing Center, New York (2015). His work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and Phoenix Art Museum.