Rashid Johnson, born in 1977, was raised in Evanston, Illinois. He attended Columbia College of Chicago and earned his undergraduate degree in photography in 2000. While still a student at Columbia College in 1998, Rashid was discovered by young gallery director Jumaane N’Namdi of the G.R. N’Namdi Gallery where he first began exhibiting his breakthrough works including the series “Seeing In The Dark”, “Manumission Papers” and “Chicken bones and Watermelon Seeds”. In 2005, after receiving his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he moved to New York where he teaches at the Pratt Institute.
In addition to photography he is known for both his unusual artistic methods and productions. He is also known for combining various natural and supernatural sciences including alchemy, divination and astronomy to underline black history. Although he is generally referred to as a socio-political photographer and even sculptor, he occasionally presents impressive audio (mostly musical) and video works that have resulted into him earning the title of “artist-magician”.
His work has been collected and exhibited by museums around the world dating back to the beginning of his career in 1998 such as the Detroit Institute of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Sunrise Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Corcoran Museum of Art in Washington, the Institute of Contemporary Photography in New York, the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Studio Museum of Harlem in Chicago.