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American Sublime: Art and Music in post-war New York
July 21, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - July 23, 2020 @ 5:00 pm
A ticket to both lectures costs £6, or you can book individual lectures for £4 each. No prior knowledge is assumed.
Due to the rise of Nazism in Europe, numerous well-known artists such as Duchamp, Miro, Dali, Picabia and many others had to leave Europe. They were leaders of well-established movements such as DaDa, Surrealism and Bauhaus. Many of them were invited to become teachers at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, USA, including the Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius. The school faculty included brilliant composers such as John Cage and dancers like Merce Cunningham. Willem de Kooning and Robert Motherwell were teachers of students like Robert Rauschenberg and Kenneth Noland.
Maria’s talk on American Abstract Expressionism will focus on members of the school’s faculty and students who were or would go on to become highly influential in the arts, and helped consolidate New York’s position at the center of Western art.
Morton Feldman (1926-87) was one of the most important composers of the second half of the twentieth century. He, along with John Cage, Christian Wolff and others, set the musical agenda for generations of musicians, right up to the present day. He is associated with the New York School, a band of musicians, artists, authors and poets, that included poets John Ashbery and Frank O’Hara, artist Philip Guston, and dancer Merce Cunningham. He also knew Rauschenberg, Rothko and Pollock. Feldman’s famous piece ‘Rothko Chapel’ (1971) for voices and instruments, was written for the building of the same name, which houses paintings by Mark Rothko.
Mike’s talk will focus on Feldman’s music, in particular ‘Rothko Chapel’ ‘For John Cage’ (1982) for violin and piano, and ‘Palais de Maris’ (1986) for piano. Morton Feldman took ideas from many sources, but in the last decade of his life was interested in Middle Eastern Rugs. Steven Brun writes: “In his important 1981 essay Crippled Symmetry, he describes his fascination with the inexact symmetries in the patterning of these rugs, qualities he also perceived in the music of Webern, Stravinsky and Reich. He also writes of the ‘subliminal mathematics’ of Mark Rothko’s paintings.”
The lectures will be delivered via Zoom. If you haven’t used Zoom before, please go to www.zoom.us and look at the tutorials. An invitation to each lecture will be emailed to you.