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View of “Edgar Arceneaux,” 2012. Foreground: I Told Jesus, Change My Name, 2012. Background: Blind Pig City, Libraries, 2011–12. From the series “Blind Pig City,” 2009–.

Edgar Arceneaux

Maccarone | 630 Greenwich Street

View of “Edgar Arceneaux,” 2012. Foreground: I Told Jesus, Change My Name, 2012. Background: Blind Pig City, Libraries, 2011–12. From the series “Blind Pig City,” 2009–.

“I told Jesus, it would be all right, if he changed my name . . .” The soul singer’s voice trembles through the opening notes before swooping confidently down into the lower registers, as she tests out her conviction in varying intonation. Over the verses that follow, Jesus warns his “child” of the grave consequences of a new name: The world will surely turn away from her; even her family won’t know her. The seeker remains resolute, her voice formidable as it reaches the refrain: “It would be all right. . . .”

The old spiritual lies at the heart of Edgar Arceneaux’s twenty-three-minute film I Told Jesus, Change My Name, 2012, the focal point of his recent exhibition “Building Loving and Distrustful Relationships.” Shot on 16 mm and transferred to video, the work’s two channels were split onto either side of a freestanding wall that bisected the otherwise open room along a diagonal

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