Skylights illuminate a wooden structure in a large and largely empty gallery space. Despite its lofty scale and strictly formalistic design, the piece is not imposing. From a distance, the sculpture, with its square black posts that form clear and elegant angles, fits into the industrial black metal frame of the ceiling of the SculptureCenter, where it is currently on view. His title, Coeval Proposition # 1: Tear Down To Flatten With The Ground Or The * Trans America Building DISASSEMBLE EVERYTHING, 2021, refers to the iconic San Francisco skyscraper built for the Transamerica Corporation in the early 1970s. This forty-eight-story, elongated pyramid pierces the urban skyline and was the tallest building in the city until 2018. Rindon Johnson, a local from the Bay Area, reduces this imposing phallic tower made of concrete, glass, and steel to a simple wooden frame with a second, smaller, inverted pyramid. In this new context, the pyramids are reminiscent of the LGBTQ symbol of the inverted pink triangle and its intricate origins in a persecution story; one of the exaggerated tips protrudes upwards while the other points to the ground.
Johnson’s ebonized treatment of the redwood enriches the grain with a spectrum of black tones. Pronounced carpenter details and finely carved cavities underline the handcrafted character of the piece. Together with the title of the work, these material details suggest a new type of monument that, unlike traditional monoliths, is to be deconstructed and rebuilt over time. Johnson’s experiment in naming and craft also positions the sculpture as a playful but serious work of reclamation: by queuing the emblematic architectures of capitalism (office) and power (monument), he asserts the presence of a trans-America. The artist’s skilful reorganization of celebrated structures creates space for those who were excluded from social “norms” for a long time by inserting new forms of power into the horizon of the country.