Jeremy is an artist, and over the past thirty years has curated exhibitions of, and written widely on, many aspects of contemporary art and culture.
Jeremy joined the RCA to help develop and launch the MA in Critical Writing in Art and Design, and has taught on the programme — now called MA Writing — ever since. In 2019 he was made Acting Head of Programme, and Head of Programme in 2021.
In 2016 Jeremy joined the newly-established MA Contemporary Art Practice as Pathway Leader for Critical Practice.
Jeremy has successfully supervised PhD students to completion, and has contributed to numerous PGR study groups and workshops.
Jeremy is also a member of the RCA’s Learning and Teaching Committee, the Taught Student Ethics Committee, and the School of Arts and Humanities’ Research Development Group, and Learning and Teaching Development Group.
Jeremy’s research approach is one of gathering — of people, of artworks, of objects, of events — and an interest in what might happen when these are brought together. Often these relate to aspects of history that have been overlooked, and might relate to an unremarkable event in the life of someone otherwise celebrated; always they are concerned with history, how one might activate it, and in so doing, alter its meaning.
Subjects on which he has undertaken research, and written or made public presentations, include: John Cage; the representation of death; Roni Horn; speed as a cultural phenomenon; Aby Warburg; ecstasy; Freud’s couch; rules-based composition methods; Pierre Huyghe; Jean-Jacques Rousseau; magic; WG Sebald; dandyism; Lisa Robertson; nothingness; Emily Dickinson; Arthur Rimbaud; shame; Raymond Roussel; the impossibility of representing the Shoah; Tacita Dean; the essay-film; Bali and the invention of schizophrenia; Peter Fischli and David Weiss; place; Anne Carson; Classical Chinese aesthetics; Robert Smithson; the colour black; John Dee; the search for the North-West Passage; Wittgenstein in Ireland; JG Ballard; the history of porcelain; John Ruskin; the invention of the atom bomb; Chris Marker; jokes; SI Witkiewicz, Bronislaw Malinowski, and the development of anthropological fieldwork in Papua New Guinea; swearing; Gian Lorenzo Bernini; the chess games of Marcel Duchamp; silence; Susan Howe’s collages; gestures; archives.
This ‘afterlife’ of an event — which may be an emotion, or the making of an object — can be explored in numerous ways, whether an artist’s film or lecture, a sculpture or written text; an interest in the representation of shame, for example, has led to a large-scale mobile, a series of fabric wall-hangings, and a visual essay-lecture.
Recent projects include ‘writing through’ the works of others in order that some of their qualities — an original strangeness, or sense of violence, for example — might be considered once more; these found texts include: the poems of Emily Dickinson; a lecture given on the work of Piero Della Francesca; and technical conservation reports published by the National Gallery.
The poems based upon the works of Dickinson were written using lines selected using a particular composition process and exist as collaged texts, and will form the basis of a song cycle.
More generally, Jeremy is interested in the role of writing within contemporary artistic practices, and within art schools, and is developing a broader research project in order that this might be considered further.
AHRC Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in the Creative and Performing Arts, University of Oxford, 2007–2020
Shortlisted — Artangel Open, 2014
Associate Artist, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, 2012–2013
AHRC Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in the Creative and Performing Arts, University of Oxford, 2007–10
Nesta Fellowship, 2004–07
Winner — Arts Foundation Curating Fellowship, 2004
Judge — Citigroup Photography Prize, 2004
Judge — Alfred Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung für Zeitgenössische Deutsche Fotografie, Museum Folkwang, Essen, 2002
Judge — Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards to Artists, 2001
Judge — Spectrum Photography Prize, Hannover, 1995
Winner — Out There Curating Prize, Arts Council of Great Britain/Institute of Contemporary Art, London, 1994
Current and recent projects
material / rearranged / to / be
The Curve, Barbican, London, 20–28 January 2017
Tramway, Glasgow, 21–30 April 2017
The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, 6–14 May 2017
Bluecoat, Liverpool, 1–9 July 2017.
material / rearranged / to / be was a touring performance-exhibition co-conceived with the choreographer Siobhan Davies CBE, and developed with leading visual and dance artists, as well as academic experts in diverse fields, from art history to the neurosciences. It is the largest and most ambitious project that Siobhan Davies Dance (SDD) has undertaken, and an attempt to devise a new form of developing and presenting different art forms within galleries. m/r/t/b was an assemblage of works developed by the artists individually, or in collaborative pairs, each contributor working with the main themes established by Davies and Millar.
