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Rashid Johnson at Miami Art Museum

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Rashid Johnson Miami Art Museum

Rashid Johnson at Miami Art Museum

Earlier today I attended the press preview for the Rashid Johnson show, “Message to Our Folks” that will open tomorrow at the Miami Art Museum.  I’ll be writing some articles about this show and will delve more deeply into Johnson’s art over the next week.  However, this being my blog, where I can allow some of my personality to shine through in my writing, let me just say this, “Whoa.  OK. Wow.”  Not only is Johnson gorgeous – and I mean a really beautiful and handsome man -but he was witty and entertaining.  This is a plus for art writers who are often forced to “pull teeth” to get reticent or inherently shy artists to explain their work to us, so we can explain it to our readers.

When Johnson shared that he was, like me, enamored with Woody Allen movies, I was immediately hooked.  I could tell you he’d had me at Woody, but he’d had me when I saw a mixed media sculpture that featured three duplicates of Al Green’s “Greatest Hits.”  He’d had me at Al, actually.  He was telling me how he’d been living in Manhattan before he moved to Brooklyn and he kept expecting to hear the Gershwin Rhapsody from the beginning of Allen’s film Manhattan. Then he was joking about artists and their “projects” and how they’re always working on a some kind of weird project.  This resonated for me because I remembered when I was at Purchase College, everyone was always talking about some great project they were doing. Then after we graduated “working on this great project” became code for “unemployed.”

MAM has had some great artists recently.  Jose Bedia was incredibly engaging in his style of presenting his work to we writers.  He speaks about his art with great passion and gusto, using big sweeping hand gestures and he has a very animated and warm persona.  I was fascinated by Rivane Neuenschwander’s intelligence and charmed by her humble manner and loveliness.  Johnson had passion and humility, too, and he was funny. So, it just made for an engaging tour.

This morning, I also got to meet two Miami art and culture writers whose work I’ve been admiring for a while: Carlos Suarez de Jesus, who primarily writes for the Miami New Times and he’s also a working artist doing interesting Afro-Cuban inspired sculpture/installations, and Anne Tschida who also writes for the Times, The Miami Herald and others.  They’re the two best art writers in Miami, so it was nice to finally put faces to their names.

And, as an additional quick thrill I finally got to meet Frederic Snitzer, a gallerist here in Miami that I have a great deal of admiration for because he represents some of the best Miami artists, including this young talented photographer Zach Balber, who I just think, for lack of finding a better word because I’m kinda tired, is great.  I saw Snitzer speak at Locust Projects a few years ago and wrote about it, but hadn’t met him.

Definitely catch the Rashid Johnson show if you can, but note that it’s only got a short 2-month run.  It’ll close on November 4, 2012.

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