• Jaquet-Droz, singing bird cage automaton clock accompanied by six melodies, ca. 1785, brass, gold, enamel, mixed media, 20 1/4 x 12 x 12". From “Art or Sound.”

    “Art or Sound”

    Fondazione Prada | Venice
    Ca’ Corner della Regina Santa Croce 2215
    June 7–November 3

    Curated by Germano Celant

    To hear sound is to be unmoored, to let go. Unlike seeing, hearing occurs from all directions simultaneously, however uneven or sporadic the din. “Art or Sound” gathers all those things that have embraced such spatial release: more than 170machines, musical instruments, sound sculptures, and sundry other devices that spill over with sound, exceeding the limits of their material source. Eighteenth-century automata, singing clocks, synaesthetic color organs, and Futurist noisemaking intonarumori will join the aural experiments of the postwar neo-avant-gardes, including Robert Rauschenberg’s Oracle, 1962–65, which combines massive air ducts, running water, and a network of radios into a kinetic field of acoustic, liquid, and electromagnetic flows. In works like these, sound becomes a way to stave off the reification or stillness of the inert art object. Celant’s humming, reverberant exhibition will doubtless do the same. The accompanying catalogue features essays by Celant and more than twenty musicologists, composers, artists, musicians, and scholars.