Jeff Johnson’s Sagebrush Diogenes Club
In 2022 Nevada’s own Minister of Inert Gases, Jeff Johnson comes out from under his rock to occupy the Savage Mystic Gallery for the month of July.
Johnson, a former Railroad Conductor, came to Reno from Winnemucca in 1994 to learn a new trade. After a few years of wage slavery at local cowboy sign companies he built his own means of production in an old brick chicken coop in his yard. Custom signs and vintage restorations are a specialty. He is a student of art history and an advocate for art that has never been done before. His first claim to fame with the assistance of Jill Berryman at Sierra Arts Foundation was “Fish Breath in the Year of the Plague”, 20 neon Cutthroat Trout swimming upstream to spawn under the Truckee River in 2001. Bruka Theatre is the home of his evolving exhibit, ‘Asexual Reproduction in Nevada’ on the Mapes Plaza, since when the Mapes was still standing. The Noble Instigator of the original ‘’Dada Motel, Celebrating Reno’s Unlimited Potential for Absurdity,’’ in 2007, he has collaborated with a thousand other local artists. To ensure nobody else can make the claim Mr. Johnson has assembled the “Pilfered Pines Neon Landscape Gallery”. Reno’s premier neon and Postmodern Art Gallery since 1995 in his backyard. No taxpayer funding has been wasted on his art projects. His latest endeavors have been the construction of temporary Neon Geoglyphs on public lands and prominent promontories. When it comes to Public Art Jeff Johnson prefers to ask forgiveness instead of permission, if necessary.
For the summer show at the Savage Mystic the Minister of Inert Gases will bring new works commemorating the current plague with an 18’ obelisk and honoring Jimmie Rodgers, the Singing Brakeman who came on the scene in the USA the same year as neon, 1928 . Things he hasn’t thought of yet are also in the works.