Jace Clayton

  • View of the Whitney Biennial 2022. From left: Mónica Arreola, works from the series “Valle San Pedro,” 2018–20; Danielle Dean, Long Low Line (Fordland), 2019. Photo: Ron Amstutz.

    Whitney Biennial 2022

    ALL BIENNIALS are architecture biennials. This is made especially clear in the eightieth edition of the Whitney Biennial 2022: “Quiet as It’s Kept,” which unfolds mainly across the museum’s fifth and sixth floors, respectively themed light and dark.

    A handful of works occupy other areas, such as Rodney McMillian’s shaft, 2021–22, an antimonumental dick joke in the form of a vascular painting-object not meant to be seen in its entirety. The enormous tube, covered in multicolored paint, spans six stories of the museum’s central stairwell. Fittingly, the

  • Covers, clockwise from left: Laminators Fofana’s Blues (Black Studies, 2020); Glia & Matthewdavid’s Gliamd (self-released, 2020); Sofia Kourtesis’s Fresia Magdalena (Technicolour, 2021); Geneva Skeen’s Double Blind (Touch Music/Fairwood Music, 2020); A. Kostis’s The Jail's a Fine School (Olvido/Mississippi, 2015); Colleen’s Captain of None (Thrill Jockey, 2015).
    music April 02, 2021

    Pluck, House, and Float

    For this playlist, I decided to focus on the three fundamentals of music: Pluck, House, and Float.

    Pluck: A spiky attack followed by a slow decay. Nearly all that we understand as the character of any given sound happens in its first milliseconds. And the noises that stay with us keep reverberating long after they're no longer heard. Chiweshe's mbira, guitars of The Ex and A. Kostis, Colleen's viola da gamba, Sudan Archives' violin.

    House: Sweat stains the difference between repeatability and desire. Clubs resist abstraction: Every night is the only night. Octo Octa's blush, Ngly's mumble, Sofia

  • View of “Carl Craig: Party/After-Party,” 2020, Dia:Beacon, New York. Photo: Bill Jacobson Studio.


    TECHNO WAS BORN BLACK in the American Midwest, although we have the twin engines of European connoisseurship and commercial interest to thank for the detailed hagiographies given to innovators like Carl Craig. Craig’s enormous influence is due as much to his label, Planet E Communications, as to his prolific output as a producer and DJ. In the early 1990s, his adventuresome yet accessible style formed an integral part of what fans call Detroit techno’s “second wave.” The most distinctive feature of Craig’s music may be its lack of distinctiveness. Always tasteful, his most idiosyncratic and

  • Still from Kodak Black’s 2018 video Zeze, directed by Travis Scott.

    Jace Clayton

    Jace Clayton is an artist and writer based in New York also known for his work as DJ /rupture.


    This was a terrible year to be a person of color in America. In this sense, it was like all other years. Rap sonics bypass language to evoke this exhaustion in a form that allows for joy. Here, the sweet-sad beat crafted around a hesitant steel-drum melody underpins the rappers’ ambivalence regarding success under such conditions: “All my niggas locked up, for real, I’m tryna help ’em / When I got a mil’, got me the chills, don’t know what

  • Christian Marclay, Untitled, 1997, altered record cover, 12 1⁄4 × 12 1⁄4". From the series “Imaginary Records,” 1988–97.

    Christian Marclay

    GOOD DJS TREAT THEIR RECORDS BADLY. The more you mix other people’s music into your own, the more you have to exploit vinyl’s stubborn physicality, pushing the bounds of that analog zone where ephemeral sound solidifies into plastic. In the 1980s, the Swiss American artist and influential turntablist Christian Marclay smashed his records with a hammer, glued the shards together, and played that chaotic assemblage—offering a punk-inspired take on 1970s performance art refreshed by the then-emergent figure of the disc jockey.

    Much of the work in the exhibition “Christian Marclay: Compositions” at

  • Carl Stone and Miki Yui. Photo: Markus Luigs.
    music May 14, 2019

    Stream Logic

    ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR, if we are lucky, the corporations that stockpile and sell data generated by our digital habits share a glimpse of it with us. For Spotify, this happens in December. “You listened to 3,436 different songs on Spotify this year,” ran the Swedish streaming company’s automatically personalized email to me (and roughly two-hundred million other users)—“but which will be your #1?” I clicked through, certain that Carl Stone’s 1986 “Shing Kee” was top of my list.

    Carl Stone has been cutting music into very small pieces for a very long time. His oeuvre constitutes a powerful investigation


    IN 1969, drummer G. C. Coleman played a seven-second solo on “Amen, Brother,” an instrumental gospel tune by the Winstons sold as the B side to “Color Him Father.” The track’s brief percussion “break” was mostly overlooked until 1986, when two DJs from the Bronx presented Coleman’s work on the first LP of their enormously influential compilation series Ultimate Breaks and Beats, from which it scattered far and wide, via sampling, across music history. The Amen break, as it became known, was first used to create hip-hop beats, then went on to grace everything from TV jingles to David Bowie’s 1997