March 31 – May 28, 2023
Artists Space is pleased to present new works by interdisciplinary artists Shala Miller (b. 1993) and Malcolm Peacock (b. 1994). As part of their first New York institutional exhibition, Miller’s and Peacock’s commissions will present complex, generative narratives about the body, specters, ritual, endurance, and the experiential nature of transformation.
Rooted in an understanding of performance as an embodied and intimate experience, the exhibition will include live actions, dissonance, and running monologues both visible and invisible as some of its core components. The artists’ commissions will also be presented alongside a suite of rarely seen, unreleased films titled Cellar Vigil (1966) by the poet, activist, and scholar Amiri Baraka.
Shala Miller works across photography, film, writing, music, and performance as a means of meditating on the conjunction of desire, mourning, pain, and pleasure. Under the moniker Freddie June, they explore voice as material. Miller’s new body of work, Genesis, is an extension of their yearslong practice of building fictional worlds with an auto-ethnographic root. For Artists Space, Miller has created an immersive installation that positions a three-channel video as a soundtrack for a fictional character, Obsidian, who serves as a kind of alter ego for the artist, created at the beginning of this year as a way to process their experience of rage as a Black femme. A chorus in three parts, both in terms of sound and image, the work tells the story of Obsidian’s becoming. During the exhibition, Miller will invite a series of skilled vocalists and musicians to perform as an integral part of their presentation.
Malcolm Peacock’s most recent projects, which take the form of one-on-one interactions between the artist and invited participants, are informed by the concept of slow choreography and the intricacies of intimacy. Throughout the course of the exhibition, Peacock will complete hourlong breathing exercises in the gallery at sunrise. Members of the public will be invited to participate via advance registration. During these exercises, Peacock will speak the names of individuals provided by Black registrants who make online prayer requests, one part of the artist’s effort to create grounds of intimate exchange between Black subjects.