Vertical Thoughts: Morton Feldman and the Visual Arts
31 March – 27 June 2010
Morton Feldman is widely considered to be one of the most influential composers of the second half of the 20th-century. During his long career he was closely associated with a number of visual artists – particularly those connected with the New York School. In 1967 he curated an exhibition entitled Six Painters in Houston, Texas, and Vertical Thoughts takes its inspiration from this original project.
Vertical Thoughts comprises music scores, record covers, photographs and documents, and works of art by fourteen artists associated with Feldman. These include Francesco Clemente, Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston, Jasper Johns, Alex Katz, R.B. Kitaj, Franz Kline, Piet Mondrian, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko and Cy Twombly. Also included are artworks from Feldman’s original collection, portraits, and some of the works included in Six Painters. Oriental rugs from Feldman’s collection, which were influential in his thinking, are also shown. The scope of the exhibition is extended by showing films on de Kooning and Pollock which had scores composed by Feldman. IMMA also plans to organise a festival of Feldman’s music.
Born in New York City in 1926, Morton Feldman was a pioneer of indeterminate music, a development associated with the experimental New York School of composers, which also included John Cage and Christian Wolff. From the 1950s Feldman began to write pieces which had no relation to traditional compositional systems and which experimented with musical notation. Feldman found inspiration in the paintings of the Abstract Expressionists and wrote a number of pieces in honour of artists who became his close friends such as Rothko Chapel, 1971, commissioned on the death of Mark Rothko and performed in a chapel which housed his paintings, and For Philip Guston, 1984. Feldman continued to compose until his death in 1987.
The exhibition is curated by Juan Manuel Bonet, independent curator and former Director of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue published by IMMA. The catalogue includes texts by close associates of Feldman's, including Juan Manuel Bonet; Dore Ashton, art historian and critic; Brian O’Doherty, artist; Bunita Marcus, composer; Barbara Monk Feldman, composer; Kevin Volans, composer; and Francesco Pellizzi, writer and anthropologist, who also presents an unpublished conversation with Feldman, recorded during January 1985. To buy the catalogue click here. The exhibition is supported by The Irish Times, RTÉ Supporting the Arts and the Cultural Tourism Scheme of the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism. Works in the exhibition by Swiss artist Sonja Sekula are kindly supported by the Swiss Embassy in Ireland.
The Curator's talk by Juan Manuel Bonet is supported by the Cervantes Instituto Dublin.