Crusading The Specter
June 22, 2023 - August 18, 2023
Yossi Milo is pleased to present Crusading The Specter, a group exhibition curated by artist and filmmaker Shikeith. The exhibition will present work by Antoine d'Agata, Kevin Beasley, Kevin Claiborne, Justin Emmanuel Dumas, Alanna Fields, Diana Al-Hadid, Allison Janae Hamilton, Y. Malik Jalal, Harold Mendez, Azza El Siddique, Bri Williams, and London Williams. The exhibition will open with a reception on Thursday, June 22 and will be on view through Friday, August 11, 2023.
Crusading The Specter is a creative response to a prevailing socio-political state of mourning and remembrance, an ever-increasing loss of societal liberties and privileges, and worldwide environmental devastation. This exhibition delves into the spatial dimension and politics of the notion of ‘a haunting,’ drawing inspiration from the concept of Hauntology as introduced by French philosopher Jacques Derrida in his 1992 magnum opus, Specters of Marx.
Hauntology emphasizes that the past is not merely a relic of bygone eras but rather an ever-present haunting force that profoundly impacts our lives. The artists featured in Crusading The Specter embark on uncovering and following traces of the past that shape our contemporary experiences and identities. Through their artistic endeavors, these artists communicate processes of grieving, yearning, recovery, and temporality, shedding light on the intricate interplay between history, memory, and the human condition.
Among those featured in the exhibition is Kevin Beasley (American, b. 1985), whose sculpture Fisher (2020) presents a ghostly figure made from worn clothing and a repurposed fishing net, set in form and preserved in resin. The process of creating this work is intensive, with Beasley dipping the garments into resin, and quickly molding and shaping them before they solidify in roughly one half of an hour. The resulting work carries evidence of the cycles of use and disuse, the artist’s body, and the process of its own creation, blurring the boundaries between painting, sculpture, and performance.
Azza El Siddique’s (Sudanese, b. 1984) bronze sculpture 7 3/8 (2022) takes the form of a snapback baseball cap mounted to a wall. The work is a replica of a hat worn by the artist’s late brother and artist Teto El Siddique, and captures every minute detail of the original garment. Yet, the cap itself was destroyed in the casting process, speaking to notions of grief, memory, forgetting, and healing.
Included in the exhibition is Kevin Claiborne’s (American, b. 1989) Throne (2022). Made from old police barricades, the multimedia sculpture recalls the form of a seat used in BDSM practices. The structure is sealed with a thin layer of shea butter—a uniquely African ingredient used for centuries—and suggests a crossing of boundaries and barriers to assert agency over experiences, identities, bodies, pleasure, and pain.
Among the photographic works presented in the exhibition is Alanna Fields’ (American, b. 1990) Come To My Garden (2021). The mise en abyme photograph presents the repeated image of a nude figure seated on a blanket outdoors. Sourced from an archival photograph, the work reframes extant relics of history and memories of the past, transforming how we understand and relate to events of the present.
Curator and multimedia artist Shikeith (American, b. 1989) has exhibited across the United States and internationally. His work is in the permanent collections of the 21c Museum, Louisville, KY; Baltimore Museum of Art, MD; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; and the Newark Museum of Art, NJ, among others. In 2021, the artist presented notes towards becoming a spill, a site-specific performance at the Performa Biennial in New York, NY, and released his debut monograph of the same name the following year. Shikeith has been honored with numerous awards and grants, including the 2022 Pittsburgh Foundation's Exposure Artist Award in co-fellowship with The Carnegie Museum of Art; 2020 Art Matters Foundation Grant; 2020 Leslie Lohman Museum Artist Fellowship; and 2019 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant, among others. Most recently, the artist was chosen as a 2023-2024 fellow for the Sharpe-Walentas studio program, and has previously completed residencies at the Mattress Factory Museum of Contemporary Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Long Road Projects, Jacksonville, FL, and Pittsburgh Glass Center, PA, among others. Shikeith holds a BFA from The Pennsylvania State University and an MFA from Yale University. The artist lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA.