Rashid Johnson: Stage. 2020. Photo by Richard Wilson.
  • MoMA PS1, First floor, Courtyard

Stage is a participatory installation and sound work that draws on the history of the microphone as a tool for protest and public oratory, while recalling the metonymic references to microphones in hip-hop lyrics from the 1980s to the present. The work features a yellow powder-coated stage, with Johnson’s signature markings, on which stands of varying heights hold five SM58 microphones, the legendary model that has become a music industry standard since its introduction to the market in the mid 1960s. Echoing unofficial sites of public intellectual and cultural life, such as Speaker’s Corners in London’s Hyde Park and Harlem’s 135th Street and Lenox Avenue, the installation offers a place for the public to speak their mind. In this moment of vast uncertainty and widespread protest, the work also points to the tension between the power of the voice as a tool for change, and fear of the voice as a potential transmitter of illness.

We invite you to get onto Stage. Use a microphone, and make your voice heard throughout the courtyard, contributing to this expanding collaborative and participatory audio repository. Participants’ statements will be recorded and rebroadcast into speakers installed throughout the courtyard. Rashid Johnson: Stage will also function as a flexible site for programs and performances, featuring performers, poets, activists, and musicians, all available on MoMA PS1's digital platforms as an archive that captures the urgencies and interests of our unstable times. Stage is on view as part of PS1 COURTYARD: an experiment in creative ecologies.

Visitors are invited to safely participate in Rashid Johnson's Stage. The work is sanitized between each use, and visitors are required to wear face masks when interacting with the installation and throughout their visit.

Rashid Johnson: Stage is organized by Kate Fowle, Director. Programming is organized by Elena Ketelsen González, Senior Fellow of Public Programs and Community Engagement, and Taja Cheek, Assistant Curator.

PS1 COURTYARD: an experiment in creative ecologies is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Major support is provided by Allianz, MoMA's partner for design and innovation.

Generous funding is provided by the Bertha and Isaac Liberman Foundation, Jeffrey and Michèle Klein, and MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation.

Support for Rashid Johnson: Stage is provided by the Junior Associates of the Museum of Modern Art.

Licensing

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].

Feedback

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].