notes towards becoming a spill

Rockaway Beach Entrance at Beach 110th St, Queens, NY 11694

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Oct 23, 9:00 pm—10:00 pm

Oct 24, 9:00 pm—10:00 pm

LIVE STREAM: October 24, click Watch Live, top right corner

Philadelphia-born, Pittsburgh-based artist Shikeith will create an experimental opera that tangles history, myth, and biography into an epic story of metamorphoses, using the elemental nature of the beach––the ocean, the ebb and flow of the tide, and the never-ending sand––to explore transformation in all its forms. The aesthetic and staging of Shikeith’s first major performance is inspired by his artistic contemplations on hauntology, a concept referring to the return or persistence of elements from the past along with African-American histories attached to the color blue. Working with choreographer Morgan Bobrow-Williams, musical artist Rashad McPherson, and costume designer Carlos Soto, as well as an array of performers from inside the New York queer community, the artist will re-contextualize dominant ideas of Black masculinity in a tale of a contemporary man whose identity is, in part, marked by the history of American colonialism.

Curated by Job Piston, Performa Associate Curator at Large

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Press Release

Performance Program






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O' my body, make of me a man who always questions! (2020).Archival Inkjet Print, 50 × 60 inches. Courtesy of the Artist and Yossi Milo Gallery.


Shikeith: notes towards becoming a spill is supported by Toby Devan Lewis, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Heinz Endowment.
Special thanks to the Rockaway Hotel for hosting Shikeith and performers for a 10-day residency leading up the opening of notes towards becoming a spill.

Altos: Tradonia Baker, Amanda Barise, Nia Drummond, Jazmin McCray, Kareda Robinson, Monet Ulerio
Sopranos: DaChelle Antoine, Nakia Cook, Crystal Fauntleroy, Tyneshia Hill, Keeara Powell, Brianna Turner
Tenors: Daniel King, Johnny Lowe, Darnell Pittman, Michael Reid, Brian Wright

Maxi Hawkeye Canion, Angel Glasby, Kehari Huthcinson, Alemu Lattanzio, Raymond Pinto

Keyboard: Evan Ferguson
Bass Guitar and Programming: DeVaughn Denegall
Drum Synth/Programming: Jonny Fung

Musical Director and Composer/Arranger: Rashad McPherson
Choreographer: Morgan Bobrow-Williams
Costumes: Carlos Soto and Victoria Bek
Producer: Bob Kalas
Stage Manager: Cassie Fraser

Sound: Jim Toth, Jupiter Sound
Staging: Revamp RBNY

Associate Curator at Large: Job Piston
Managing Director & Executive Producer: Esa Nickle
Senior Producer & Manager of Media Initiatives: Sasha Okshteyn
Producer: Bob Kalas
Performa 2021 Biennial Fellow: Nectar Knuckles
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Portrait of Shikeith

Photo by Shikeith

ABOUT Shikeith

Shikeith was born in Philadelphia, PA, and lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA. Recent exhibitions and screenings include: Feeling the Spirit in Darkness, Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh (2020); The Language Must Not Sweat, Locust Projects, Miami (2019); Notes Towards Becoming A Spill, Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta (2019); Shikeith: This was his body/His body finally his, MAK Gallery, London (2018); Go Tell It: Civil Rights Photography, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle (2016); A Drop of Sun Under The Earth, MOCA LA, Los Angeles (2019); Labor Relations, Wroclaw Contemporary Museum, Poland (2017); and Black Intimacy: An Evening With Shikeith, Museum of Modern Art, New York, (2017). He is a 2019 recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grants. He received a BA from The Pennsylvania State University and an MFA in Sculpture from The Yale School of Art.