The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery proudly announces the East Coast premiere of the Quiet Music Festival at 5 pm Thursday, Oct. 23. Admission is free, and festivalgoers are welcome to come and go throughout the evening. Chris Johanson, festival founder and organizer, describes the event as a communal listening experience that celebrates emotional, vibrant, and low-volume music honoring the quiet act of listening.
Johanson is also an artist whose work is included in the Tang's current exhibition I was a double. He has presented -- and played with his band Sun Foot -- in the Quiet Music Festival for the past four summers in Portland, Oregon. At the Tang, Sun Foot will be joined by, Rosary Beard, Melissa Chilinski and special guests, Lizzi Bougatsos, Hush Arbors, Dragging an Ox Through Water, David Greenberger, and Trinie Dalton.
Chris Johanson and his wife, Johanna Jackson, commonly collaborate on projects, such as custom-designed furniture installations, drawings, ceramics, skateboard designs, and a book project. The furnishings, each created specifically for designated spaces, including I was a double, feature found wood, used materials, and colorfully patterned textiles. Johanson dumpster dives for the wood and constructs the furniture frames, while Jackson weaves and sews the textiles.
Chris Johanson established the Quiet Music Festival of Portland in 2011. Recent exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Malmo Museum, Sweden; Vancouver Art Gallery, B.C.; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; SITE Santa Fe; SFMOMA, San Francisco; and UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.
Rosary Beard is upstate New York duo Hunter Sagehorn and Matthew Loiacono, whose music is intricately intertwined acoustic guitar parts. Sagehorn is known for his angular, rhythmically-cryptic guitar work in the rock band Alta Mira; Loiacono, for his solo experimental mandolin and voice music as Matthew Carefully. As a duo, they found new synergy in composing quiet, thoughtful music, performing in churches and art galleries, and creating videos of them playing in off-beat, outdoor environments. Their debut album, Halfmoon Fever, was recorded live in December 2011 in a historic ballroom in Troy, NY.
Melissa Chilinski, a Skidmore senior, is perhaps best known as the songwriter for the band Lilting Forward. With Lyndsay Stone and Sasha Letovsky, Lilting Forward played its spirited lo-fi alt-folk sound casually around the Saratoga Springs region.
Lizzi Bougatsos, the lead singer for the band Gang Gang Dance, is a New York City- based artist and musician. Considered one of the "enfants terribles" in New York’s downtown art scene, Bougatsos has performed with her band at the Whitney Biennial, been interviewed by publications such as The Village Voice and Paper Magazine, and in 2010 was commissioned by the Guggenheim Museum Young Collectors Council.
Hush Arbors began as an acid country/drifter folk solo project for singer- songwriter-guitarist Keith Wood in 2001. A rotating member of many bands, Wood adopted this approach for the lineup of Hush Arbors, enlisting players from the experimental scene like drummer Ryan Sawyer, Wooden Wand main man James Toth and other musicians to back him up in a live setting. After releasing discs on various labels, Hush Arbors in 2008 released a self-titled LP with Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace!, and in 2009 released Yankee Reality.
Brian Mumford's Dragging an Ox through Water perform songs rooted in folk and country traditions, though ruptured, complicated, and complimented with broken textures of feedback, drones, tape hiss, and homemade oscillators. Chance elements and candlelight sensitive instruments destabilize customary electro-amplified- tightness & introduce improvisation to the recitation of these songs. Brian has collaborated with TJO, Sally Timms, Chris Johanson, John Wiese, John Gruntfest, Makino Takashi, John Butcher, Gino Robair, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Weasel Walter, Vic Chesnutt, Jackie-O Motherfucker, Pete Swanson, and many others.
Greenwich, New York artist David Greenberger explores the individuality, integrity and humanity of the elderly. For over thirty years Greenberger has combined fragments of their conversations with music created in collaboration with professional musicians, to transform the “rich language of personal poetics” into short sound pieces that give listeners a window into the minds of older people. Instead of focusing on who they were, Greenberger’s conversations, and the resultant compositions, tease out who his subjects are now. Earlier this year, he performed over five nights in a one-seat theater at the Tang Teaching Museum.
Trinie Dalton is Faculty Director of the MFA in Writing and Publishing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has taught fiction and art critical writing at VCFA, SVA, Columbia, Bard, USC, Art Center, NYU, and Pratt. She is also Core Faculty in Fiction at VCFA in the low-residency MFA in Writing program. She has published six books, most recently Baby Geisha (Two Dollar Radio). Other fiction titles include Wide Eyed (Akashic), a story collection, and Sweet Tomb (Madras Press), a fairytale novella. Dear New Girl or Whatever Your Name Is (McSweeney’s) is a transformation of her archive of confiscated high school notes into a collaboration between fifty artists. Mythtym (Picturebox) is an art/fiction anthology based on mythological monsters and horror. Dalton also reviews art, books, and music, for artists’ book projects and magazines.
Sun Foot is a Portland, Oregon, and Los Angeles-based trio of Ron Burns (drums, guitar, vocals, drum machine, keyboard), Chris Johanson (bass, guitar, drum machine, keyboard, vocals), and Brian Mumford (guitar, bass, drum machine, vocals, clarinet). They play low volume tunes through small amps and a drum set that consists of a hand drum, cymbal, pan lids, and electronic drum pad, all three singing, playing random cheap electronic keyboards maybe, and switching of instruments probably. Good to listen to if you are interested in the sun and tired of negativity.
The exhibit, I was a Double, began when a composer and a curator had a conversation about how composers work. Western classical music traditionally splits music making into two distinctly separate jobs: the composer and the performer. The composer invents the ideas behind the music and the performer realizes them. Sometimes the composer and performer are the same person; sometimes they are separated by hundreds of years. Yet even across great distances of time and space, the composer and performer can communicate with each other through a series of written instructions: the score. Like a rulebook, a score is a description of actions the composer proposes to the performer. We value composers by noticing what qualities of rules they invent; we value performers by noticing what they add to, change, emphasize, or ignore in the following of those rules.
Visual art can be made this way as well. It is not always as easy to see, because so many artists are both the composer and the performer, both the rule maker and the rule fulfiller. The artists in I was a double invent rules and then follow them; whether written or not, the artist made a proposal to herself or himself that becomes realized in the physical artwork. As in Western classical music, each artist has separated the invention of the idea behind the thing from the creation of the thing itself.
Curators David Lang and Ian Berry asked the artists for a sentence describing their rule making. David Lang composed music for each artwork based on the artists’ statements, making his score out of theirs. I was a double comes from one of the artist’s statements, with the word “double” resonating on multiple levels: pair, duplicate, shadow, doppelganger; the musical term that indicates two instruments playing the same part together; the artists’ double roles in inventing and realizing their own rules.
The multilayered exhibition I was a double opened July 5 and runs through January 4, 2015, at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College. David Lang’s collaboration with the Tang’s Dayton Director Ian Berry marks the acclaimed composer’s first curated museum exhibition.
I was a double features the work of artists Suzanne Bocanegra, Regina Bogat, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, André Cadere, Sarah Cain, Karin Davie, Taylor Davis, David Dupuis, Tony Feher, Alfred Jensen, Chris Johanson and Johanna Jackson, Chris Martin, Gabriel Orozco, Bruce Pearson, Ciara Phillips, Kay Rosen, Wolfgang Tillmans, Fred Tomaselli, Johannes VanDerBeek, Ruth Vollmer, Stanley Whitney, and Christopher Wool.