Chris Johanson (American, b.1968) is a painter and Street artist associated with the San Francisco Mission School, and best known for his Graffiti Art and playful, cartoon-like style. Born in San Jose, CA, he had no formal artistic training, but began working on figurative drawings and painting on skateboards at an early age. In 1989, he moved to San Francisco’s Mission District, and became part of a group of artists, collectively known as The Mission School, who sought to convey urban realism and social commentary in their Graffiti Art. Johansson rose to fame after his site-specific installation was featured in the 2002 Whitney Biennial. Drawing inspiration from children’s art and comic strips, Johanson reduces scenes to simple, geometric elements. His recent work focuses on large-scale acrylic paintings, such as Fall Apart and Let It Go (2011) and Contemporary Flower Painting #3 (2011), which feature brightly colored, geometric patterns on wood. He has held solo exhibitions at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, Deitch Projects in New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He lives and works in Portland, OR.

Timeline

1968
Born in San Francisco, California
Lives and works in Portland, Oregon

Exhibitions

2013
More Love: Art, Politics, and Sharing Since the 1990s, curated by Claire Schneider, Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, NC (cat.)
2012
Arte Portugal 10: California Dreaming, curated by Fred Hofmann and Paul Young, Lisbon, Portugal
2012
Streetopia, curated by Erick Lyle, Chris Johanson and Kal Spelletich, Luggage Store, San Francisco, CA
2012
Dialogue of Hands, curated by Sarah Lowndes, Glasgow International Arts Festival, Glasgow, Scotland
2011
Le Printemps de Septembre: Another World, curated by Anne Pontégnie, Toulouse, France
2011
Mitchell, Innes and Nash, New York, NY
2011
Fifty Years of Bay Area Art: The SECA Awards, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
2011
In The Gardens, Utopian Slumps, Melbourne, Australia
2011
American Gothic: Regionalist Portraiture from the Collection, Nelson Gallery at UC Davis, Davis, CA
2011
Chris Johanson, Charley Harper & Matt Keegan, Altman Siegel, San Francisco
2011
Here/Now, Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland, OR
2011
Art Parcours, Art Basel 42, Basel, Switzerland (solo)
2011
Malmo Konsthall, Malmo, Sweden (solo)
2011
Art Parcours, Art Basel 42, Basel, Switzerland (solo)
2011
Malmo Konsthall, Malmo, Sweden (solo)
2011
This, This, This, That, Altman Siegel, San Francisco (solo)
2010
Backwards Towards Forwards, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, IL (solo)
2010
Not a waste of…, George Kargl, Vienna (solo)
2010
1991 to 2010 - I Was There, Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen (solo)
2010
Backwards Towards Forwards, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, IL (solo)
2010
Not a waste of…, George Kargl, Vienna (solo)
2010
1991 to 2010 - I Was There, Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen (solo)
2010
California Dreaming, Portugal Arte, Lisbon, Portugal
2010
Disorder Disorder, Penrith Regional Gallery, New South Wales, Australia
2010
Final San Francisco Show, Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco
2010
Draw, Museo De La Ciudad De Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
2010
Aktualität eines Mediums – Nader Ahriman bis Chen Zhen, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna
2010
75 Years of Looking Forward, 75th Anniversary Show, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco
2009
The North County Invitational, Cals Pharmacy, Portland, OR
2009
Songs from the Treetops, group show curated by Harrell Fletcher, PDX Contemporary, Portland, OR
2009
Impossible Instruments/Future Flags, Fourteen 30 Contemporary, Portland, OR
2009
15 Years of New Image Art, New Image Art, Los Angeles, CA
2009
A Mind Meld is a Terrible Thing to Waste, Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco
2009
Failed Art / The Art of Failure, ACC Galerie, Weimar
2009
LEARN TO READ ART: A History of Printed Matter (1976-2009), P.S.1 MoMA, Queens
2009
Nothing is permanent, de Elektriciteitscentrale, Brussels
2009
A New York Minute, DepartFoundation, Rome
2009
Kunstfehler – Fehlerkunst, Halle 14 Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei, Leipzig
2009
1999-10 Year Anniversary Show, China Art Objects, Los Angeles
2009
Constellations: Paintings from the MCA Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
2009
Continuality, Van Every/Smith Galleries, Davidson College, Davidson, NC (solo)
2009
Chris Johanson - Jean Dubuffet, Baronian Francey, Brussels, Belgium (solo)
2009
Continuality, Van Every/Smith Galleries, Davidson College, Davidson, NC (solo)
2009
Chris Johanson - Jean Dubuffet, Baronian Francey, Brussels, Belgium (solo)
2008
Conclusions on Boundaries (collaboration with Johanna Jackson), Art of this Gallery, Minneapolis (solo)
2008
Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco (solo)
2008
Totalities, Deitch Projects, New York (cat.) (solo)
2008
Conclusions on Boundaries (collaboration with Johanna Jackson), Art of this Gallery, Minneapolis (solo)
2008
Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco (solo)
2008
Totalities, Deitch Projects, New York (cat.) (solo)
2008
Second Nature, Coordinated by Galerie Nosbaum and Reding, Parc Heintz, Dexia Banque Internationale a Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Centre d’art contemporain, Comaine departemental de Chamarande, France
2008
Dropped Frames, Elk Gallery, New York
2008
Menagerie: Animals and Nature, Jack Hanley Gallery, New York
2008
Poster Renaissance 2, New Image Art, West Hollywood, California
2008
Impossible Instruments Future Flags, Fourteen 30 Contemporary, Portland
2008
Dark Milk, MILK Contemporary, Copenhagen, Denmark
2008
Whatever’s whatever, The Hydra School Project, Hydra, Greece
2008
Lots Of Things Like That, apexart, New York (cat.)
