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Julius Eastman: That Which is Fundamental

An exhibition in two parts featuring archival traces and contemporary works, in conjunction with the Eastman Estate

Values


Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Artistic legacies
  • Memory
  • Performance

Organizing Institutions

Slought, Bowerbird

Contributing Institutions

Eastman Estate

Organizers

Tiona Nekkia McClodden

Acknowledgments

Major support has been received by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. For a full list of funders, see bowerbird.org

Opens to public

05/04/2017

Time

6:30-8:30pm

Address

Slought
4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

On the web

http://bowerbird.org/eastman/

Tags
  • Eastman

Slought and Bowerbird are pleased to announce "Julius Eastman: That Which is Fundamental," an interdisciplinary, multi-artist project organized in conjunction with the Eastman Estate that examines the life, work, and resurgent influence of Julius Eastman. Eastman, a gay African American composer and performer who was active internationally in the 1970s and 80s, died homeless at the age of 49, leaving an incomplete but compelling collection of scores and recordings.

At Slought, an exhibition in two parts - A Recollection and Predicated - features archival traces and work by ten contemporary artists that engages with Eastman and the fragmented nature of his legacy. A Recollection approaches a historical exploration and remembrance of Julius Eastman as a master of artifice, while Predicated., an exhibition in conversation with the work of Julius Eastman, explores notions of absence, trace presence, duration, the politics of exhaustion, as well as the interplay between composition and improvisation through video, sculpture, and photography.

Both exhibitions will be on display May 4, 2017 through May 28, 2017, with an opening reception on Thursday, May 4 from 6:30-8:30pm. Additional programs include:

• Saturday, May 13, 6pm: Dustin Hurt and Tiona Nekkia McClodden in conversation
• Thursday, May 18, 6pm: The music of Julius Eastman with Dustin Hurt
• Saturday, May 20, 6pm: Artist Talk moderated by Tiona Nekkia McClodden

Julius Eastman: That Which is Fundamental is the culmination of more than three years of research. This project also includes four major concerts - including several modern "premieres" of recently recovered works - every Friday in May in the Sanctuary at The Rotunda. More information about the music program is available online.

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A Recollection

Julius Eastman the trickster.
Julius Eastman the brother.
Julius Eastman the son.
Julius Eastman the composer.
Julius Eastman the provocateur.
Julius Eastman the pianist.
Julius Eastman the painter.
Julius Eastman the dancer.
Julius Eastman the vocalist.
Julius Eastman the one that got away.

Did Julius want us to have a hold on his life, or did he want the residue of his life and work to remain as cunning as he was?

A Recollection approaches a historical exploration and remembrance of Julius Eastman as a master of artifice. The audio, artifacts, and ephemera in this exhibition examine the music, literary, and choreography of Eastman's life through the people who knew him best. The archive of Eastman that emerges after his death is fractured - partially by his own hand. Julius Eastman concentrated on the present, with little regard to the past and especially not the future during his life and often treated his work as ephemeral. The artifacts of his life remain spread among friends, family, lovers, resisting traditional forms of centralization under the roof of a single institution.

Using this shape-shifting as a conceptual framework, A Recollection maps archival matter as a way of inviting viewers to discover new pieces and forge relationships between ephemera held by different informal archivists. A Recollection leans into the breaks and rests there for a moment, considering what is present and said, as well as absent and unsaid. Celebrating Eastman, a master of artifice engaged in a range of improvisation gestures, A Recollection explores truth, fact, and the liminal and is ultimately an invitation to look at remains, and imagine what remains to be seen.

Predicated.

Carolyn Lazard
Beau Rhee
James Maurelle
Sondra Perry
Wayson Jones
Ash Arder
Jonathan Gardenhire
Courtney Bryan
Texas Isaiah
Yulan Grant

Predicated., an exhibition in conversation with the work of Julius Eastman, explores notions of absence, trace presence, duration, and the politics of exhaustion. The exhibition examines the interplay between composition and improvisation through video, sculpture, and photography. Featuring the work of ten contemporary artists, Predicated. considers Eastman's lived experience as an experimental artist during his time as a member of the Creative Associates, and while living in New York's Lower East Side.

Mapping the relationships between Eastman's practice and the present workings of ten contemporary artists, this interdependent installation space articulates narratives about both art objects, and the methods of their production. These works examine absence as a foundational concept grappling concept, highlighting the unavailable body, the missing trace, improvisation, and the evasion of presence within the distanced narrative.

Julius Eastman was born in New York City in 1940 and spent his youth in Ithaca, NY. Eastman studied piano and composition at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, graduating in 1963. He moved to Buffalo, eventually joining the Creative Associates (1968 - 1975), a prestigious new music center noted for its leadership under Morton Feldman. A highly regarded performer, he was especially noted for his performances of Peter Maxwell Davies' "Eight Songs for a Mad King," the recording of which was nominated for a Grammy in 1973.

In 1975, he moved to New York City, where he continued to compose and perform regularly. A series of misfortunes and personal struggles left Eastman homeless in the mid 1980s, with much of his music confiscated when he was evicted from his home. Eastman died in Buffalo in 1990 at age 49.