Christoph Cox

  • May 06, 2021

    Anri Sala

    Curated by Thomas D. Trummer

    Meditations on time, history, presence, and absence, Anri Sala’s video installations have, over the past sixteen years, often centered on music and musicians. In works such as Long Sorrow, 2005, and Ravel Ravel, 2013, Sala stages intensely focused performances framed and edited to magnify, delay, or fracture one’s sense of temporality. This solo exhibition will feature three new works alongside recent videos such as If and Only If, 2018, in which a performer of Igor Stravinsky’s mournful Elegy for Solo Viola (1944) is forced to respond to the languid pace of a snail

  • “Radio-Activity”

    Curated by Karin Althaus and Stephanie Weber

    In a 1932 essay, Bertolt Brecht suggested that the relatively new medium of radio had the potential to achieve a key aim of his “epic theatre”: the transformation of a passive, receptive audience into a critical, creative public. “Radio is one-sided when it should be two-,” he wrote, proposing that it should “let the listener speak as well as hear.” Adopting the playwright’s provocation as a title and premise, curators Karin Althaus and Stephanie Weber are mounting an exhibition focused on artists and collectives who, during the 1920s, ’30s,’60s, and

  • “SAMSON YOUNG: SILVER MOON OR GOLDEN STAR, WHICH WILL YOU BUY OF ME?”

    Curated by Orianna Cacchione

    Hong Kong–based artist Samson Young has focused on poetic translations between the sonic and the visual. His first solo museum show in the US centers on video animation, a relatively new medium for him, and is driven by reflections on the notion of utopia sparked by his research into the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, the Century of Progress International Exposition. In a trilogy of animated music videos, Young places the viewer in an uncertain future, considering the promise and peril of alliances between science, industry, commerce, and capitalism. Distended human

  • MATTERS OF THE HEART

    IN MID-OCTOBER, the seventy-six-year-old percussionist, herbalist, scientist, and martial artist Milford Graves stood before an admiring audience at the Artist’s Institute on New York’s Upper East Side. “Well, I must say this is a new adventure for me,” he began with a buoyant smile. “It’s like I’m starting all over again.” Pointing to a sculpture across the room—a dunun-carrying skeleton swathed in a tangle of wires connected to laptops, circuit boards, and anatomical models—Graves remarked, “I’m entering a whole new era, because I’m on to my next sculpture piece now, and then another

  • “Non-Cochlear Sound”

    Marcel Duchamp notoriously dismissed modern painting as merely visual, calling instead for an “antiretinal” art that would “put painting once again at the service of the mind.” In his recent book In the Blink of an Ear: Toward a Non-Cochlear Sonic Art (2009), Seth Kim-Cohen levels a parallel charge against sound art. From its inception in the late 1940s, Kim-Cohen argues, sound art has been almost exclusively concerned with sound as sensuous material and hence has failed to take the Conceptual turn that has marked the visual arts over the past four decades. The “non-cochlear” practice called

  • Max Neuhaus

    BY THE TIME OF HIS DEATH on February 3, Max Neuhaus was widely regarded as a, if not the, founding father of “sound art.” Neuhaus never liked the term, which came into circulation decades after he began using sound as a medium in site-specific installations. Asked in 2000 to provide an elder statesman’s endorsement of a self-described “sound art” exhibition, Neuhaus responded with an essay deriding the term. “It’s as if perfectly capable curators in the visual arts suddenly lose their equilibrium at the mention of the word sound,” he wrote. “These same people who would all ridicule a new art

  • John Cage

    Everyone knows something about John Cage, but few know him as anything more than a musical prankster––the guy who composed a silent piece and stuck bolts between piano strings.

    Everyone knows something about John Cage, but few know him as anything more than a musical prankster––the guy who composed a silent piece and stuck bolts between piano strings. Curator Joan Cerveró hopes to go beyond this perception with an unprecedented, hugely ambitious program: a ninety-day immersion in the composer’s worldview via concerts, installations, lectures, and workshops. In a nod to Cage’s role in bridging sound art and music, Cerveró will divide the EACC’s exhibition space into a set of “imaginary landscapes,” platforms that will present the music in installation

  • sound art

    SOUND ART: BEYOND MUSIC, BETWEEN CATEGORIES, BY ALAN LICHT. NEW YORK: RIZZOLI, 2007. 304 PAGES. $50.

    BACKGROUND NOISE: PERSPECTIVES ON SOUND ART, BY BRANDON LABELLE. NEW YORK: CONTINUUM, 2006. 316 PAGES. $25.

    SOUND ART IS an uncertain category and practice. The label itself—in circulation since the mid-1980s but only widespread during the past decade—is dismissed by some prominent practitioners and used sloppily by critics and curators. Visual artists predominantly wonder whether sound art is not really just music, and many musicians either reject the arty whiff of the term or latch onto

  • John Baldessari: Music

    Also on view at the Bonner Kunstverein

    A welcome start at addressing the underexplored relationship between Conceptual art and sound, this dual-venue exhibition traces a musical motif that runs through the work of Conceptualist pioneer and stalwart John Baldessari. Curator Stefan Gronert has organized a thematic retrospective at the Kunstmuseum Bonn that features more than fifty works (paintings, photographs, videos, and mixed media) spanning the artist’s career, from his delightfully awkward video John Baldessari Sings Sol LeWitt, 1972, to more recent

  • “Sonambiente”

    DURING THE WORLD CUP–obsessed summer of 2006, Berlin may have been the epicenter of soccer culture, but for decades it has been the unofficial global capital of sound art, which the city’s institutions have steadfastly and proudly supported. In 1980, the Akademie der Künste presented “Für Augen und Ohren” (For Eyes and Ears), a landmark exhibition that provided a historical backdrop for the emergence of sound art as a distinct category and introduced a generation of artists for whom sound was the primary medium. Berlin’s commercial galleries have been friendly to sound since the late ’70s, when

  • Christoph Cox

    1 MÄRZ, WIR SIND HIER (KARAOKE KALK) Berliners Ekkehard Ehlers and Albrecht Kunze produce a record of lush pop informed by their roots in electronic minimalism revealing, along the way, the link between lap steels and laptops.

    2 SUSAN HOWE & DAVID GRUBBS, THIEFTH (BLUE CHOPSTICKS) A lovely collaboration between sonic experimentalist David Grubbs and poet Susan Howe. Howe’s paratactic evocations of Henry David Thoreau’s and Herman Melville’s New England are enveloped, sliced, and stuttered by Grubbs’s acoustic and electronic composition.

    3 CHRISTOF MIGONE, CHRISTOF MIGONE—SOUND VOICE PERFORM

  • LOST IN TRANSLATION: SOUND IN THE DISCOURSE OF SYNAESTHESIA

    In the late 1940s, radio engineer-turned-composer Pierre Schaeffer celebrated a defining property of audio recording and radio transmission: the ability to separate sounds from their visible sources. This affirmation cut against the grain of modern thought, for no lesser cultural critics than Martin Heidegger, Theodor Adorno, and Max Horkheimer had assailed these technologies for dulling our auditory sensibility. Schaeffer, however, argued that records and radio triumphantly subvert the hegemony of vision to make possible the experience of “sound as such.” In doing so, Schaeffer continued, they