Martin Johnson was born in New Jersey in 1951 and currently resides in Richmond, Virginia. He received his BA in Architecture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1974 and his MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1977.
Gaining recognition throughout the mid-Atlantic region, Johnson secured one of the first residencies at PS1 (MoMA PS1). During this time, curator Marcia Tucker and gallery owner Phyllis Kind championed Johnson's work. With critical attention from art historian and art critic Donald Kuspit, Johnson captivated private art collectors the Rubells and the Vogels. With Dorothy and Herbert Vogel's Fifty Works for Fifty States, thirty-six museums acquired Johnson's work. Moreover, the March 2013 film Herb and Dorothy 50x50showcases Johnson's creative impetus.
Johnson's recent solo exhibitions include FOR / REAL: Martin Johnson (2017) at Linda Matney Gallery in Williamsburg, Virginia; FOR Instance: The Art of Martin Johnson (2013) at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia; and Martin Johnson: FORward at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. His notable group shows include Textural Structures: Selected Works from the South Dakota Art Museum (2011) in Brookings, South Dakota; An Economy of Means: The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection (2010) at the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Un/Common Ground: Virginia Artists (1990) at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia.
1988 Household Media, Virginia Beach Arts Center, Virginia Beach, Virginia Site Installation, Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art at Snug Harbor, Staten Island, New York From the Collection of Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, Arnot Art Museum, Elmira, New York Artists' Sketchbooks, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), Winston-Salem, North Carolina
1986 Drawings form the Collection of Dorothy and Herb Vogel, University of Arkansas Fine Arts Center Gallery, Little Rock, Arkansas; Sarah Moody Gallery of Art, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Palmer Museum of Art, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania Juried Miniature Exhibition, Invited Juror, Tidewater Artists Association, Hermitage Foundation Museum, Norfolk, Virginia
1982 P.S...P.S.1, 1708 East Main Gallery, Richmond, Virginia New New York, University Fine Arts Galleries, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida; Coral Gables Museum, Coral Gables, Florida; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona Twentieth Anniversary of the Vogel Collection, University Fine Arts Galleries, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida; Coral Gables Museum, Coral Gables, Florida; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona
1980 P.S.1, Museum of Modern Art, Queens, New York Four Men, Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago
1979–1980 Paintings from New York Galleries, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia; Roanoke College, Salem, Virginia
Kuspit, Donald. “Martin Johnson’s Maniac American Dream.” In New Work Fellowships: Northern Telecom, Nancy H. Margolis, ed., pp. 1-4. Exhibition catalogue. Raleigh: The City Gallery of Contemporary Art, 1994
Richard Brown Baker, New York, New York
Charles Beneson, Connecticut
Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Bergman, Chicago, Illinois
William Copley, New York, New York
Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Goldberg, New York, New York
Mr. and Mrs. Alan Koppel, Chicago and New York
Prudential Insurance Company, New York, New York
Bill and Pam Royall, Richmond, Virginia
The Rubell Family Collection and Contemporary Arts Foundation
Martihn Sklar, New York
Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Speyer, New York, New York
Herbert and Dorothy Vogel