Sheldon Scott: Altar of Repose: I’m gonna lay down…
Conner Smith Gallery, Washington D.C., United States 18 Jun 2022 - 31 Aug 2022
Sheldon Scott. Studio Image, Photo by Jatai Lindsey. Courtesy of the artist
Sheldon Scott Studios presents Altar of Repose: I’m gonna lay down…, a solo exhibition of performance and multimedia work by Sheldon Scott, on view at Conner Smith Gallery, from June 18 to August 31, 2022.
Scott’s practice intersects race, sexuality and economics to impugn mythologies of Black super naturality. Based in Washington D.C., Scott hails from the Gullah-Geechee Lowcountry of South Carolina, a history that informs his artistic perspectives across mediums. Using altered hammocks as physical representations of leisure, the work will posit questions on how rest becomes resistance in a society that commodifies intellectual and physical labor, especially from Black individuals. Timed to the weekend of Juneteenth, Scott will deliver a performance on the opening day of the exhibition from9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with an artist talk taking place on Sunday, June 19 a t5 p.m.
In this performance, Scott will lay in the handmade hammocks for a full work day, countering the performance of labor that has encompassed his experience as a Black artist. Bundles of the hammocks will be placed on a pole as a centerpiece of the exhibition, and each hammock will be made black through the processes of tarring, painting, sequining and charring, with some containing elements such as nails and glass throughout. These adornments will speak to industries where extraordinary labor practices live undergirded by hyper-capitalism, made evident in fields once established as areas of leisure, such as sports, entertainment and the arts. The show will also include a room-sized installation inspired by the Biblical story of Jacob’s Ladder. These sources reference the thought of a “leisurely stroll to heaven for Black folk.” As a whole, Scott’s new body of work aims to catalyze ideation on how Black people have or have not been able to participate in rest, and more pointedly, how Black labor has been exploited for the rest of other peoples.
Scott’s beloved aunt, Queenie “Tiney” Knox Murray, was one of countless Black and brown women who worked as domestic housekeepers in the Deep South. For nearly 30 years, Tiney labored so that others could enjoy their leisure while vacationing at Myrtle Beach. On May 13th, 2022, Tiney became an ancestor and it is Sheldon’s honor to dedicate this exhibition and related multimedia body of work to her legacy.
Sheldon Scott is a performance and visual artist who navigates the intersections between placehood, identity and ecology. Born and raised in the small town of Pawleys Island, Scott’swork is deeply entrenched in his experiences growing up in the Gullah-Geechee Lowcountry of South Carolina. In impugning mythologies of Black Male Supernaturality, Scott’s work consists of performance, sculpture, installation, photo-based work, spoken word, creative nonfiction, objects and ephemera. Scott has exhibited at the WPA Select Auction, Arlington Arts Center, Delaware State University, Goucher University, Art Miami, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, National Museum of African Art, Katzen Art Center and the National Portrait Gallery. His work has been acquired byesteemed collections including the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. And is currently a fellow at The Headlands Threshold Fellowship.