2007
Fractured Figure, Deste Foundation, Athens (cat.)
2007
In the Fullness of Time: Celebrating Twenty Years, The Luggage Store, San Francisco, CA
2007
Kinky Sex (Makes The World Go ‘Round), Lizabeth Oliveria Gallery, Los Angeles
2007
A Collaboration, Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco
2007
Group Show, Jack Hanley Gallery, New York
2007
The Incomplete, Chelsea Art Museum, New York
2007
Euphorion – Art from San Francisco, Pierogi Leipzig
2007
Very Abstract and Hyper Figurative, Thomas Dane Gallery, London, UK(cat.)
2007
Silly Adults, Galerie Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, Denmark
2007
Pierogi Flatfilling – an interactive curatorial project, ArtNews Projects, Berlin, Germany
2007
Sound Zero-Kunst and Muzik vom Pop bis zur Street Art, Kunstforum Halle, Vienna
2007
Five Humans Share Thoughts, People Respond, ANTISOCIAL, Vancouver Canada
2007
Oliver Twist, Rental Gallery, New York
2007
Paradise Library (collaboration with Johanna Jackson), Le Meridien Hotel, San Francisco (solo)
2007
Peaceable Kingdom, (with Johanna Jackson), Marella Gallery, Milan (cat.) (solo)
2007
APEX: Chris Johanson, Portland Art Museum, Portland (solo)
2007
Chris Johanson, Galerie Georg Kargl, Vienna, Austria (solo)
2007
Art Unlimited, Art Basel 38 (with The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd., Galerie Georg Kargl and Gallerie Nicolai Wallner), Basel Switzerland (solo)
2006
I am in this weird area now, Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, Denmark (solo)
2006
Contemporary Landscapes, Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago (solo)
2006
I Can Feel It (Co-Exist In Modern Death): Alright Yeah!, Jack Hanley Gallery, Los Angeles (solo)
2006
Golden State,Paulson Press, Berkeley California
2006
State Of The Nation, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco
2006
DO NOT STACK, Roberts &Tilton, Los Angeles
2006
Monuments for the USA, CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco White Columns, New York(cat.)
2006
Happiness/Berlin Biennale, 4th Berlin Biennial, Gagosian Gallery Berlin, Berlin, Germany (Curated by Martin Germann)
2006
Panic Room – Works for the Dakis Joannou Collection, DESTE Foundation, Athens, Greece (Curated by Jeffrey Deitch, Kathy Grayson)(cat.)
2006
Since 2000 – Printmaking Now, Museum of Modern Art, New York
2006
Have New Yes, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen
2006
New Works, Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago
2006
This talk we have, this talk we have had, this talk we have/have had, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles
2006
Fundstuke und Transit, Johnen Galerie, Berlin, Germany, Johnen and Schottle, Cologne, Germany
2006
Untitled (for H.C. Westermann), The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu (cat.)
2005
SOLO SHOW SOLO SOUL 2, Baronian-Francey, Brussels, Frac Haute-Normandy, Normandy, France
2005
Different Wave Lengths, Tina Kim Fine Art, New York
2005
Curb Appeal, Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada
2005
Casual-Imagastic Jo Jackson Chris Johanson, Reading Frenzy, Portland
2005
Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco
2005
Stoners vs. Drunks, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York
2005
Seventh Annual Altoids Curiously Strong Collection, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, Luckman Fine Arts Complex, California State University Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Soo Visual Arts Center, Minneapolis MN
2005
Looking at Words, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York
2005
Good Timing, Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria
2005
Waters and Watercolours, Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria
2005
Istanbul Biennale, Istanbul, Turkey (cat.)
