Perambulating the Bounds

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Visual Arts updates for Nov 12-17 (DJ Spooky alert)

Hey, I don’t know how I missed this – Paul Miller, aka DJ Spooky, is doing a “lecture/demonstration” at Austin Peay this Tuesday. This comes in conjunction with APSU’s exhibit of new media works at the Art department gallery. DJ Spooky is the art world’s favorite hip-hop artist, and I have to say I enjoy my copy of Riddim Warfare. Miller’s a significant theorist of contemporary aesthetics through the lens of remix-based artistic practices, and he’s gotten a lot of attention for his remix of D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, just to mention a couple of projects. From his recordings, the wide range of this guy’s intellect is obvious—he cuts so fast between different and unexpected ideas. His website has an interview where we talks about Deleuze and Guattari, and he seems like them, making connections prodigiously. His talk starts at 7:00 on Tuesday the 13th, in the Clement Auditorium on the APSU campus.

Last email I also missed a couple of things for next weekend—Cumberland Gallery’s Packages Large and Small show, and Plowhaus’ Festivus sale/show. Both start on Nov. 17, and are the same basic idea with different price points—group shows with lots of stuff on offer for holiday shopping.

As always, if you have an email list of your own, feel free to forward this.

If someone wants to get added directly to my list for the email version of this listing, send me an email at To get taken off the list, email to that effect at the same address.

Nov. 12

MTSU, Dave Hickey lecture. It’s probably a completely spurious comparison, but I can’t shake the idea that Hickey is the Hunter Thompson of art critics. He’s in Las Vegas, so there’s that connection, and he drops frequent drug references. His scheduled topic for the talk is the current insane art market, a floating feast of excess that manifests itself in the international art fairs. The craziness doesn’t worry Hickey, who figures no one gets hurt by overpaying for art, and in the end the emphasis on the marketplace will lead to commerce taking over from institutions the role of defining value, leading to a more democratic aesthetics. The lecture is at 7:00 in State Farm Lecture Hall in the Business Aerospace Building. There’s gotta be a message in the choice of room and building.

Nov. 13

APSU, Paul Miller lecture. Miller’s lecture is advertised as going into his ideas about the significance of digital production techniques and pervasive interconnectedness to art. I think I’ve said my peace about him in the intro paragraph to the listings. 7:00 in the Clement Auditorium.

Nov 15-16

Nashville Ballet, Emergence. This program pairs composers from the Blair School faculty with choreographers in the creation of a new work of ballet and music. They do it every two years, and the result last time around was one of the more engaging performances I’ve seen in Nashville. Among other things it’s good to hear substantial pieces by the Vandy composition faculty – their work is not played out that often in town. The composers are pretty conservative, but it’s good to hear new work, and it’s usually not rehashed Americana like a lot of what occurs in town. This year one of the composers is Stan Link, who does electro-acoustic stuff that has sounded really good from my limited exposure to it. The performances are at 8:00 in the recital hall at the Blair School, Thursday and Friday night.

Nov. 16

Frist, Katy Siegel lecture. The parade of distinguished art lectures goes on with Siegel at the Frist. Actually, this might be the last in a run of good fortune. Seigel writes for ArtForum, teaches at Hunter College, and seems to have her finger into every aspect of contemporary art. Just to pick up one thing, she curated a show on painting in New York from the period 1967-75 which I saw in DC and which has been traveling through ICI. The period is significant because this was a time when everyone was declaring the death of painting (sculpture and installation were ascendant), but plenty was still happening, and it’s up to people like Siegel to remind us about it. Hard to say much about what she’s going to talk about from the title—“Contemporary Art in the Age of Extremes.” The lecture is at 6:00.

Future/Now: Mid-State Art Majors, Frist. This is pretty cool—an exhibit of art by current students at local colleges (Fisk, APSU, MTSU, TSU, Watkins, Vandy, Lipscomb, Belmont, and the Appalachian Center for Crafts—looks like they missed Sewanee). The works were chosen by faculty at the schools, so if nothing else it will show you who has ingratiated themselves with their faculty. Seriously, I think it’s great that the Frist is opening their doors to these artists. People who make it to one-night group shows, campus exhibits, and some of the Arcade galleries will see some of these students, but there’s a lot of people who get to those places. It’s also a good counterpoint to the Société Anonyme—most of these students undoubtedly want to be the Modernists of their day.

Nashville Opera, Elmer Gantry. The Nashville Opera is doing the premier of an opera by Robert Aldridge. This is a big deal. Aldridge is a well-known composer and this is the latest entry in the great American opera sweepstakes, which seems to have heated up lately. Elmer Gantry is the story of an evangelical preacher, so Aldridge uses lots of gospel music in his work—he’s a southerner, and he and librettist went to tent meetings in western North Carolina (his father was a preacher there). They are positioning the work as a crossover possibility—“if you liked ‘O Brother Where Art Thou,’ here’s an opera you’ll like.” That pitch doesn’t really grab me, but I should probably keep an open mind about this. Aldridge sounds like he’s genuinely engaged by roots music. It’s just it almost never works out that these vernaculars profit from getting transferred into classical settings, and I just don’t think classical music needs rescuing from its own vocabulary and sounds. But leaving aside my carping, it’s a big deal for the Nashville Opera to stage this premier, of an ambitious strategy that has the Opera trying something unusual every year, like the double bill of Davies The Lighthouse and Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine a couple of years ago. The people at the Opera (Carol Penterman, John Hoomes, etc.) seem determined to make something happen here. Cool. 8:00 on the 16th in TPAC Polk Theater. The Opera is also presenting this production at 2:00 on Sunday the 18th and 7:00 on Tuesday the 20th.

Nov. 16-17

Watkins, Yart Sale Watkins students offer their work for sale every year about this time, when you’re supposed to be thinking about Christmas. Dave Hickey would be proud. And no one gets hurt by paying very little for a photo by a Watkins student.

Nov. 17

Cumberland Gallery, Packages Large and Small Cumberland’s annual holiday show, formerly the Small Packages show—pieces by many of Cumberland’s gallery artists, a few others, represented by previously limited to 15 inches, now expanded to up to 40 inches in size.

Plowhaus, Festivus Holiday Show. Same idea as above from artists less likely to have a faculty appointment.


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