September 23, 2011

Alvin Lucier (and His Artist Friends) at Wesleyan University’s Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery

Center for the Arts at Wesleyan University
Alvin Lucier.
Photo by Amanda Lucier.

Alvin Lucier: A Celebration, a festival in honor of Wesleyan University’s John Spencer Camp Professor of Music Alvin Lucier in recognition of his 80th birthday, will include film screenings, a symposium, a series of four concerts, and the first exhibition to explore the breadth of Mr. Lucier’s work presented in a gallery context. Mr. Lucier retired in June after 40 years teaching at Wesleyan. Participants will include Mr. Lucier, Robert Ashley, David Behrman, Anthony Braxton, Neely Bruce, Charles Curtis, Kyle Gann, John Hanhardt, Joseph Kubera, Ronald Kuivila, Gordon Mumma, Pauline Oliveros, Mark Slobin, and Christian Wolff, among others.


In their simplicity, physical immediacy and originality Alvin Lucier’s live electronic works are unique in the history of electronic music. Both these pieces and his subsequent instrumental works avoid any of the conventional mannerisms of music while maintaining a basic musicality that allows the listener to encounter sounds and their shapes almost physically rather than as part of an emotive code.  Alvin Lucier: A Celebration will explore the delicate balances that underlie this work.


The exhibition in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, Alvin Lucier (and His Artist Friends), curated by Andrea Miller-Keller, will offer a broad and colorful overview of the composer’s distinguished career over nearly six decades, including a collection of audio presentations, performance videos, scores and archival memorabilia. A special section will include both a presentation of Mr. Lucier’s landmark 1969 piece, “I Am Sitting in a Room” and an exploration of its widespread influence on other artists over the past four decades.  It will also examine the sources of inspiration and exchange of ideas among Mr. Lucier and his some of his artist-friends, including Sol LeWitt, John Ashbery, John Cage and others.


The international symposium will bring together over 20 distinguished composers, musicians, and writers to discuss the significance and far-reaching impact of Mr. Lucier’s work and influence, his approach to collaborative and intermedia performance, his unique approach to electronic systems, and ways in which that work shapes the instrumental compositions that have been his central focus for the last twenty years.


The films include Nam June Paik’s rare “Tribute to John Cage” (1972), introduced by John Hanhardt and featuring Mr. Lucier as an eccentric professor lecturing on Cage; and a special preview screening of the German documentary on Mr. Lucier’s work and teaching, “No Ideas But In Things” (2012), introduced by the filmmakers Viola Ruche and Hauke Harder.


The concert series will feature Mr. Lucier’s music for solo and duo instrumentalists, largely performed by the originating artists; ensemble pieces performed by the Wesleyan Gamelan Ensemble, the Collegium Musicum and the University Orchestra; and a tribute concert featuring pieces written in Mr. Lucier’s honor by colleagues and friends. There will also be a re-creation in Memorial Chapel of Mr. Lucier’s first concert at Wesleyan in 1968, featuring Mr. Lucier’s “Vespers” and performances by Mr. Lucier and the original student performers.


Alvin Lucier: A Celebration will be held Friday, November 4 through Sunday, November 6, 2011 at the Center for the Arts on the Wesleyan University campus in Middletown, Connecticut during the University’s Homecoming/Family Weekend. Alvin Lucier (and His Artist Friends) will be on view in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery from Friday, November 4 through Sunday, December 11, 2011. Gallery Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, Noon–4pm; Friday, Noon–8pm. Extended hours: Saturday, November 5, Noon–6pm; Sunday, November 6, 10am-6pm. Closed Thursday, November 24. Gallery admission is free.


The public is invited to attend the exhibitionopening on Saturday, November 5 from 2pm to 4pm, with a Gallery Walk-Through at 2pm with Guest Curator Andrea Miller-Keller.


The catalogue will be available from Wesleyan University Press.


Andrew Chatfield
Press & Marketing Manager
Center for the Arts
Wesleyan University
[email protected]




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