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Rashawn Griffin: we no longer recognize the backs of our hands

Exhibition |
ROOM 122

After spending several weeks in residence at the Momentary in 2021, Kansas City-based artist Rashawn Griffin was inspired by the challenges and possibilities posed by the space’s unique architecture, prompting the question: “how can I paint this room without actually painting it?”

The end result is called we no longer recognize the backs of our hands, an immersive installation of panels and objects, including mirrors, wooden frames, and pictorial paintings, that form a bridge between painting and sculpture.

FREE: No tickets required.

About the Artist

Rashawn Griffin

Rashawn Griffin uses diverse materials such as bed sheets, tassels, food, and flora to create large-scale sculpture and paintings. After receiving a MFA from Yale University in 2005, he has exhibited in multiple solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad. Often pushing the boundaries between object and installation, his work challenges viewers to engage in their own past experiences when confronting his art. A haunting installation in the 2008 Whitney Biennial, for example, is punctuated by a live audio feed from a field in Kansas, where the artist was raised. A lumbering garbage bag man/sculpture wanders through a field in “To bring love/terrible things”, highlighting his exploration of place, site specificity, and identity. Griffin’s installations explore the relationship between architecture and the traditions of painting with a series of stretched fabric walls; as the picture becomes the space, the pictorial space highlights the architecture.

Living and working in Olathe, KS, he was a 2006 resident of the Studio Museum in Harlem’s AIR program. Along with the 2008 Whitney Biennial, his work has been exhibited widely, including a two-person exhibition at the Studio Museum with artist Senga Nengudi (RSVP), as well as “Freeway Balconies” at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, Germany, and “THREADS: Textiles and Fiber in the works of African American Artists” at EK Projects in Beijing, China. Recently the subject of the solo exhibition “A hole-in-the-wall country” at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, Kansas, as well as participating in the exhibition “Minimal Baroque” at Rønnebæksholm in Næstved, Denmark, and his work will be featured in “The Regional”, a biennial of midwest-based artists opening at the Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati through March 20, before traveling to the Kemper Museum in Kansas City. Griffin was an artist-in-residence at the Momentary in 2021.