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Rashid Johnson

Michaela Unterdoerfer

72 pages
Distanz Verlag Gmbh Llc
A Minimalist sculpture becomes a greenhouse. The High Line is a 1.45mile stretch of disused elevated freight tracks on Manhattan’s West Side that was converted into a park between 2006 and 2014. In 2015, the American artist Rashid Johnson (b. Chicago, Ill., 1977; lives and works in New York, N.Y.) installed a publicly accessible sculpture on the tracks. Commissioned by the High Line Art program, it consisted of a shelflike black metal construction that housed a number of bright yellow busts. Blocks presents comprehensive photographic documentation of the eponymous work’s evolving interaction with the lush vegetation into which it intervened. Over the course of the full year for which the sculpture stood on the site, plants of different species grew through its grid structure, lending it a forever changing aspect as the seasons passed. The pictures illustrate the poetic quality of the timelimited relationship between a manmade construction and nature, touching on themes such as optimism, failure, regeneration, and desolation. A conversation between Cecilia Alemani, chief curator of High Line Art, and Rashid Johnson sheds light on the genesis of Blocks and the artist’s approach to making work for public settings.