The Queue: A Letter to Joyce J. Scott

The Queue: A Letter to Joyce J. Scott

Performance artist and sculptor Malcolm Peacock reflects on our 2020 Gold Medalist as an influence and inspiration.

Published on Monday, November 23, 2020.
Cover graphic for The Queue featuring Malcolm Peacock and Joyce J. Scott

Exploring Legacy through The Queue

With the October/November issue of American Craft celebrating the legacies of our 2020 award winners, we’re inviting them – as well as the people they've influenced and inspired – to share personal reflections on their outstanding careers.

In praise of an unflinching spirit

"At the same time that you refuse to look away from difficult subjects, you also refuse to be rendered invisible." In this week's Queue post, Louisiana-based artist Malcolm Peacock shares a letter to ACC's 2020 Gold Medalist, Joyce J. Scott. Malcolm reflects not only on Joyce's mastery of her craft but also on the unwavering focus and call to action in her work.

Read more about Joyce's career and impact on the craft field in the "Honoring Accomplishments" feature from the October/November issue of American Craft.

Letter to Joyce J. Scott

Dear Joyce,

“It’s chewing on me.” These four words, you uttered in 2016. In the summer of that year, we met at a retreat for artists living in Baltimore which was hosted by a formerly standing nomadic museum, The Contemporary. A few months later, you were awarded a grant from the MacArthur Foundation.

There is something quite mesmerizing about your work. Perhaps, it is the shimmering of your intricate unmatched mastery of craft. Or maybe it’s the way in which distorted and mutilated bodies in history are handled with such care and honor. All of these facets are present in your work. But for me, it is the unflinching spirit of you and your artistry that reign supreme.

Your desire to respond to a calling is what sits on me as I reflect on your historical impact. At the same time that you refuse to look away from difficult subjects, you also refuse to be rendered invisible. If anyone listens to you speak or sing, there is light that will linger on them. Your sculptures possess the same range as your voice.

“It’s chewing on me.” It seems that you have always been asking us, are we swallowing or are we speaking? You’re resonant beyond escape.

~ Malcolm Peacock

Portrait of Malcolm Peacock
Portrait of Joyce Scott

Portraits: Courtesy of the Artists

Malcolm Peacock is an artist living and working in New Orleans, Louisiana. He earned a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, in 2016, and an MFA from Rutgers University, New Jersey, in 2019. He is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice examines emotional and psychic spaces of Black subjects. Peacock is particularly interested in the intricacies of intimacy. He has shown with Cindy Rucker Gallery, New York, Terrault Contemporary, Baltimore, and Rose Arcade, Baltimore, among other venues. He has been a participant in residencies at The University of Pennsylvania, St. Roch Community Church, Denniston Hill, and The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. | @issapeacock

Help make American Craft Council programming possible

As a national nonprofit, we are documenting the evolution of the studio craft movement, honoring its visionaries, and providing craft resources for generations to come. We need your support to make it happen. Please consider donating or joining today to help make programs like the ACC Awards and The Queue possible.

Donate  Become a member

Ad from Alfred Ceramic Art Museum