Christopher Myers : Let the Mermaids Flirt with Me

Meridians | Art Basel Miami Beach | December 1–3, 2022
  • For the Meridians sector of Art Basel Miami Beach 2022, James Cohan is pleased to present Let The Mermaids Flirt with Me, 2022, a suite of stained glass paintings in lightboxes by Christopher Myers. Installed within a freestanding octagonal architectural structure, Let The Mermaids Flirt with Me, 2022, creates a chapel for contemplation of the illuminated compositions.

  • This monumental site-specific installation creates an atmospheric devotional space for Myer's deeply personal and poetic project. It is a visual exploration of the varied mythological, spiritual, and historical relationships between Black bodies, diaspora, and water.

  • That harrowing set of journeys across the water resonates through all of our cultural substance, the liminalities and hybridities, the displacements and disjunctures. The very hyphen that sails between the words African and American is a remnant of those ships from a few centuries ago.
    -Christopher Myers

  • Each of these panels draws its imagery from mythologies, narratives, and iconographies associated with the African diaspora and the African-American experience. Myers pulls from a wide range of sources: from the stories of water deities like Mami Wata and North Carolina low-country cymbees to the poetry of Langston Hughes and the words of Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Martin Luther King Jr. said that in the face of “the kind of physics,” the Bull Connors of the world wielded against our bodies and our spirits, we marshaled “the transphysics – we knew about…we had known water". Our songs, our myths, and our knowledges are rooted in opacities and liminalities, double-meanings and metaphors, the suggestive and the fluid. 


     – Christopher Myers

  • In his stained-glass paintings, Myers depicts individual figures as contemporary icons in a medium most commonly associated with sacred Christian architectural spaces.

  • Stained glass is a grand, old form associated with Europe that tells breathtaking stories of gods, love, war, and death, and asks big questions about the world around us. And yet, stained glass has other roots, global histories. It is a traditional form that holds all the stories of the world. 


    - Christopher Myers

  • Across the illuminated stained glass works, Let The Mermaids Flirt With Me filters collective and individual histories through the transformative materiality of narrative to speak powerfully to the present.




    What do stories tell us? Artists Cauleen Smith and Christopher Myers use narratives to counter official histories and call for social justice. In this panel, they discuss the possibilities of storytelling; by referencing various myths from the African continent around water and by revisiting the words of activists such as abolitionist Sojourner Truth, both artists weave together past and future narratives in their practices.


    Cauleen Smith, artist, New York

    Christopher Myers, artist, New York

    Moderator: Magalí Arriola, Director, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City


    TIME: Thu, Dec 1, 2022, 5pm - 6pm
    Further information HERE
  • About the artist

    About the artist

    Christopher Myers (b. New York City in 1974) earned his B.A. in Art-Semiotics and American Civilization from Brown University in 1995 and participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Studio Program in 1996. His work has been exhibited internationally at venues including MoMA PS1; Art Institute of Chicago; The Mistake Room, Guadalajara; Akron Art Museum; Contrast Gallery, Shanghai; Goethe-Institut, Accra; Kigali Genocide Memorial Center, Rwanda; San Art, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and the Studio Museum in Harlem. Myers is currently working on a Percent for Art Commission at the Brooklyn Brownsville Public Library, expected to be completed in 2022. His work is included in the permanent collections of institutions including the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Lucas Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Studio Museum in Harlem. LEARN MORE →