The Morrissey Problem

2019, 9:25 min, color, sound, HD video

Commissioned for the Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art on the occasion of If UR Reading This It’s 2 Late: Vol. 1, Cokes’ first UK solo exhibition, The Morrissey Problem addresses the problematics of the titular frontman of The Smiths, adapting in full an essay by Joshua Surtees condemning the singer-songwriter’s then-recent endorsements of far-right leader Tommy Robinson. Probing a recurring figure in Cokes’ oeuvre—songs sung by Morrissey appear in works as early as Black Celebration—the piece juxtaposes Surtees’ rundown of Morrissey’s flirtations with right-wing nationalism with songs by Marxist pop group McCarthy, producing an effect that continues in the vein of Cokes’ study of cultural and political entanglement, and sonic ambivalence.