M Lamar, in full goth garb. (Photo by Amos Mac)

Southern Gothic and Goth-Kid Makeup: M Lamar on Racialized Art and Black Leather

Musician, composer, and performer M Lamar proudly calls himself a Yale dropout. After leaving the ivy’s masters program in sculpture, he studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and devoted himself to music, creating haunting compositions that merge post-punk, goth, and heavy-metal stylings with more classical formats, including black spirituals, gospel, and opera. An invitation last year to create an exhibition at Participant gallery in Brooklyn, however, brought M Lamar back to art, and last week, his first complete body of work, Negrogothic, opened at SFAI. Anchored by an immersive video projection starring many of his friends, the show weaves music, performance, and film into a suite of graphic, surrealistic narratives that explore racial and sexual histories—particularly the legacy of slavery in America, and its continued ramifications—from the artist’s personal perspective as a homosexual black man living today.

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