2005
The Early Show, White Columns, New York
2005
Nach Rokytnik, MUMOK Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wein, Vienna, Austria
2005
SOLO SHOW SOLO SOUL, Baronian-Francey Gallery, Brussels, Belgium (solo)
2004
Solo Show, Solo Soul, Vedanta Gallery, Chicago (solo)
2004
I Love Music, Creative Growth Art Center, Oakland, California
2004
The Optimistic Mood, Vardy Gallery, University of Sunderland, Sunderland UK
2004
Freedom Frenzy, Reading Frenzy, Portland
2004
Color Wheel Oblivion, Marella Arte Contemporanea, Milan, Italy (cat.)
2004
With us against reality, or against us!, Gallerie S.E., Bergen, Norway
2004
Baja to Vancouver: The West Coast and Contemporary Art, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego; Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada, CCA Wattis; Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco (Cat.)
2004
Majority Whip, White Box, New York
2004
Lo-Gressive Living, The Approach, London, UK
2004
Beautiful Losers: Contemporary At and Street Culture, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach (cat.)
2004
Anne de Villepoix, Paris, France
2004
Dog Show, Curated By Angelique Groh, North Spring Street Gallery, Los Angeles
2004
SOLO SHOW SOLO SOUL, Vedanta Gallery, Chicago Il
2004
Initial Encounters, The Arts Center of the Capital Region, Troy, New York
2004
Christophe Daviet-Thery, Paris, France
2004
Between Art and Life; The Contemporary Art and Sculpture Collection, San Francisco Museum of Art,
2004
Christophe Daviet-Thery, Paris, France (solo)
2004
Problem Does Not Compute, The Modern Institute, Glasgow, UK (solo)
2003
SECA Art Award Exhibition, San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco (solo)
2003
This is where you are, Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria (solo)
2003
The More You Think About It, The More You Think About It and Keep Thinking About It More, Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco (solo)
2003
Pretty Gritty, The Institute of Unpopular Culture, Rayko Photo, Film Arts Foundation and Luggage Store Present at Rayko Photo, San Francisco
2003
American Art Today: Faces and Figures, The Art Museum of Florida International University, Miami, Florida curated by Roni Feinstein and Dhalia Morgan
2003
Forward/4words, Rovigo Cen Ser., Rovigo Italy, curated by Guido Bartorelli & Alfredo Siglo
2003
Group show, Anne de Villepoix, Paris
2003
Beam Me Up, New Image Arts, West Hollywood, California
2003
Strange Glue, Ratio 3, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
2003
Dirt Wizards, Brooklyn Fire Proof Inc., New York
2003
Flipping the Bird, Box Populi, Philadelphia
2003
Taqueria Cancun, Allston Skirt Gallery, Boston
2003
Somer Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel
2003
Comic Release, The Regina Gouger Miller Gallery, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania traveling to The Center for Contemporary Art, New Orleans, Louisiana; The University of North Texas Gallery, Denton, Texas, and Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington(cat.)
2003
17 Reasons, Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco
2002
Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (cat.)
2002
Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco
2002
Worm Hole 2, Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands (cat.)
