MoMA is pleased to premiere the live performance of Charles Gaines’s Manifestos 2 (2013), in collaboration with The Studio Museum in Harlem. A pioneer of Conceptual art, the Los Angeles–based artist has worked with composer Sean Griffin to translate language from four influential speeches or manifestos into musical notation: Malcolm X’s last public speech, made in 1965 in Detroit’s Ford Auditorium; Peace, Power, Righteousness: An Indigenous Manifesto (1999), by Canadian Mohawk scholar and activist Taiaiake Alfred; "Indocumentalismo Manifesto—an Emerging Socio-Political Ideological Identity" (2010), by Raúl Alcaraz and Daniel Carrillo; and the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen, written by French activist and writer Olympe De Gouges in 1791. Using a rule-based system translating each letter into its corresponding musical note (C, D, E, F, G, A, B) and treating each letter without a correlating note as a silent musical rest, Gaines has established a relationship between the structures of language and music; Manifestos 2 explores how the emotive properties of music affect the content of the manifestos and their interpretation.
For the performance, Griffin will conduct a nine-piece ensemble, bringing the scores to life. The performance is followed by a conversation with Gaines and Griffin; Stuart Comer, Chief Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art, The Museum of Modern Art; and Naima J. Keith, Assistant Curator, The Studio Museum in Harlem.
In conjunction with the exhibition Sites of Reason: A Selection of Recent Acquisitions, on view at MoMA through September 28. The performance also coincides with the exhibition Charles Gaines: Gridwork 1974–1989, on view at The Studio Museum in Harlem through October 26.
Sites of Reason: A Selection of Recent Acquisitions is supported in part by The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art and by the MoMA Annual Exhibition Fund.
Image: Charles Gaines. Still from Manifestos 2. 2013. Four-channel video (color, sound; 64 min.) and four graphite drawings, dimensions variable. Acquired through the generosity of Jill and Peter Kraus, Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley, and The Friends of Education of The Museum of Modern Art. © 2014 Charles Gaines. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo: Steven Probert