‘Drum Listens to Heart’ Intuits the Unheard Rhythms of our Lives, Tausif Noor, δημοσίευση στο Frieze [3/3/2023]
A three-part exhibition at CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, draws on the ensemble form and musical score to deliver a vision of cacophonous community
Let’s start with the croaks. To experience Trisha Donnelly’s sound installation untitled (2009) in San Francisco this past winter, one had to schedule a private listening session, in which one was rewarded with the dulcet tones of a chorus of frogs, recorded from the artist’s backyard. A private aural moment between the artist and the viewer, mediated by the guttural sounds of amphibians, Donnelly’s installation was technically not ‘on view’ as part of the group exhibition ‘Drum Listens to Heart’ at San Francisco’s Wattis Institute. But the cool conceptualism and irreverent phenomenological character of the sound piece made itself heard as a sort of coda for a show that materialized what John Cage described in his ‘Autobiographical Statement’ (1990) as ‘the spirit of percussion’ – an ethos that ‘opens everything, even what was, so to speak, completely closed’.
More than five years in the making, ‘Drum Listens to Heart’ is the swan song of former Wattis chief curator Anthony Huberman, who departs the institution for the John Giorno Foundation after a decade of organizing groundbreaking exhibitions and a signature artist-centric study programme, which in recent years ranged from Vincent Fecteau and Trinh T. Minh Ha to Lydia Ourahmane and Cecilia Vicuña. Unfolding in three discrete stages over five months, ‘Drum Listens to Heart’ – which includes a suite of live performances organized by curator Diego Villalobos, held both in the exhibition galleries and in the nearby experimental performance venue The Lab – stands out as a rare, risk-taking thematic exhibition in a landscape dominated by blockbuster solo presentations and flashy, star-studded group shows. That’s not to say stars are absent here – heavy hitters in the roster include Francis Alÿs, Theaster Gates, David Hammons and Haegue Yang – but the exhibition takes its organizing principle of the ensemble form and the musical score seriously, allowing polyvocality to emerge both between individual artists in the show and within the flow of the tripartite programme. Anchoring all three elements of the shifting, dynamic exhibition is a vitrine of concrete poems by Susan Howe, taken from her book Concordance (2020), and a collaborative sound installation by Howe and the musician and academic David Grubbs (Concordance, 2022). The poetry marks an entryway to the Wattis’s reading room and bar, which is outfitted with selections from local record stores that are available for purchase.
Η συνέχεια εδώ.