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The History Man: Tom Morton Interviews Rashid Johnson

23 Oct 2014

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Shea Butter Irrigation System, 2013, the Ballroom, Marfacentral pivot irrigation unit, shea butter, black soap, wax, 4.2 × 2.7 × 3.4 m. Courtesy: the artist and Hauser & Wirth, London; photograph: Fredrik Nilsen.

Tom Morton interviews artist Rashid Johnson in the current issue of Frieze about fiction, humor, and homage in regards to his artistic process. The conversation presents an overview of themes that interweave through Johnson’s sculptures, wall assemblages, films, and performances, including a brief discussion about a piece Johnson created for his show at Ballroom in 2013. A contributing editor, writer and curator for Frieze Magazine, Tom Morton will be the curator of Ballroom’s upcoming Fall 2015 group exhibition, Äppärät.

An excerpt from

TM Your sculptures are overwhelmingly made for – and often allude to – interior spaces. One exception is Shea Butter Irrigation System (2013), created for the courtyard of the Ballroom, Marfa, in which an agricultural irrigation rig was adapted to anoint the Texas desert with melting gobbets of shea butter, black soap and wax. Does the idea of making further open-air sculptures interest you?

RJ I’d love to get outside again. That piece was a huge learning experience for me. So much of my material is intended to live inside. Maybe I’m agoraphobic, so it would make sense that my art is too! I love small interior spaces, where you can lay down with a book and nerd out. Being in a big open space is intimidating to me, in art and in life.