M. Lamar: Funeral Doom Spiritual
Opening reception: Friday, April 15, 2016, 7-9:30pm
M. Lamar in Conversation with Uri McMillan at LACMA: Tuesday, April 12, 2016, 7:30pm
Performance of M. Lamar’s “Funeral Doom Spiritual: For Male Soprano, Piano, and Electronics” at USC: Saturday, April 16, 2016, 7:30pm
Claudia Rankine recently wrote in the New York Times “the condition of black life is one of mourning.” Indeed, if we believe the words of Anthony Paul Farley that “the motionless movement of death through slavery, segregation, and neo-segregation” is an ongoing funeral procession then how do we, the Negro undead, go on? And how have we kept on keeping on in this unending death spiral of the U.S. empire?
In Funeral Doom Spiritual, M. Lamar suggests that it is only with an intense awareness of this “motionless movement,” carrying the coffins of the fallen “on our backs,” that we can proceed. Taking place a century in the future, the exhibition focuses on a protagonist forever “carrying carrying carrying” these coffins. Drawing on Negro Spirituals that call for the end times, what Lamar calls Doom Spirituals, this installation at ONE Archives exhumes legacies of racial violence while longing for the forthcoming destruction of white supremacy.
M. Lamar: Funeral Doom Spiritual includes multichannel video, objects, still images, and sound. Within the context of the archives, this new installation by Lamar responds directly to the collection of Miles Everitt, who photographed nude Black men for over 50 years as an enterprise of private obsession. Refuting Everett’s Negrophilic fixation, the installation will include new video of Lamar shot in the archives at ONE, as well as a display of Everett’s photographs that deny the fetishist’s gaze.
M. Lamar: Funeral Doom Spiritual is organized by David Evans Frantz, Curator at ONE Archives at the USC Libraries. This exhibition is made possible, in part, by a grant from the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs. Additional support is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the ONE Archives Foundation.
M. Lamar works across opera, metal, performance, video, sculpture and installation to craft sprawling narratives of racial sexual transformation. Mr. Lamar is a self described Negrogothic Devil worshipping free black man in the blues tradition. Lamar holds a BFA from The San Francisco Art Institute and attended the Yale School of Art, sculpture program, before dropping out to pursue music. Lamar’s work has been presented internationally, most recently at Merkin Concert Hall New York, The Lab San Francisco, The Great Hall at Cooper Union New York, PS1’s Greater New York, Issue Project Room, Human Resources Los Angeles, Walter and McBean Galleries at the San Francisco Art Institute, Participant Inc., New York; New Museum, New York; Södra Teatern, Stockholm; Warehouse9, Copenhagen; WWDIS Fest, Gothenburg and Stockholm; The International Theater Festival, Donzdorf, Germany; Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York; Performance Space 122, New York; and African American Art & Culture Complex, San Francisco; among others. Mr. Lamar continues to study classical and bel canto technique with Ira Siff, and is a recipient of grants from the Rema Hort Mann Foundation (2015), Harpo Foundation (2014-2015), and Franklin Furnace Fund (2013–14). Find more information on M. Lamar here.
Image: (top) M. Lamar, Deathlessness (Awaiting an Awakening), Still from Funeral Doom Spiritual, 2016. Digital video. Courtesy of the artist