Chicago native Rashid Johnson‘s work is made from everyday objects and explores his own life story as well as larger issues of black identity.  This April, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, presents Johnson’s first major museum solo exhibition.  MCA Pamela Alper Associate Curator Julie Rodrigues Widholm curated the exhibition in close collaboration with the artist.  The exhibition is a survey of the past 10 years of the artist’s work.  Additionally, a new MCA commission will be shown for the first time.

Johnson transforms materials such as wood, mirrors, tiles, Shea butter, Persian rugs, CB radios, and plants into conceptually loaded and visually compelling sculptures.  The New York-based artist describes himself as a middle-class black kid growing up in the Chicago-area, interested in graffiti, theater and photography.  His work, he said, often times is autobiographical.

“It’s an introduction to people of a different black experience,” Johnson said of his work.

Within the last year, Johnson has been included in the prestigious International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, was named a 2012 nominee for the Guggenheim Museum’s Hugo Boss Prize and won the High Museum’s David C. Driskell prize that honors African-American art and scholarship.

The exhibition, Rashid Johnson:  Message to Our Folks, is currently in Chicago from April 14 – August 5.  It will travel to the Miami Art Museum, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Kemper Art Museum in St. Louis.  Click here to check out the video of Johnson in his “New York Close Up.”