Critics’ Picks

View of “Rindon Johnson: Law of Large Numbers: Our Bodies,” 2021.

View of “Rindon Johnson: Law of Large Numbers: Our Bodies,” 2021.

New York

Rindon Johnson

44-19 Purves Street
March 25–August 2, 2021

Whether lurking in corners or suspended above courtyards, Rindon Johnson’s artwork meets the viewer in unexpected places. Paired with deliciously poetic and stream-of-consciousness titles, his anarchic forms spill across SculptureCenter, suggesting a largeness that cannot be contained. The artist’s solo exhibition here, “Law of Large Numbers: Our Bodies,” luxuriates in our ache for corporeal freedom by throwing two topics into tension: first, the titular law of large numbers, a mathematical theory holding that as an experiment’s sample size grows, its average will inch closer to its expected value; and second, the seminal feminist publication on women’s sexual and reproductive health Our Bodies, Ourselves (1971).

Johnson’s material vocabulary contests algorithmic principles to revel in the malleability of the body. The enormous sculpture Coeval Proposition #1 Tear down so as to make flat with the Ground or The *Trans America Building DISMANTLE EVERYTHING, 2021–, hijacks San Francisco’s famous edifice and monument to capitalism by envisioning a site of infinite possibility for trans people. Mapping his body onto a version of the tower, Johnson has darkened, or “ebonized,” the structure and stripped it of floors, walls, and ceilings. What’s left is an open container that seemingly expands in every direction. Coeval Proposition #2: Last Year’s Atlantic, or You look really good, you look like you pretended like nothing ever happened, or a Weakening, 2021, is a floor-based digital projection that utilizes real-time portrait-animating software to upend the meaning of data. A year’s worth of graphically rendered information about the Atlantic Ocean bleeds into gentle footage of waves rising and falling, weaving a lullaby that blurs evidence into abstraction.

Exploding the idea that any law can determine the bounds of our existence, Johnson embraces the incalculability of our being. His work reminds us that we are as vast and unpredictable as the ocean itself.