Photo by Autumn Knight, Complete Total Pleasure, 2019 (still).

Autumn Knight

Complete Total Pleasure

July 4 – September 4, 2019

On the High Line at 14th St.

Autumn Knight creates performances and videos that examine and reframe oversimplified ideas about race, gender, history, and marginalized peoples. Many of her works center around consumption, namely, the ways we take in and are taken in by one another. Knight explores the tension between desire and disgust, and the ways that those on the margins are often trapped between these polarities. Much of Knight’s recent work is inspired by bell hooks’ essay “Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance” and hooks’ analysis of the ways we understand, control, realize, and resist power.

For the High Line, Knight presents Complete Total Pleasure (2019), a new video work that considers how anhedonia—the inability to experience and feel pleasure—has the potential to be wielded as a form of power and control through systemic isolation. Through the lens of various black figures, this visual essay uses gesture, choreography, geography, architecture, and text to address anhedonia reinforced by architectural intimidation and subsequent modes of resistance.

Related event: a conversation with Autumn Knight and Robert Pruitt

Organized by Melanie Kress, High Line Art Associate Curator.

Artist bio

Autumn Knight is an interdisciplinary artist working in performance, installation, video, and text. She has performed at various institutions including Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois (2017); the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia (2018); Human Resources, Los Angeles, California (2019); and Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Germany (2018). Knight is the recipient of an Art Matters Grant (2018). Her work is held in the permanent collection of The Studio Museum in Harlem. Knight participated in the 2019 Whitney Biennial as a performance and video artist.


Lead support for High Line Art comes from Amanda and Don Mullen. Major support for High Line Art is provided by Shelley Fox Aarons and Philip E. Aarons, The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston, and the Charina Endowment Fund. High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council, under the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson.