Memphis is a music city. There is no disputing this. Rock-n-roll was invented here. It is the home of the blues. Shit goes down in Memphis.
I was always aware of music’s dominance over the creative culture here. So much so, that while in college I even started a band with some friends. We were going to call ourselves The Articles. (It turns out that several of the band members eventually became writers.) None of us had musical backgrounds and none could play an instrument. We assigned ourselves an instrument to play. I got the guitar. The next day I bought an acoustic guitar from someone in the paper. The previous owner got mad at his inability to write the next great song and shot the guitar with a .22 out of frustration. Also that same day, my friend who was assigned the drums slept with my then-girlfriend and the band broke up before we ever had a practice. Oh well.
Though I did not become a great musician in a historically great music town, there is still plenty of it going around. So much so, people are even creating artwork based on music.
One such event takes place tonight, “The Paik Sessions,” 6 — 8 p.m. at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. The museum's assistant preparator, Luis Seixas issued a call to artists to create music pieces in response to Nam June Paik’s sculpture Vide-O-belisk. The first 10 will be heard tonight and includes work by Jonathan Kirkscey, Pieter Nooten, Shelby Bryant, et al.
Vide-O-belisk is an assemblage piece made from 24 vintage television receivers, standing 19 feet tall. The TVs display three distinct video loops. One features the most significant art objects from the Brooks' permanent collection. Another is devoted to the advent of television and includes key moments such as man's landing on the moon and an Elvis Presley performance. The third displays musical instruments and performances, the inspiration for this project. John Cage, Laurie Anderson, and Charlotte Moorman, as well as other significant composers and performing artists who worked together with Paik, appear in this footage.
This should be an interesting event, as this piece is one of the best pieces at the museum (Christian Marclay’s piece Telephones being the best.)
Crosstown Arts continues to impress with their diverse array of events. Friday night is no exception. Lisa Kereszi will give an artist talk at 7 p.m. about her work on view at Crosstown’s new exhibition space at 422 Cleveland, which is still under construction! The photographs come from her recent book Joe’s Junkyard and is a collection of visually compelling photographs of a junkyard that has been in her family for 50 years. If junkyards are your thing, get to the gallery at 6 p.m. for a screening of the documentary A Steady Grind, created by Lisa’s sister Victoria Kereszi. After the talk, Interrobang, a one-man band instrumental musical performance.
On Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Medicine Factory, 85 Virginia Ave, is an event that you should not miss. If you care anything about art, music, and performance, you are doing yourself an incredible disservice by not going to see >mancontrol<. If you are not interested in these things, go for the visual overload alone. It will be worth it. I promise. Flyer writer J.D. Reager has a great piece about what to expect.
Images courtesy of the Brooks and the artists