About

Jace Clayton is an artist and writer based in Manhattan, also known for his work as DJ /rupture. Clayton uses an interdisciplinary approach to focus on how sound, memory, and public space interact, with an emphasis on low-income communities and the global South. His book Uproot: Travels in 21st Century Music and Digital Culture was published in 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He serves on the Music faculty of Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts and is currently teaching a seminar on ‘Interdisciplinary Temporalities in Performance’ at Harvard University.

A rigorous conceptual framework grounds Clayton as he move across areas as diverse as software design, composition of choral works, or turntablism. As so many of our ways of communicating with each other and experiencing the world translate to the digital and dematerialize, he reflects on what is lost, what new possibilities emerge, and contemporary art’s role in contouring these changes. These considerations inform his work, which often draws on populist modes of expression in combination with a critical approach to technology.

Recent projects include Sufi Plug Ins, a free suite of music software-as-art, based on non-western conceptions of sound and alternative interfaces; Room 21, an evening-length composition for 20 musicians staged at the Barnes Foundation; and The Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner, a touring performance piece for grand pianos, electronics, and voice.

Clayton has performed in over three dozen countries, both solo and as director of large ensemble performances. He gives frequent artist talks and keynote lectures at a number of cultural institutions worldwide. Since 2018 his work has been exhibited internationally.

Harvard Art Museums’ staged Clayton’s solo exhibition, The Great Salt, in 2018, and Sharjah Art Foundation commissioned a large-scale installation for their 2019 biennial.

Clayton places a strong emphasis on working globally (often outside of the traditional gallery or tour circuits), cross-cultural collaboration, and a Do-It-Yourself ethic. At the same time, he’s invested in dialogues surrounding contemporary art, something he engages with via his critical writing and lectures. Clayton’s essays have appeared in ARTFORUM, Frieze, and New York Times Magazine.

As DJ /rupture, he has released several critically acclaimed albums and hosted a weekly radio show on WFMU for five years. Clayton’s collaborators include filmmakers Jem Cohen, Joshua Oppenheimer, poet Elizabeth Alexander, singer Norah Jones, and guitarist Andy Moor (The Ex).

Clayton was awarded the 2019 Follow Fluxus – After Fluxus grant from the Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden, where he his solo exhibition White Noise as a Call to Responsibility is on view through May 2020. Clayton served as the 2017-2018 Duke University/ University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Nannerl Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professor. He is a 2014 New York Foundation for the Arts Nonfiction Literature fellow, a 2013 Creative Capital Performing Arts grantee, and recipient of a Foundation for Contemporary Art artists award. He joined the Music/Sound faculty of Bard College’s MFA program in 2013. Clayton has been an artist-in-residence with the Harvard Art Museums, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Eyebeam Art + Technology Atelier, and was a USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism fellow.

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This 7-minute artist’s talk provides a good introduction.