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Center for Art, Research and Alliances and Public Fiction present Michael in Black by Nicole Miller
The original sculpture Michael in Black is a bronze cast of Michael Jackson’s kneeling figure, poured from a mold made directly from his body circa 1987.

NEW YORK, NY.- Michael in Black by Nicole Miller (2022), focuses on a single sculptural work by artist and filmmaker Nicole Miller. The publication coalesces images of Miller’s work alongside newly commissioned texts and visual artworks by a cast of other artists and writers, as well as republished texts and existing artwork recontextualized through the publication’s subject.

The original sculpture Michael in Black is a bronze cast of Michael Jackson’s kneeling figure, poured from a mold made directly from his body circa 1987. This charged object comprises myriad aspects of performance, celebrity, and image: the objecthood of the performer, the potency and perversity of objects, death, grief, and editing. This sculpture is an outlier in Nicole Miller’s largely video and installation- centered work, though it excavates some concerns she has similarly articulated in moving image: her recurring interest in the self performance of her film subjects; the dehumanizing effects of the mass gaze; the celebrity as a host object for contemporary projections; the tactility of film; the sculptural qualities of editing; and the potential for self storytelling to reconstitute an individual’s wholeness.

Michael in Black by Nicole Miller features new texts by Negar Azimi, Hannah Black, Jared Sexton, and Greg Tate; republished texts by Pier Paolo Pasolini, Anna Deavere Smith, and Ocean Vuong; interviews with Dr. Yvonne Cagle, Alonzo King, Nicole Miller, and Bradford Young; artworks by Nikita Gale, Kazu Hiro, Ligia Lewis, and Jasper Marsalis; as well as additional plates by Lutz Bacher, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Todd Gray, Lyle Ashton Harris, Arthur Jafa, Deana Lawson, Herman Makkink, A. Michael Noll, Heji Shin, and others.

Michael in Black by Nicole Miller is co-published by the Center for Art, Research and Alliances (CARA) and Public Fiction and edited by Nicole Miller and Lauren Mackler. The publication acts as both a monograph for Miller’s work and as the new, 11th issue of the Public Fiction journal, utilizing Miller’s work as a springboard for an anthology of cultural criticism. Part reader, part art book, Michael in Black by Nicole Miller unpacks an artist’s oeuvre as well as the ecosystem that informs and feeds it. Each contribution stands in dialogue with Miller’s work and also independently, this book experiments with the monograph as a form and the book as a physical space and object.

Nicole Miller lives and works in California, where she is Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. She has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions at institutions including the Studio Museum in Harlem, the California African American Museum, the Ulrich Museum of Art, MoCA Tuscon, Astrup Fearnley Museet in Oslo, and the Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva, among others. Miller’s work is in the collections of museums such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Miller has been the recipient of several grants, prizes, and awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship (2018), the Rome Prize (2016), the William H. Johnson Prize (2015), and many others. Nicole Miller: A Sound, a Signal, the Circus, a site-specific, immersive installation that explores and expands an understanding of synesthesia as it relates to the Black experience in the United States, is currently on view through July 25, 2022, at the Kemper Art Museum in St. Louis, Missouri.

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