Center for Art,
Research and Alliances
February 3, 2023

Michael in Black by Nicole Miller

Publication Cover

with Nicole Fleetwood, Lauren Mackler, and Nicole Miller in conversation

Please join us for the NYC-launch of Michael in Black by Nicole Miller. Published by CARA and Public Fiction, this first monograph on artist and filmmaker Nicole Miller focuses on a single sculpture by the artist: Michael in Black by Nicole Miller (2018).

This book brings together a cohort of writers and other artists through newly commissioned texts and works for the page, as well as republished texts and images that exist as their own whole. Some texts hinge on the sculpture, others are tangents. The book’s texts and images build on each other, functioning as a prism for the publication’s subject.

Michael in Black by Nicole Miller is edited with introduction by Lauren Mackler and Nicole Miller, and designed by Lauren Mackler. It includes text and image contributions by Jared Sexton, Hannah Black, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Greg Tate, Ocean Vuong, Negar Azimi, Anna Deveare Smith, Nikita Gale, Kazu Hiro, Ligia Lewis, and Jasper Marsalis, and interviews with Bradford Young, Nicole Miller, Dr. Yvonne Cagle, and Alonzo King.

Michael in Black by Nicole Miller (2018) is a bronze cast of Michael Jackson’s kneeling figure, poured from a mold made directly from his body around 1986. This talismanic object comprises myriad aspects of celebrity and image: the objecthood of the performer, the potency and perversity of objects, death, and grief. This sculpture is an outlier in Miller's 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.

Photos: Arlene Mejorado (Nicole Miller), Naima Green (Nicole Fleetwood), Reynaldo Rivera (Lauren Mackler). Book Photography: Justin Lubliner.


Nicole Miller lives and works in Los Angeles. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions internationally. Selected solo exhibitions include Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis (2022); SFMoMA, San Francisco (2019); The High Line, New York (2014); K-W, Berlin (2014); Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneve (2014); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2013); and LAXART, Los Angeles (2009). Miller has received numerous prestigious awards, including the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Award (2018), Rome Prize (2016), William H. Johnson Prize (2015), Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant (2013), Artadia Award (2013), and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award (2011), among others. She is an associate professor in the department of visual arts at University of California, San Diego.

Nicole R. Fleetwood is the inaugural James Weldon Johnson Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication in the Steinhardt School at New York University. A MacArthur Fellow, she is a writer, curator, and art critic whose interests are contemporary Black diasporic art and visual culture, photography studies, art and public practice, performance studies, gender and feminist studies, Black cultural history, creative nonfiction, prison abolition and carceral studies, and poverty studies. She is the author Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration (Harvard University Press, 2020), winner of the National Book Critics Award in Criticism, the John Hope Franklin Publication Prize of the American Studies Association, the Susanne M. Glasscock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship, and both the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award in art history and the Frank Jewett Mather Award in art criticism. She is also the curator of the traveling exhibition, Marking Time: Art in the Era of Mass Incarceration, which debuted at MoMA PS1 (September 17, 2020-April 5, 2021). The exhibition was listed as “one of the most important art moments in 2020” by The New York Times and among the best shows of the year by The New Yorker and Hyperallergic. Her other books are On Racial Icons: Blackness and the Public Imagination (Rutgers University Press, 2015), and Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness (University of Chicago Press, 2011), which was the recipient of the 2012 Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize of the American Studies Association. Fleetwood is also co-editor of Aperture magazine’s “Prison Nation” issue, which focuses on photography’s role in documenting mass incarceration. She is a series associate editor of the ten-volume series, Gender: Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks. With Sarah Tobias, she co-edited “The New Status Quo: Essays on Poverty in the United States and Beyond,” a special issue of Feminist Formations (Spring 2021). Her writing appears in African American Review, American Quarterly, Aperture, Artforum, Callaloo: Art and Culture in the African Diaspora, Granta, Hyperallergic, LitHub, The New York Times, Public Books, Public Culture, Signs, Social Text, art catalogues, and edited anthologies. Fleetwood has co/curated exhibitions and public programs on art and mass incarceration at MoMA PS1, Zimmerli Museum of Art, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Andrew Freedman Home, Aperture, Cleveland Public Library, Mural Arts Philadelphia, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, and Worth Rises. She is the inaugural Genevieve Young Writing Fellow of the Gordon Parks Foundation. Her work has been supported by Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, American Council of Learned Societies, the Art for Justice Fund, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers of the New York Public Library, Whiting Foundation, NJ Council for the Humanities, Schomburg Center for Research on Black Culture, Ford Foundation, Puffin Foundation, and Denniston Hill Residency. She is represented by Janklow & Nesbit and is finishing a nonfiction book titled Between the River and Railroad Tracks that will be published by Little, Brown.

Lauren Mackler is an independent curator and writer based in Los Angeles. In 2010, she founded Public Fiction, an ongoing forum for staging exhibitions, performances, and programs by contemporary artists and writers, as well as a journal with the same mission in print. Recently, she co-curated the 2020/21 Los Angeles biennial, Made in LA 2020: a version, at the Hammer Museum and The Huntington; co-edited Reynaldo Rivera published by Semiotext(e) and distributed by MIT Press; and co-published and edited Michael in Black by Nicole Miller published by CARA and Public Fiction. Mackler has organized exhibitions and catalogues for The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Artissima LIDO, Turin; the Berkeley Art Museum; Frieze Projects New York; the Hammer Museum; the MAK Center for Art and Architecture’s Schindler House; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. From 2017–2020, she was the managing editor of Sublevel — the literary magazine housed in the CalArts School of Critical Studies. She has been on faculty at the School of Visual Arts in New York, the UCLA Graduate Department of Art, and Otis College of Art and Design. Her art writing, essays, and criticism have appeared in exhibition catalogues and publications including Artforum, Art Agenda, BOMB, Cultured, Flash Art, Los Angeles Review of Books, Numéro, Prada Art Foundation, Walker Art Center’s Reader, and more. She is a fellow of the American Academy in Rome, and was awarded the Rome Prize in 2015.

Book Launch
Friday, February 3, 2023

Kindly RSVP here. Walk-ins are welcome on a first-come basis. Reservations are encouraged.

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.

Learn more about the publication here.
Books will be on hand for purchase.

Published by CARA/Public Fiction
edited by Nicole Miller and Lauren Mackler
designed by Public Fiction.

CARA is located at 225 West 13th Street.

Indoor masking is encouraged during our programs at this time. We ask that visitors stay home if feeling sick, or have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days. Testing is strongly recommended before joining us at CARA if feeling symptomatic. Masks will be available for free for anyone who needs one.

The closest wheelchair accessible subway is 14th St/8th Avenue station. The entry to CARA is ADA-compliant and our bookstore and galleries are barrier free throughout with all gender, wheelchair accessible bathrooms.