During the pandemic, Rashid Johnson’s “Untitled Anxious Red Drawings” put unvarnished mental anguish on display. Now, with the aid of Creative Time, Johnson is launching himself into a new, more hopeful project with Red Stage, a participatory sculpture in Astor Place that will serve as an access point for both artists and random passerby. Conceived in the form of a steel sculpture, Red Stage will be on display from June 5 through July 4 of this summer, and it will also play host to several different unique instances of programming.
This programming includes “Resurgence,” which consists of a series of performances, walks, and interactive projects that reverberate through Astor Place’s history as a site of political insurgency; “Remedy,” which will present opportunities for workshops, sound baths and other healing rituals; as well as a day of “Civic Action” leading up to New York City’s primary elections.
The Astor Place sculpture itself will consist of a 30 foot wide platform with a 13 foot high red metallic stage frame attached. As with Johnson’s “Anxious Red Drawings,” this color choice was made to reflect the artist’s ongoing state of acute anxiety. In addition to the planned programming, three days per week, the structure will be open so that artists and passersby can occupy the sculpture however they see fit.
“I hope that Red Stage acts as an armature for cultural engagement and catalyst for unexpected conversations,” Johnson said in a statement. “The sculpture will transform through occupation and animation. I am thrilled to see this exchange with the incredible roster of talented individuals that Creative Time has put together, especially as we process this new phase of sharing space together.”
Some of the other individuals who will be involved include theater director Charlotte Brathwaite and performance artist and activist Morgan Bassichis. Additionally, at some point there will be a takeover done by the nightlife collective Papi Juice.