The new works Millar made for m/r/t/b were two Melancholy Mobiles. Although somewhat reminiscent of Alexander Calder’s floating and balancing forms, Calder’s two-dimensional floating shapes were replaced with three-dimensional ‘Dürer Solids’ — the mysterious polyhedron that appears prominently in Albrecht Dürer’s famous 1514 engraving Melancholia I. Made of dark, lustrous material, the forms do not suggest the playfulness normally associated with mobiles; rather, they recall the depression from which Warburg suffered throughout his life, and the ‘Saturnine’ character which many artists are said to possess. Here melancholy is presented as an ongoing process of balance, something which allows the making of a certain beauty and grace, but which also requires care and attention.
Millar also devised the modular display system which was used throughout the project, and could be adapted to a variety of uses: as a framing device; as a translucent screen onto which videos could be projected; and as a solid screen to create smaller spaces and alter sight-lines. The system was designed to be dismantled and moved by the dance artists, and Millar was involved in devising the overall performance-exhibition score which established how, when, and where this was done.
Given the extent of the research undertaken in this project, it was important that a publication was produced in which some of it, at least, could be shared. Millar devised the extent of the publication with Lauren Wright, producer with SDD, which included a picture essay at the start — influenced by Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas — a conversation with members of the Bildefahrzeuge Group at the Warburg Institute, and an introduction by Siobhan Davies; Lauren Wright and Millar also contributed essays, hers on the works included in the show, and Millar’s an introduction to the themes of time in the event, and why Warburg’s work was important to us in considering this.
Publications, exhibitions, other outcomes
Millar, J, ed. Overlay: Cathy Haines, Nancy Holt, Hannah Lees, Zoë Paul, Claire Potter. (2016) London: White Rainbow
Millar, J and Malbert, R, ed. (2010). Every Day is a Good Day: The Visual Art of John Cage, London: Hayward Touring
Bode, S, Ernst, N, and Millar, J, ed. (2007). Waterlog. London: Film and Video Umbrella
Millar, J. Fischli and Weiss: The Way Things Go. (2007) London: Afterall Books
Dean, T, and Millar, J. (2005) Place. London: Thames and Hudson. Also, an American edition, as well as translations into French and German.
Millar, J and Schwarz, M, ed. (1998) Speed — Visions of an Accelerated Age. London: The Photographers’ Gallery and Whitechapel Art Gallery
Bode, S and Millar, J, ed. (1997). Airport. London: The Photographers’ Gallery
Millar, J. (1996). Confessions. London: Book Works
Millar, J, ed. (1995). The Institute of Cultural Anxiety — Works from the Collection London: Institute of Contemporary Art
Selected Published Writing
‘Bruce Connor’s “Breakaway”, November 26, 2019–February 22, 2020, Thomas Dane Gallery, London’, 31 January 2020, https://www.art-agenda.com/features/313254/bruce-conner-s-breakaway
‘Mike Nelson’s “The Asset Strippers”, March 18–October 6, 2019, Tate Britain, London’, 11 September 2019, https://www.art-agenda.com/features/286504/mike-nelson-s-the-asset-strippers
‘Beatrice Gibson’s “Crone Music”, January 18–March 31, 2019, Camden Arts Centre, London’, 27 March 2019, https://www.art-agenda.com/features/260771/beatrice-gibson-s-crone-music
‘Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s “Earwitness Theatre”, September 21–December 9, 2018, Chisenhale Gallery, London’, 28 November 2018, https://www.art-agenda.com/features/242197/lawrence-abu-hamdan-s-earwitness-theatre
‘Emily Dickinson’, in Beber, E, ed. (2015) The Bodies That Remain. London: Punctum Books
‘Mai-Thu Perret’s “Zone”, November 23, 2016–February 4, 2017, Simon Lee Gallery, London’, 31 January 2017, https://www.art-agenda.com/features/239744/mai-thu-perret-s-zone
‘Liverpool Biennale’, in art-agenda, 14 July 2016 http://www.art-agenda.com/reviews/liverpool-biennial/
‘Saul Leiter’, in Frieze, issue 177, March 2016 http://www.frieze.com/shows/review/saul-leiter/
‘One Note from One Bird is Better Than a Million Words’, in Finlay, A (2015) I Hear Her Cry. Edinburgh: Ingleby Gallery
‘In. Border. Deep.’ (on Pierre Huyghe), Art Agenda, 21 October, http://www.art-agenda.com/reviews/pierre-huyghe%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Cin-border-deep%E2%80%9D/
