The Cleveland Museum of Art acquires Rashid Johnson mixed-media artwork along with an important watercolor by Paul Cézanne and three sculptures from Melvin Edwards’s series, Lynch Fragments. The acquisitions were made in December 2021 and announced in January 2022. The Rashid Johnson and Melvin Edwards pieces build upon the Cleveland Museum of Art’s commitment to diversifying its collections.
Standing Broken Men (2021) by Rashid Johnson is an important addition to the Cleveland Museum of Art contemporary collection and meaningfully advances the museum’s goal of diversifying its holdings.
At the center of a frenzied mosaic, an abstract, fractured figure stares wide-eyed at the viewer. Standing Broken Men and a related series of mosaic works grew out of Johnson’s Anxious Men and Anxious Audiences series (2015–18). As Standing Broken Men exemplifies, Johnson’s latest works continue to represent the experience of anxiety by composing figures through fragmented shards of ceramic and mirrored tiles. Through this technique, brokenness is inherent in the figures and the worlds they inhabit. However, their pieces are reassembled into a dynamic colorful whole, suggesting the possibility for healing and renewal.
As with much of Johnson’s work, Standing Broken Men can be interpreted as a poignant reflection on the time when it was made, defined by a global pandemic and a heightened reckoning with racial inequality. Standing Broken Men comes to the museum as a generous gift from Agnes Gund in honor of Helena Huang.
Alongside recent acquisitions by artists such as Robert Colescott, Simone Leigh, Emma Amos and Wadsworth Jarrell, among others, Standing Broken Men expands the range of narratives surrounding African American experiences on view at the CMA. This monumental work also complements three prints by Johnson from his Anxious Men series that the museum acquired in 2020 (2020.77, 2020.78 and 2020.79). Together, they capture the innovative evolution of Johnson’s art across media.
Standing Broken Men will be on view in Toby’s Gallery for Contemporary Art (229A) beginning in late March 2022.
About the Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art is renowned for the quality and breadth of its collection, which includes more than 63,000 artworks and spans 6,000 years of achievement in the arts. The museum is a significant international forum for exhibitions, scholarship and performing arts. One of the top comprehensive art museums in the nation and free of charge to all, the Cleveland Museum of Art is in the dynamic University Circle neighborhood.Rashid Johnson