Nicole Miller

The Conductor

January 2014 – March 2014

High Line Channel 22, Seating Steps, on the High Line at West 22nd Street

January 23 – March 12, 2014
4:30 PM until the park closes

In her films and installations, Nicole Miller explores the transformative capabilities of the moving image to reconstruct interpretations of self and culture. Specifically, Miller’s videos focus on the interplay between preconception and reality in terms of African American identity. In Miller’s hands, film transforms into a powerful storytelling tool wielded for the possible reconstitution of lost histories and identities.

For the High Line, Miller presents her silent seven-minute video work, The Conductor (2009). The video depicts an African American young man in a blazer and Jimi Hendrix t-shirt against a nonspecific background of gold, white, and crimson bursts of color. His head jerks and his face contorts and stretches, ranging in expression from bliss to concern, as his body seems to spasm. The viewer’s original preconceptions of a disturbed subject are overturned only with the aid of the title. The man’s expressive motions reflect his occupation – he is conducting an orchestra. Lacking a conductor’s baton, symphony space, musicians, and sound, the protagonist is completely divorced from its functional context.

Photos by Timothy Schenck.

Artist bio

Nicole Miller (b. 1982, Arizona) lives and works in Los Angeles. Recent solo exhibitions include LAXART, Los Angeles (2009) and Roski Gallery, University of Southern California, Los Angeles (2009). Selected group exhibitions include Made in L.A. 2012, Los Angeles Biennial (2012); Dallas Biennale, Dallas Contemporary (2012); The Bearden Project, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2011); 2010 Art Video, Art Basel Miami Beach (2010); and Psychosomatic Acid Test, Royal Academy of the Arts, London (2009).


High Line Art is presented by Friends of the High Line and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Major support for High Line Art comes from Donald R. Mullen, Jr. and the Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston, with additional funding provided by David Zwirner Gallery, and Vital Projects Fund, Inc. 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.