‘The Bride and the Bachelors’, and ‘Robert Rauschenberg’, Barbican Art Gallery, and Gagosian, London, in Frieze, issue 155, May 2013
‘Time Traveller’ (on Chris Marker), in Frieze, issue 150, October 2012
‘John Cage: musicians and artists on a legend’, The Guardian, 15 August 2012
‘Chris Marker’s vision will live on’, guardian.co.uk, 6 August 2012
‘Fischli and Weiss: The Art of Humour’, The Guardian, 5 June 2012
‘Camouflage’, ‘Black’, and ‘Mirror’ in Roni Horn aka Roni Horn (2009) New York: Whitney Museum of American Art
‘La Foto Chiara: Some Thoughts Towards a Neorealist Photography’ in Eskildsen, U, ed. (2008) Street and Studio. London: Tate Publishing
‘Speak, You Also’, in Bode, S, and Millar, J, ed. (2005) Ori Gersht: The Clearing (London: Film and Video Umbrella)
‘Poets of Their Own Affairs’ in Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane: Folk Archive: Contemporary Popular Art from the UK (2005) London: Bookworks
‘Ordo Ab Chao’ in Mike Nelson: Triple Bluff Canyon (2004) Oxford: Modern Art Oxford
Selected Solo Exhibitions (artist)
Museum Stzuki, Lodz, Poland
Whitstable Biennale, UK
The Oblate, Southampton City Art Gallery, UK
Mondegreen, Project Arts Centre, Dublin
Collaborative two-person exhibition with Canadian artist, Geoffrey Farmer.
Resemblances, Sympathies, and Other Acts, CCA, Glasgow, UK
Selected Group Exhibitions and Screenings (artist)
The Feuilleton: I Will Bear Witness, Spoleto, Italy. Curated by Jo Melvin.
Metaphoria III, Centre 104, Paris. Curated by Silvia Guerra.
The Other Dark: Tacita Dean, Jeremy Millar and Nashashibi/Skaer, Sirius Art Centre, Cobh, Ireland Curated by Kirstie North.
material / rearranged / to / be, collaboration with Siobhan Davies Dance, Barbican Curve, London (touring to Tramway, Glasgow; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; Bluecoat, Liverpool)
Scholar, Courtier, Magician: the Lost Library of John Dee, Royal College of Physicians, London
Centre Pompidou, Paris
Jakarta Biennale, Jakarta, Indonesia
Self, Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK
Made in China, Willis Museum, Basingstoke, UK
Curiosity: Art and the Pleasure of Knowing, Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK; then touring to Norwich and Amsterdam. Curated by Brian Dillon.
The World is Almost Six Thousand Years Old, The Collection, Lincoln, UK. Curated by Tom Morton.
Mythographies, Yaffo23, Jerusalem, Israel. Curated by Roy Brand
Selected Exhibitions (curator)
John Cage— Lecture on the Weather, Frith Street Gallery, London
Overlay, White Rainbow, London
Notes on Gesture (I, II, III), Siobhan Davies Dance, London
Every Day is a Good Day — The Visual Art of John Cage, Hayward Touring (travelling to Baltic, Gateshead; Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge; Museum and Art Gallery, Huddersfield; Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow; De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea; Hayward Project Space; London)
Waterlog (Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, and The Collection, Lincoln)
Make Life Beautiful! The Dandy in Photography from 1850 until the Present Day, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, UK
Peter Fraser and Rachel Harrison, University of Brighton Gallery, UK
Boris Mikhailov, Gardner Arts Centre, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK
Peter Fraser, The Photographers’ Gallery, London
escape, Media City Seoul 2000, Seoul, South Korea
New Contemporaries 2000, (selected with Gavin Turk and Sarah Kent) Milton Keynes Gallery; Cornerhouse, Manchester, and touring
Boris Mikhailov, The Photographers’ Gallery, London
Blue Suburban Skies, The Photographers’ Gallery, London
MayDay, The Photographers’ Gallery, London
Alexander and Susan Maris, RAM Galleri, Oslo
Speed, The Photographers’ Gallery, London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, and MacDonald Stewart Art Gallery, Guelph, Canada
Airport, The Photographers’ Gallery, London
Roman Signer / David Shrigley, The Photographers’ Gallery, London
Philip-Lorca diCorcia, The Photographers’ Gallery, London
Larry Clark — Kids, The Photographers’ Gallery, London
The Speed of Light, The Speed of Sound, Netherlands Design Institute, Amsterdam
I am Curious, Green, Hales Gallery, London
The Institute of Cultural Anxiety — Works from the Collection, ICA, London
External collaborations and activities
2022: Editorial Board, JAWS (Journal of Art Writing by Students)