Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Art & Music

Having my arm in a sling has taken me out of the studio for a while. I've spent a lot of time reading and listening to music. Both activities are generating ideas, making me want to get to the studio even more.

I've been fascinated with Morton Feldman's music and how many of his ideas grew out of his associations with with members of the New York School. He was a very close friend of Philip Guston and composed two pieces titled For Philip Guston, the second one lasting over 4 hours. One of his first breaks in the music world came when Jackson Pollock asked him to compose the score for the famous short film about Pollock from the early 50's. Other works include a shorter pieces For Franz Kline and the gorgeous Rothko Chapel which was commissioned by the Menils to celebrate the anniversary of the opening of the chapel in Houston. Feldman was committed to abstraction in music, painting and all other art forms. This commitment caused a premanent rift with Guston as the painter began to re-introduce objects into his work during his last decade.

Every artist I know is deeply interested in music though usually rock, not modern concert music. In writing the catalog Material World, I described one artist's work as sharing qualities with the musician Brian Eno. Since Eno is one of my all time favorite artists, this was a very positive remark.

A number of musicians are also serious visual artists. Eno has created numerous video and light installations. David Byrne of Talking Heads has worked in photography, film and installation. Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) quit music all together to concentrate on his painting for the last 20+ years of his life.

I'll be exploring the subject more thoroughly in future posts.

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