previews

  • “Jennie C. Jones: Higher Resonance”

    Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
    Independence Avenue at Seventh Street, SW
    May 16–October 27

    Curated by Evelyn Hankins

    Upon entering Jennie C. Jones’s show at the Hirshhorn, visitors will hear Higher Resonance, 2013, a new sound piece to be piped into an immersive listening area circumscribed by a curved wall. Imbricating microsamples of recordings by black classical composers (Wendell Logan, Alvin Singleton) with those by composer-performers from creative music practice (Alice Coltrane, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Art Ensemble of Chicago), this piece foregrounds African American culture’s ongoing engagement with histories of the avant-garde and modernist abstraction. In the same room, Jones’s series of prints made with scans of double-ball bass strings will invoke synesthesia, and her paintings and sculptures using acoustic panels and bass traps will subliminally orient viewers to the physicality of sound. Far from “celebrating” jazz in a nostalgic turn, Jones’s work makes common cause with the music’s traditional function as a site for critique as well as for remembrance.