Exhibitions - “The Travelers” Broken Crowd

Rashid Johnson
“The Travelers” Broken Crowd

06.01.22 – Ongoing

Delta Air Lines x Queens Museum at LaGuardia Airport

A video thumbnail with a centered, black “press play” symbol in a green rounded off square. The thumbnail is of a two-story, vertical mural against a white marble wall. The mural is installed above a set of elevators, and between a set of escalators and a floor to ceiling window. The mural is made up of sixty, mixed-media, abstract portraits.

In the last decade, Rashid Johnson has melded abstraction and figuration to create a series of individual and group portraits that he calls “Broken Men,”: faces and forms filled at once with electric and frenetic tension. He employs ceramic tiles, eclectic materials (including oyster shells, soap, and mirrors), and scrawled lines to develop dynamic surfaces that shimmer against the watchful presence of his humanoid figures. 


In “The Travelers” Broken Crowd, Johnson’s largest mural to date, he arranges sixty portraits in a grid format: some faces are obscured by sections of black wax and paint, while others are highlighted by jagged clusters of colorful tile and mirror fragments. The vibrant hum of the group reflects the energy and thrill of travel, while their direct gazes hint at the collective anxieties and concerns that connect all communities. For Johnson, abstraction can serve as a vehicle for conversation. The mural invites airport visitors to take a moment to reflect and “wander” in unexpected directions. 


The Delta x Queens Museum commissions at LaGuardia Airport is a partnership between the Queens Museum, Delta Air Lines, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.