Rashid Johnson: 'The role of art right now is to not avert its eyes'

  • May 30, 2020 16:02

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Rashid Johnson, Untitled Anxious Red Drawings. Offered as a Zoom background for download from Hauser & Wirth.
Rashid Johnson / Hauser & Wirth

Temporarily working out of a Long Island basement, New York City-based artist Rashid Johnson has focused his art practice on self-exploration with the new series "Untitled Anxious Red Drawings," shown in a sold-out online exhibition with Hauser & Wirth. 

This series, he writes for CNN, continues in his "Anxious Men" body of work, to convey "personal and collective anxieties: becoming a father, inequality and racism, and a collective sense of uncertainty in the world." 

Johnson writes: "One of the things that is quite obvious as a result of this pandemic is how it laid bare the inequalities in America. The virus is not 'the great equalizer,' as it's been called; though it can be humbling for some, it is devastating for others. Around the country, the virus has disproportionately affected people of color and those with less economic opportunity. We are seeing a qualifiable type of proof of how despicable inequality is and how it functions. There's a spotlight illuminating the disparity right now, and we should all have a heightened investment in correcting the wrongs...

The role of art right now is to not avert its eyes from the crisis and its effects. It's not a time to be didactic; it's a time to be present, to be part of the world."

Johnson will donate 10% of his proceeds of the sale of works from this exhibition to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization, matching Hauser & Wirth’s commitment.

Read more at CNN


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