I Am Sitting In A Room

Commentary and thoughts on (mostly) classical music.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Meanwhile, in California...

In a recent discussion elsewhere, I waxed ecstatic regarding the LA Philharmonic’s programming. They’ve apparently released the 2006/07 season schedule (which I can’t find yet). Sequenza 21 has a summary, and it looks damn good. Once again, LA is doing some of the most exciting orchestra programs in this country, with a serious commitment to new music and cool events like a reprise of the “Tristan Project.” Makes me wish I lived on the left coast. I’m just a poor grad student, but I may have to break the bank next season. It’s hurting me enough to miss out on the current season. (This weekend, Thomas Adès is on the bill. *sigh*)

The Weight of History

The NYT's review of a show of early Frank Stella gets into some interesting territory related to art historicism:
"Frank Stella 1958" suggests, completely inadvertently, that the obscurity of the [historically significant] Black Paintings may be partly their own fault. They and Mr. Stella's subsequent striped shaped paintings are the most implacable and withholding of his production and, in many ways, the least characteristic of his sensibility. They are handsome works of great historical weight, but they don't seem to have held the artist's interest for very long, so why should they hold ours? All the more reason to examine what came before the Black Paintings, to better fathom what followed them.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


Nam June Paik, 1932-2006.

The New York Times printed/posted a nice
appreciation of Paik, who died Sunday, Jan. 29, in Miami Beach. (There are worse places from which to pass on.)

In the heyday of Fluxus, Paik was one of the crazier avant-garde buggers out there. His "Creep into the vagina of a living whale" is aptly notorious. In reaction to Paik, John Cage reportedly wondered whether he had had any entirely savory influence on the younger genertaion.

Paik got hooked on the technology of television and created a series of works involving TV screens. The more famous involved cellist Charlotte Moorman, often in some state of undress. Below is the classic "TV Bra for Living Sculpture" (1969). Beyond the wackiness, Paik seems to have been clued in to some very significant realizations concerning how television was rewiring our brains and skewing what little sense of the great high/low divide was still left. After skimming the
gallery at his studio website, I'm particularly fond of "Video-Buddha" from 1976 (above).