Joseph Clayton Mills is an artist, composer, and performer working at the intersection of language, composition, and archival practice. His text-based paintings, assemblages, and sound installations have been exhibited in the United States and Europe, including at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and his work has appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker. A former Chicagoan, he remains an active participant in the improvised and experimental music community there, where his collaborators have included Adam Sonderberg and Steven Hess (as Haptic), Michael Vallera (as Maar), Noé Cuéllar (as Parital), Marvin Tate, Michael Pisaro, and Olivia Block, among many others. His recordings have appeared on numerous labels, including Another Timbre, FSS, and Entr’acte, and in 2013 in he launched Suppedaneum, a label focused on releasing scores and their realizations. He has received commissions and grants from the Chicago Film Archive, Black Cinema House (Rebuild Foundation), the Illinois Arts Council, the Experimental Sound Studio, and, in 2016, was artist in residence at the Sonic Arts Research Unit at Oxford Brookes University, UK.
Joseph Clayton Mills (b. 1971, US)
Northwestern University, MA 1999
University of Chicago, BA 1993
2019 Voice Crossing (Art Kiosk, Redwood City, CA)
2018 Composition/Decomposition: Texts, Erasures, and Scores (Fletcher Library, Arizona State University, Glendale, AZ)
2012 The Patient (Audible Gallery, Experimental Sound Studio [ESS], Chicago, IL)
2011 Efface/expunge/erase/delete (Schlössli, Basel, Switzerland)
2011 ConText (Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL)
2007 Echographs (Elastic Arts, Chicago, IL)
2007 Annie Laurie (cytO Gallery, Chicago, IL)
2006 Last Words (cytO Gallery, Chicago, IL)
2005 Joseph Clayton Mills: New Works (Filter, Chicago, IL)
2005 The Writer (Myopic Books, Chicago, IL)
Selected Group Exhibitions, Installations, and Museum Performances
2021 Illuminate Coral Gables (The Passage, video and audio installation, Coral Gables, FL)
Audiograft Festival of Experimental Music and Sound Art (short films, Oxford, UK)
2018 Creating Home (audio for installation by Megan Rodgers, Schusev State Museum of Architecture, Moscow, Russia)
2017 Ten X Ten (curated by ESS, Homeroom, and Spudnik Press, Chicago, IL)
2016 Run for President/The Conjured Life w/Haptic (Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL)
2016 Fourth Horizon (audio for installation by Susy Bielak/Fred Schmalz, ESS, Chicago, IL)
2015 Reductive : Four (Hundred Years Gallery, London, UK)
2015 Abeyance w/Haptic (Lincoln Park Conservatory, Chicago, IL)
2011 Surface Tension (Robert Wright Gallery, College of Lake County, Grayslake, IL)
2011 Laughter and Tears w/Olivia Block and Lou Mallozzi (Pritzker Pavillion, Millennium Park,
2011 Chicago, IL)
2011 Three plus three w/Haptic (Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL)
2010 Exhibition in a package (Public Surface, Stockholm, Sweden)
2010 Requiem w/Annie Feldmeier Adams, Steven Hess, Brendan Burke (Lincoln Park
2010 Conservatory, Chicago, IL)
2009 Triptych w/Haptic and Lisa Slodki (Museum of Contemporary Art, 12 X 12 Gallery,
2009 Chicago, IL)
2009 Fields have Ears (The Cube, Bristol, UK)
2007 Five Senses (Northbrook Public Library, Northbrook, IL)
2006 Spectacle Lunatique (Redmoon Theater Company, Chicago, IL)
Residencies, grants, and awards
2016 Sonic Arts Research Unit (Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK)
2014 Illinois Arts Council Grant (to ESS for collaboration between Joseph Clayton Mills
2014 and Marvin Tate)
2011 Experimental Music Workshop (CalArts, Valencia, CA)
2008 Community Arts Assistance Program grant
2006 Community Arts Assistance Program grant
2018 Syllables (for Mike Weis) (performed by Slow Bell Trio, Constellation, Chicago, IL)
2017 Pieces for Strings (performed by Stephen Chase, Patrick Farmer, Ryoko Akama, Sheffield, UK)
Corvus corax (commissioned for the 2nd Annual Festival of Poets Theater, Sector 2237,
2017 Chicago, IL)
2016 Vessels (Bang the Bore, The Cube, Bristol, UK)
2015 The Patient (UK premiere; Church of St. John the Evangelist, Oxford, UK)
2014 Table I (performed by Billie Howard, Sector 2237, Chicago, IL)
2014 Mourning Piece, second variation (commissioned for the Experimental Music Yearbook;
2014 performed by Ben Owen, New York, NY)
2012 The Patient (commissioned for Outer Ear Festival, ESS, Chicago, IL)
2010 H (with Noe Cuellar and Carol Genetti; commissioned by Jessica Turcios for Pay No
2010 Attention to the Man behind the Curtain, Chicago, IL)
College of Lake County (Grayslake, IL)
Private collections in Chicago, New York, Basel, Los Angeles, London, and elsewhere.
Akiwowo, Nola. Joseph Clayton Mills: Mixed Media Artist Explores the Dark Side of His Subjects. Centerstage Chicago. August 13, 2007. http://www.centerstagechicago.com.
Bolaño, Roberto. The Meeting with Enrique Lihn (illustration). The New Yorker. December 22, 2008.http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2008/12/22/081222fi_fiction_bolano.
Chauveau, Sylvain. Down to the Bone (cover). Nature Bliss, 2007.
Cristal: Homegoing (cover). FSS, 2010.
Fred Lonberg-Holm Quartet: Bridges Freeze Before Roads (cover). Longbox, 2006.
Lely, John, and James Saunders. Word Events: Perspectives on Verbal Notation. London: Continuum, 2012.
Mallozzi, Lou. Seeing Mills through Barthes reading Kafka exacting (catalog). ESS, 2012.
Meyer, Bill. Haptic: Chicago Trio Employs Shifting Aesthetics in Pursuit of the Ineffable. Signal to Noise 63:8. Spring 2012.
———. Eighty-eight Keys. Wolf Notes 1. Oxford: Compost and Height, 2011. http://wolfnotes.wordpress.com/wolf-notes/.
———. Notes on The Patient. Wolf Notes 8. Oxford: Compost and Height, 2015.http://wolfnotes.wordpress.com/wolf-notes/.
———. Meridian. Reductive Journal 4. Huddersfield, UK: Reductive Music, 2015. http://journal.reductivemusic.com/.
———. Figures and Ground. In Lou Mallozzi 1:1. Chicago, IL: Sector 2337, 2018.
Mills, Joseph Clayton, and Marvin Tate. The Process. Reductive Journal 2. Huddersfield, UK: Reductive Music, 2015. http://journal.reductivemusic.com/.
Seidewitz, Ryn. Improvised Interruption: Joseph Clayton Mills’s Experimental Sound. South Side Weekly. December 3, 2014.