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Thurgood in the House of Chaos

Contemporary Art

This photolithograph shows the artist dressed as Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice, overlaid with a graffiti-style set of shooter’s crosshairs. Using an image of himself, Rashid Johnson thereby questions the notion of judicial progress for present-day African Americans from the landmark Civil Rights-era decisions Marshall oversaw, including Brown v. Board of Education (1954).

The title makes reference to Public Enemy’s “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos” (1988), which details an escape from prison, and suggests that mass incarceration is a form of legalized discrimination:

Cell block and locked, I never clock it y’all
Cause time and time again
Time, they got me serving to those and to them,
I’m not a citizen

MEDIUM Photolithograph
DATES 2009
DIMENSIONS 30 x 22 in. (76.2 x 55.9 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Contemporary Art
CREDIT LINE Gift of Exit Art
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Rashid Johnson (American, born 1977). Thurgood in the House of Chaos, 2009. Photolithograph, 30 x 22 in. (76.2 x 55.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Exit Art, 2013.30.28. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2013.30.28_PS9.jpg)
EDITION Edition: 46/50, 8 APs and 5 PPs
IMAGE overall, 2013.30.28_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2017
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Rashid Johnson (American, born 1977). <em>Thurgood in the House of Chaos</em>, 2009. Photolithograph, 30 x 22 in. (76.2 x 55.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Exit Art, 2013.30.28. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2013.30.28_PS9.jpg)