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Richard Minsky: Notes
October 11, 2014 - December 20, 2014
FEATURED ARTIST PROJECT
Organized by Jae Jennifer Rossman, Assistant Director for Special Collections, Haas Arts Library, Yale University
Richard Minsky explores the relationship between music and visual art in Notes (2014). Minsky recently created this unique instrument from a random collection of organ pipes he acquired in the 1980s. Inspired by the limited set of notes, Minsky created a series of musical compositions that can be played on the chair or any instrument. The book Notes is based on Musical Theory, a uniquely-bound, small blank book in which Minsky kept notes about potential musical compositions, riffs, and lyrics during the 1970s and 1980s. Notes includes reproductions from Musical Theory, original ephemera from that time period, and a CD of Minsky’s 1972 recording of his score for Gerald Jackson’s Adventures in Ku-Ta-Ba Wa-Do, that explores the relationship between color and music. The edition contains 75 limited edition copies, ten deluxe copies, and one unique binding: the musical chair on display.
Minsky’s sculptural rendition of his material meets metaphor methodology is part of a longstanding tradition: the link between music and the built environment (sculpture and architecture). This connection goes back centuries, if not millennia, exemplified in the ritual spaces of many world religions. The great natural philosopher, poet, and artist J. W. von Goethe wrote that “Music is liquid architecture.” In the 20th century, the relationship between music/sound, performance, and contemporary art was explored through happenings and artist performance, such as the famous John Cage piece 4’33”. While Cage’s composition focused on a lack of sound created by the musicians, Minsky’s work encourages the viewer to become the performer and the listener, creating a work in which the reader plays multiple parts in the work’s activation. Minsky’s unique binding is a new addition to an exemplary lineage of works that combine music and visual art to create a multi-sensory experience.