Storm King Art Center Presents Site-Specific Installation of Rashid Johnson's 'The Crisis', Opening April 7

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  • April 05, 2021

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Rashid Johnson, The Crisis (2019). Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Stephanie Powell, courtesy of Storm King Art Center.

Storm King Art Center will present a site-specific installation of Rashid Johnson’s 2019 sculptural work The Crisis, on view from April 7 to November 8, 2021.
The installation will mark the first US presentation of the artwork, which the artist has adapted to respond directly to Storm King’s native landscape.
Rashid Johnson (b. 1977) draws inspiration from combining architectural and organic elements, intending for The Crisis to capture the tension of the moment in which nature has just begun to reclaim a human-made structure. Originally planned to be shown at Storm King in 2020, a year marked by an unprecedented global pandemic and sociopolitical unrest, The Crisis has taken on a striking new relevance in this time of reflection.
Nora Lawrence, Storm King Senior Curator, commented, “What I love most about working at Storm King is being able to present art in a way no other place can. I am looking forward to watching The Crisis change as the grasses grow up and into it and the seasons shift. In collaboration with Rashid, we were able to place The Crisis in a central location on-site where visitors can view it both from above and from a closer vantage point. These various physical approaches invite the multiplicity of interpretations that Rashid intends for this work and allow space for visitors to contemplate the striking new relevance that The Crisis has taken on in today’s moment.”
The title The Crisis is ambiguous, taking on different meaning based on the context in which the work is viewed, and the perspective of the viewer who witnesses it. The Crisis can speak to something deeply personal as well as a collective event and can invoke both historical and ongoing crises.
The worka sixteen-foot-tall, yellow pyramidal steel structure—is set within a field of native grasses, which Storm King has worked to reintroduce to its landscape and cultivate over the last 25 years. Over the course of the presentation, these grasses will grow up within and around the geometric frame, integrating it into the very fabric of Storm King. The structure’s shelves are populated with a range of smaller objects including blocks of shea butter, sculpted fiberglass busts, and hand-crafted, painted ceramic vessels planted with natural vegetation from the surrounding landscape. Johnson chose the color yellow for The Crisis to evoke multiple meanings. While the bright yellow frame and sculpted busts within it send out a warning, they are also the color of shea butter, a West African product known for its healing properties, which frequently occurs within Johnson’s practice. The Crisis at once calls upon us to beware and also points to the regeneration that often follows trauma. 
Johnson said: “The title The Crisis talks about the time we’re living in. When I was making this work in 2019, there was so much talk about a ‘crisis at the border’—but now, in 2021, there is even more at stake. The world has endured a year of struggle defined by the global pandemic, compounded by ongoing social unrest. My presentation at Storm King prompts us to reflect on how we move through our own daily lives as the world around us continues in crisis.”
In the fall of 2021, The Crisis will be activated and accompanied by the performance of Johnson’s 2019 ballet, The Hikers, conceived in partnership with choreographer Claudia Schreier. Johnson and Schreier will adapt The Hikers specifically for Storm King’s vast setting. Further details and performance dates will be announced in the coming months.
The Crisis (2019) is on loan to Storm King for the 2021 season from the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

Tags: sculpture

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