2002
Many Ways, Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles (solo)
2002
Now is Now, Deitch Projects, New York (cat.) (solo)
2001
Vedanta Gallery, Chicago (solo)
2001
Hammer Projects, UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (solo)
2001
Relationistism About Brownness, Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco (solo)
2001
Summertime Reunion, Cat Haus, San Francisco
2001
Widely Unknown, Deitch Projects, New York
2001
Western, Studio Z, San Francisco
2001
Paperview, Galerie Espacio Minimo, Madrid
2001
The Portrait Show, New Image Arts, West Hollywood, California
2001
Jess Hillard: an undying fascination for all animals, especially the cute ones, San Francisco Art Commission Gallery, San Francisco
2001
Untitled 2001, Spiral, Tokyo, Japan
2001
The Sensational Line, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Denver
2001
Hammond Museum, North Salem
2001
East Meets West, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia
2001
Tracey Lawrence Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
2001
Wendy Cooper Gallery, Madison
2001
TEXT/TYPE, curated by Cynthia Connelly, Martin Sprouse’s flat, San Francisco
2001
Synesthesia, Southern Exposure, San Francisco
2001
The Red Man Show, Adobe Books, San Francisco
2001
Bodybuilder and Sportsman Gallery, Chicago (solo)
2000
Le Nuage Brun (The Brown Cloud), Purple Institute/Alleged, Paris, France (solo)
2000
The Ourselves Festival, Alleged Fine Arts, New York (solo)
2000
New Langton Arts’ 16th Annual Auction, New Langton Arts, San Francisco
2000
Blurring The Line, RARE, New York
2000
Move Five Text, New Image Arts (at Bergamot Station), Santa Monica
2000
Lizabeth Oliveria Gallery, Oakland, California
2000
Welcome to Our Community Everyone Here Loves God, Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco
2000
Extra (Super) Meta, Center for the Arts Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco
2000
Deterritorialization of Process,Artist Space, San Francisco
2000
Utopia, Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco
2000
Collector’s Choice, Exit Art, New York
2000
Rare, New York
2000
Pot O’ Gold, Patrizia Outore Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
1999
Rick Farr, Rich Jacobs, Chris Johanson, Alicia McCarthy, New Image Arts, Los Angeles
1999
Off The Hook, Luggage Store, San Francisco
1999
Paper, Holly Solomon Gallery, New York
1999
On Paper, Stalke Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark
1999
Museum Pieces, De Young Museum, San Francisco
1999
The Levels, La Pandaderia, Mexico City, Mexico
1999
Survivalists, Southern Exposure, San Francisco
1999
Coup d’Etat, Alleged Fine Arts, New York
1999
Scopic, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose
1998
Whipper Snapper Nerd Silent Art Auction, Southern Exposure, San Francisco
1998
SAP, Lanai Motel, San Francisco
1998
Stuck, ESP, San Francisco
1998
Selections Summer ’98, The Drawing Center, New York
1998
The Mind Harvest Series, La Panaderia, Mexico City, Mexico
1998
He Swam Down, Away, Audiello Fine Arts, New York
1998
Move 2, New Image Arts, Los Angeles
1998
Clarion Alley Mural Project, San Francisco
1998
Alter-Nativity, The Jewish Museum, San Francisco
1998
SWP, Alleged Fine Arts, New York (solo)
1998
All On Different Trips, Four Walls, San Francisco (solo)
1997
Everylandia, Scene/Escena, San Francisco (solo)
1997
Book Shop, Scene/Escena, San Francisco
1997
Tobin Yelland and Chris Johanson, Cafe Nidal, San Francisco
1997
Waverforms, Skate(board)ing in the Urban Forest, Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz
1997
Bay Area Now, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco
1997
Switch Stance, San Francisco Art Commission Gallery, San Francisco
1997
Mission Community Art Show, Starcleaners, San Francisco
1997
Oddity, Minna Gallery, San Francisco
1997
The Independents, Alleged Fine Arts, New York
1997
Me, Myself and I, Timithy Higbee Gallery
1996
Chris Johanson, Mary Nicholson, Tobin Yelland, Alleged Productions, New York
1996
Erin Courtney and Chris Johanson, Carmichael Gallery, San Francisco
1996
Tropical Sunrise, Poker Face, Portland
1996
Shred Sled Symposium, The Thread Waxing Space, New York
1996
Necessary Evil Kneivel, Alleged Fine Arts, New York
1996
Guy, Four Walls, San Francisco
1995
Wild Side, L.A.C.E., San Francisco
1995
The New Millennium Degenerate Art Show, The Lab, San Francisco
1995
The Finale, Figure 5, San Francisco
1995
Big ‘N’ Easy, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco
1995
Special Friends, Adobe Book Shop, San Francisco
1995
Dysfunctional, an exhibition of Skateboard Art and Design, Blue Note Gallery, London, UK
1995
Sorry, Figure 5, San Francisco (solo)
1995
The Universe, Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco (solo)
1994
Fantasy Island (Life Span), Kiki, San Francisco (solo)
1994
The Works T-Shirt Auction, Works, San Jose, California
1994
The Shooting Gallery, Club 1015, San Francisco
1994
Combine Effort, Figure 5, San Francisco
1992
Curated By Rob Trains, Cafe Picarro, San Francisco
1991
Curated by Rob Trains, All You Knead Cafe, San Francisco
1991
Chain Reaction, San Francisco Art Commission Gallery, San Francisco
1990
The Flower Show, Emmanuel Radnitzky Found Objects, San Francisco
1990
Pictures and Words, Emmanuel Radnitzky Found Objects, San Francisco (solo)