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Notes Towards Becoming a Spill

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The first monograph by sculptor, filmmaker, and photographer Shikeith, Notes towards Becoming a Spill brings together a series of striking studio portraits of Black male subjects as they inhabit various states of meditation, prayer, and ecstasy.

Shikeith describes the work as "leaning into the uncanny," visualizing ritual and the process of excavating Black men's erotic potential, the better to exorcise the "intangible presences that haunt their bodies and psyches." The men's faces and bodies glisten with sweat (and tears)--the manifestation and evidence of desire. This ecstasy is what critic Antwaun Sargent proclaims as "an ideal, a warm depiction that insists on concrete possibility for another world." In this revelatory volume, Shikeith redefines the idea of sacred space and positions a Queer ethic identified by its investment in vulnerability, tenderness, and joy. 

Shikeith: Notes towards Becoming a Spill is made possible, in part, thanks to the generous contribution of 7G Foundation.


Shikeith (born in Philadelphia, 1989) lives and works in Pittsburgh. He received a BA from Pennsylvania State University, and an MFA from the Yale School of Art, New Haven, Connecticut. He is recipient of a 2019 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant, and in 2020, he received an Art Matters Foundation grant and a 2020–21 Leslie Lohman Artist Fellowship.

Ashon T. Crawley is the author of The Lonely Letters (2020) and Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility (2016). He is associate professor of Religious studies and African American and African studies at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

  • Publisher: Aperture (August 16, 2022)
  • Language: English
  • Imitation Leather: 112 pages
  • ISBN-10: 597115231
  • ISBN-13: 9781597115230
  • Dimensions: 8.12 x 0.63 x 12.75 inches
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