Artists Reach Out: NIC Kay - Gibney
Week of July 7, 2020
Making space for

Artists Reach Out: NIC Kay

Headshot of NIC Kay


Senior Curatorial Director Eva Yaa Asantewaa dreamed this series of interviews, Artists Reach Out: reflections in a time of isolation, out of grief for her work both as a documenting arts writer and curator of live performance.

“In this time of social distancing, we are called to responsibly do all we can to safeguard ourselves and our neighbors. It is, literally, a matter of life and death.

But there’s no distancing around what we still can share with one another—our experiences, thoughts, wisdom, humor, hearts and spirit. In some ways, there are more opportunities to do so as we pull back from everyday busyness out in the world and have time to honor the call of our inner lives.

So, let me introduce you to some artists I find interesting. I’m glad they’re part of our beautiful community, and I’m eager to engage with them again (or for the first time) in years to come.” – Eva Yaa Asantewaa, Senior Curatorial Director

This interview features NIC Kay, artist and a 2018 American Realness artist.

NIC Kay is an artist who was born in the Bronx, NY.

NIC approaches space and objects with a choreographic motivation and the body with a sculptural eye. They attempt to use all the tools and materials of performative spaces; theaters, galleries, streets, nightclubs a.o. to recreate moments of glitch – interruption – pause.

They have published their first book COTTON DREAMS with Candor Arts in 2020.

Photo courtesy of the artist.

Do you have a current or planned project whose progress is affected by the pandemic?

First, I’d like to say that I am deeply honored to be able to make art as my work/contribution. During this pandemic, I am reminded of the precarious nature of the arts’ economies and how unprepared institutions are to support all their workers through global crisis. The negligence of these micro power brokers mirror the villainous actions of many politicians and corporations around the United States.

Since, March 10, eight separate performance engagements between March and September have been cancelled with no foreseeable rescheduling. The book release event for Cotton Dreams was to be on April 23 at the Center for Book Arts but was cancelled.

The future of many of the projects I am working on in various stages of development is uncertain. I haven’t been able to make any progress on any performance-related projects in the past two months but have instead been working on several quilts.

Briefly, tell me about how you got involved in the arts and in your particular practice.

I began my practice with movement explorations in nightclubs and, on the Internet in 2010, I began to develop a solo practice concerned with performance in all its forms in relation to desire and artifice. I am obsessed with the act and process of moving, the change of place, production of space, position, and the clarity or meaning obtained from shifting of perspective. I approach space and objects with a choreographic motivation and the body with a sculptural eye.

Performance is my mode, material, and theme. My works are situated within a minimalist aesthetic and use the body, space, architecture, and site-responsivity to pose abstract choreographies attempting to appropriate the glitch – interruption – pause.

In a more specific way, what are you practicing? And what are you envisioning?

I am practicing tenderness. Which includes not working and taking this global interruption as a opportunity to pause. I am envisioning a performance practice that can continue to meet the people where they are, be it outside, inside, downside, or sideways. I have never been beholden to the physical stage as a requirement for performance. So, there are a lot of directions my work can travel.

Photo courtesy of the artist.

How does your practice and your visioning align with what you most care about?

I engage in art as a daily practice, because I believe in the power of singular and collective transformation through creative exercises that can foster criticality.

I make in the tradition of Black, Non-Binary, Queer communities who have and continue to utilize art as a mode of remembering and survival.

How does your practice function within the world we have now?

I am truly unsure but because this is all so fresh. I will need time to know how I’d like my practice to function in this current time.

Briefly share one self-care tip that has special meaning to you now.

I truly believe in taking a good bath.


To read all of Eva Yaa Asantewaa’s Artists Reach Out interviews, visit