Magazine article Artforum International

Jennie C. Jones

Magazine article Artforum International

Jennie C. Jones

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON, DC

HIRSHHORN MUSEUM AND SCULPTURE GARDEN

Jennie C. Jones makes abstract work using paint, sound, and audio equipment such as acoustic panels and bass traps. Her multimedia exhibition "Directions: Jennie C. Jones: Higher Resonance" joins thirteen new works with a looped composition played through elevated speakers. The curved exterior gallery of the Gordon Bunshaft--designed Hirshhorn Museum--often an odd counterpoint to the austere rectilinearity of much of its collection--is made a virtue here, as Jones has converted its arced space into an acoustic chamber for music that seeps invitingly into the surrounding corridor.

In the introductory wall text, the show's curator, Evelyn Hankins, promises works that nod to Minimalism; engage "social, political, and historical concerns"; and "highlight what is missing from the legacy of American modernism." This is an ambitious interpretation of what lies within; and one infers, from the notes resonating throughout the gallery, citing legendary African American composers of the avant-garde, that "what is missing" is modernism's debt to black culture, music culture, or both. But have we really forgotten such connections? Mondrian's last paintings were famously inspired by New York's swinging hoogie-woogie; Jackson Pollock and Norman Lewis alike looked to the improvisational freedom of uptown jazz; and de Kooning once declared that he bent paint the way a trumpeter bent a blue note. in other words, the commonplace mythology of two of America's major twentieth-century exports already accounts for their strong mutual affinities (imagined, purloined, or otherwise), and such complex connections are still being actively investigated in major exhibitions and contemporary discourses.

Less explored, perhaps, are the persistent interrelations of art and jazz as each moved within the Minimal and post-painterly registers of the 1960s and early '70s. In both cases, the gesture of the author often receded in favor of harder lines, more dissonant sounds, and seriality. One does not have to look far to find a constellation joining Sol LeWitt, Steve Reich, Cecil Taylor, Eric Dolphy, and Al Loving, for example. Such relations are not one-to-one, and they bespeak a set of connections more formal than romantic. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.