Daniel LaRue Johnson was already active in the Los Angeles art scene before he studied at the Chouinard Art Institute in the first half of the 1960s. Even as a student he received noteworthy awards (Whitney Fellowship, 1963) and had a solo exhibition at the Rolf Nelson Gallery in Los Angeles (1964). Johnson’s art changed in response to the violence of the civil rights movement, and he began to create confrontational assemblages, such as Freedom Now, Number 1 (1963). He often combined found objects, such as fragments of broken dolls, hacksaws, and mousetraps, which he arranged in wooden boxes and then painted (or tarred) entirely black. In 1965 he received a Guggenheim fellowship, enabling him to study in Paris with sculptor Alberto Giacometti (1901–1966). After returning to the United States (New York City) in 1966, Johnson abandoned his “black boxes” and instead began painting hard-edge abstractions with vibrant colors, glossy surfaces, and precisely painted contours. Johnson has also made a number of large-scale commemorative sculptures, in abstract, Minimalist forms. His work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art, all in New York.