Terry Adkins. Last Trumpet. 1995

Terry Adkins Last Trumpet 1995

  • Not on view

Last Trumpet, an ensemble of four eighteen-foot-long horns that are both monumental sculptures and functional musical instruments, exemplifies Adkins’s aim to bridge the realms of sculpture and music. The artist’s sculptural compositions were guided by a process he called “potential disclosure,” a summoning of the innate value within the discarded materials he had assembled. Adkins fabricated Last Trumpet’s colossal, valveless horns, or “Akrhaphones,” by attaching the severed bells of used trombones and sousaphones to conical sections of cast brass. “I made [the horns] on the scale at which I thought angels would play them,” Adkins explained. “And so the Akrhaphones actually represented the horns of the first four angels of the Last Judgment.”

Originally titled Silver Sonic, Last Trumpet was first presented in an exhibition dedicated to the artist’s deceased father, Robert Hamilton Adkins, an educator and musician whose initials are embedded in the word Akrhaphone. In the work’s debut musical performance, in 1996, the instruments were played by members of the Lone Wolf Recital Corps, a performance collective, consisting of a rotating group of artists and musicians, that Adkins had founded in 1986. Adkins kept the Akrhaphones until the end of his life, including them in his installations, where they were displayed and activated in commemorative multimedia performances he called “recitals,” accumulating new meanings as they circulated.

Publication excerpt from From MoMA Highlights: 375 Works from The Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2019).

Last Trumpet exemplifies Adkins’s attempts “to make music as physical as sculpture might be and sculpture as ethereal as music is.” It comprises four eighteen-foot-long horns that are both monumental sculptures and functional musical instruments, which Adkins called “Akrhaphones.” The artist fabricated the horns by affixing conical tubes of cast brass to found and collected sousaphone bells. The debut musical performance of Last Trumpet in 1996 by a quartet drawn from the members of the Lone Wolf Recital Corps was dedicated to Adkins’s then recently deceased father, Robert Hamilton Adkins, an educator and musician whose initials, “RHA,” are embedded in “Akrhaphone.” “I made [the horns] on the scale at which I thought angels would play them,” Adkins explained. “And so the Akrhaphones actually represented the horns of the first four angels of the Last Judgment.” Adkins kept the Akrhaphones until the end of his life, including them in his installations, where they would be displayed and activated.

Gallery label from Projects 107: Lone Wolf Recital Corps, August 19-October 9, 2017.
Medium
Brass and sousaphone and trombone bells, four parts
Dimensions
Each 216 × 24 × 24" (548.6 × 61 × 61 cm)
Credit
Gift of David Booth; and gift of Mr. and Mrs. Murray Thompson (by exchange)
Object number
497.2017.a-d
Copyright
© Terry Adkins. Courtesy of the Estate of Terry Adkins
Department
Painting and Sculpture

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