Fly Away, named for the perennially reinterpreted gospel “I’ll Fly Away,” is a collection of paintings and sculptures by Rashid Johnson at New York’s Hauser & Wirth gallery. Johnson’s work has been referred to as “post-black,” and often deals with the African-American experience in a range of media, from photographs to music. Following the theme of last year’s Rashid Johnson: Anxious Men at the Drawing Center, the artist uses black soap and wax as materials in Fly Away. Inhabiting one room of the exhibition is “Within Our Gates,” a collection of black metal shelving populated by objects like live plants, books, and shea butter.
Rashid Johnson, Untitled Anxious Audience, 2016. White ceramic tile, black soap, wax. 239.4 x 402.6 x 6.4 cm / 94 1/4 x 158 1/2 x 2 1/2 in. (© The artist, Courtesy Hauser & Wirth)
According to Hauser & Wirth, the enclosed objects are signifiers inspired by the African diaspora. The room also contains an upright piano that will be played in drop-in performances by Antoine “Audio BLK” Baldwin, a New York–based piano player and music producer. Baldwin will play original jazz compositions during the first week of the exhibition, with periodical unannounced visits afterward. Johnson’s work will also be featured in an exhibition at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri, early next year.
Rashid Johnson: Fly Away
Hauser & Wirth
511 West 18th Street
September 8–October 22, 2016