Andrew Ellis Johnson was born in Cortland, New York to a jazz guitarist, civil war historian father and science major mother who, together, won many bowling tournaments. Between paper routes and studying at the Ella Van Heusen Experimental Laboratory, he made his first life-size faux bronze sculpture of Baron Manfred Von Richtoven at the age of 13, miniature marzipan figurines of Fats Waller at 11 and his first film cycle on the battle of Gettysburg at 9. Pursuing his film interests, he transferred from SUNY Buffalo to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he received his BFA in 1982, having studied with Stan Brakhage, Peter Kubelka and P. Adams Sitney. After traveling and working extensively in Europe and Asia, he attended graduate school at Carnegie Mellon. While there, he was an artist-in-residence at the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, curated an exhibition of inmate art at the City Theater, and had five solo exhibits in Pittsburgh and Washington, PA, Cleveland, and Cincinnati.
Subsequently he attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and a residency through Poznan Academy of Art in Poland. His nomadic teaching career included positions at College of the Holy Cross, University of Nebraska in Omaha, West Virginia University, a five-month studio stint in Amsterdam, and five years at University at Buffalo where, with Millie Chen and Paul Vanouse, he co-founded PED in 2001. PED is a socially engaged collective employing bicycle/lecture tours for international site-specific projects. Since 2004, he has been Associate Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon with a 2006 semester residency at Korean National University of the Arts in Seoul.
Johnson¡¯s exhibitions address exigencies of daily realities and undress the refined aesthetics of art. Some past exhibition topics include: the Haitian grass roots movement in Lavalas; homelessness in Cincinnati¡¯s Over the Rhine neighborhood in A¡¤Dressing Room; predatory economics in just another market mop up and StOck OptiOns; hemispheric hegemonies in Democracy on Ice; unabated sowing of land mines in Spring---Let Them Keep Their Children Tethered; the Palestinian condition in Pressed: When Words Were Earth and Fleece; cultural eclipses in One Night or a Thousand Others and Cleave; and meditations on labor and myth in the video installations, Hawker Hacker, Herald and Hind. Venues for these and related works have ranged from SIGGRAPH 07 in San Diego and Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam to the Chelsea Museum of Art and Alternative Museum of Art in NYC, from A Space and McMaster Museum of Art in Ontario to campus galleries at Korean National University of the Arts, Rutgers, Wesleyan, Chatham, University of Georgia Athens, UNC Chapel Hill, Maryland Institute College of Art and Center for Advanced Art and Culture in Aix en Provence; and from festivals in Minneapolis, Oberhausen, Victoria and Belfast to conferences in Leeds, New York City and Liverpool.Johnson also contributes images and writings for a variety of publications including: M/C Journal; Hayden¡¯s Ferry Review #38 (Arizona State University); Fables of La Fontaine (University of Washington Press); Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Painting: Hybridity, Hegemony, Historicism (Liverpool University Press and Tate Liverpool); the Ill Will issue of River City (University of Memphis); and, Where Extremes Meet, The Brecht Yearbook 27 (University of Wisconsin Press).
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