• Rashid Johnson, Souls of Black Folk, 2010, black soap, wax, books, vinyl, brass, shea butter, plants, space rocks, mirrors, gold paint, stained wood, 9' 6“ x 10' 4 3/4” x 2' 3/8".

    “Rashid Johnson: Message to Our Folks”

    Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA Chicago)
    220 East Chicago Avenue
    April 14–August 5, 2012

    Curated by Julie Rodrigues Widholm

    A homecoming for the young Chicago-born artist, Rashid Johnson’s first major museum survey comprises approximately forty works from the past decade. Suggesting new connections between populism, modernism, and the occult, the exhibition includes self- and community portraits made using early photographic printing technologies; shrinelike installations of plants, gilded rocks, shea butter, and album covers; as well as recent large-scale paintings and newly commissioned floor works that build on the artist’s facility with abstraction. The show’s title—borrowed from the 1969 avant-garde jazz record by the Art Ensemble of Chicago—reflects the artist’s conceptual and stylistic interests in black radical intellectual history and social organizations, highlighting the tension between cultural vanguardism and democratization. These themes will be further developed in the catalogue, which includes contributions by Widholm, pop intellectual Touré, and art historian Ian Bourland.

  • Mella Jaarsma, I Eat You Eat Me, 2001–. Performance view, Jakarta, Indonesia, 2002.

    “Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art”

    Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago
    5550 South Greenwood Avenue
    February 16–June 10, 2012

    Curated by Stephanie Smith

    In the 1960s and ’70s, Daniel Spoerri, George Maciunas, Gordon Matta-Clark, and others deployed gastronomic modes of collectivism to dismantle the rarefied experience of art. With the prompt of Rirkrit Tiravanija’s activities since the 1990s and the rise of participation as the ur-form of art experience, these earlier experiments are being historicized anew. “Feast”—a chronological account of this approach from the 1930s on, comprising artworks, documentary materials, and newly commissioned performances by nearly thirty intergenerational artists—will no doubt raise the timely question of whether the contemporary, institutionalized staging of these food projects can preserve their radicality in an altered landscape of temporality and human exchange. The catalogue will feature contributions by Smith and pioneers in chronicling this experiential mode of artistic practice, including Charles Esche and Hannah Higgins.