Sunday, January 8, 2012

Watermelon and chickenbones. And he ain't kidding!

  In times gone by, chicken and other dishes conveyed simple meanings  As band leader Cab Calloway used to sing in 1942:

I get the neck of the chicken
I get that burnt piece of toast
I get that seat in the movies
Smacko! in back of the post
That's why I can't get over this dream that came true
If I get the neck of the chicken
How did I ever get you.

African American Experience in the Era of Post-Blackness: Food Images in Art

[condensed from the NY Times, January 8, 2012, p. A23]
RASHID JOHNSON (b. 1977) was raised in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois as well as Evanston, Illinois.[7] A photography major,[8] he earned a 2000 Bachelor of Fine Arts from Columbia College Chicago and a 2005 Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.[6] After obtaining his Masters degree, he moved to the Lower East Side in New York City,[7] where he teaches at the Pratt Institute.[9] Although he is generally referred to as a photographer and sometimes referred to as a sculptor, in certain contexts, he has been referred to as an artist-magician.[10]

Johnson's most controversial exhibition was entitled Chickenbones and Watermelon Seeds: The African American Experience as Abstract Art

The subject matter was a series of stereotypical African-American food culture items such as watermelon seeds, black-eyed peas, chicken bones, and cotton seeds placed directly onto photographic paper and exposed to light using an iron-reactive process.[5]  He also likes using shea butter, oyster
shells, and black soap.

     Shea Butter is a natural plant extract derived from the nut of the Karite Tree, which grows throughout West Africa. The name Karite means the Tree of Life, as a result of the many important uses Shea Butter provides to the people of this region.