The Looking at Music 3.0 exhibition includes Lee Quinones’s 1991 Century of the Wind screenprint from the YOUR HOUSE IS MINE portfolio, which decries New York City’s skyrocketing real estate prices. Considered one of the most influential artists to emerge from the city’s 1970s subway art movement, Quinones continues to produce work ripe with provocative sociopolitical content and intricate composition. Read more
AUTHOR: BARBARA LONDON
Posts by Barbara London
We caught up with Cey Adams, founding creative director of Def Jam Recordings, in MoMA’s Looking at Music 3.0 exhibition gallery, and he talked to us about his work, the emergence of hip-hop, and his unwavering allegiance to the possibilities of culture. Read more
If Robert Smithson saw the world as a museum, artists of Seth Price’s generation see the “www” as theirs. For them, the gallery can be anything: they project a film and play music in a gallery, so the question of where in that jumble of everything they want to make their work is a difficult one. The Web is both a cabinet of curiosities and a studio where viewers are invited in to see their latest endeavors. Read more
Looking at Music 3.0 invites interaction. Visitors select songs to hear (and dance to), videos to watch, and zines to read. Three digital art projects go one step further, allowing user and machine to take an active role. Laurie Anderson, The Residents, and Perry Hoberman harnessed what in the 1990s were the latest digital tools to make truly interactive works. Read more
The other day I caught up with Joan Jonas at her studio, around the corner from where she first performed Mirage—Anthology Film Archives’ former Soho location. Forty years ago Soho was inhospitable, even dangerous, with zero amenities. Surrounded by what were then inexpensive, down-and-dirty lofts, Anthology film and video screenings were integral to neighborhood artists’ daily lives. Jonas performed for several nights over a number of weeks in 1976. Her audience included many locals—artist, musician, and dancer friends. They all dined at Food, Gordon Matta-Clark’s wholesome restaurant. Nearby, Richard Foreman presented his Ontologic Hysteric Theater, Jack Smith carried out his midnight events, and Alanna Heiss hosted other happenings on Bleecker Street and at the Clocktower.
Leo Castelli and Ileana Sonnabend had recently launched their Soho galleries at 420 West Broadway, and Jonas later performed at each. Joyce Nereaux directed Castelli-Sonnabend Tapes and Films, and distributed Jonas’s and other visual artists’ media works to museums and art schools. These works leaned towards narrativity. Two blocks away a different media faction congregated at The Kitchen, the alternative space founded by Woody and Steina Vasulka. Artists there knew how to put technical things together. Read more
At the moment Joan Jonas is on a residency at Kita-Kyushu in western Japan. She has worked in Japan several times since her first visit in 1970, when she bought a portable video camera and began her exploration of media art. The immediacy and reality of video entranced Joan. It was so unlike the stark artificiality of traditional Japanese theater. There, the actors moved at a glacial, mesmerizing pace across a spare stage, and the productions, often stretching over an entire day, made time dissolve. The formality and ritual of Japanese performance became integral to Joan’s work, as can be seen in Mirage, the installation currently on view in the Media Gallery. She wrote that Noh and Kabuki, the two poles-apart forms of traditional Japanese theater, taken together contain every idea that has ever been realized on a stage. Read more
Joan Jonas works by developing iterations of a theme. I saw the first version of Mirage as a young MoMA curator in 1975. It was performed at the Anthology Film Archives Theater, then in SoHo on a boutique-free Wooster Street. Joan transfixed me, moving slowly about the stage, stomping her feet to the rhythm of a heartbeat. Images from the cameras focused on her were projected onto a large screen and several monitors dotted around the stage. Interacting with her apparitions, Joan transformed the performance into a dense, many-actor theater piece. Then she disappeared behind the projection screen to appear merely as a silhouette. Read more
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