The Musical Brain is a video exhibition that shows how music is both an art form and a way that we hear the world around us. Often used to describe nature, the cosmos, and even the built industrial environment, music is the order we project onto a cacophonous world. Humans seek order and patterns but also relish chaos and noise; in many ways, music becomes the way that we can experience both at the same time.
Ben Hagari’s Fresh (2014) is a humorous portrait of a man made entirely from vegetables, and who is eventually harvested to be carved into musical instruments. Cecilia Bengolea’s Lightning Dance (2017) takes a lightning storm in Spanish Town, Jamaica as the soundtrack for a dance. Devin Kenny’s Jumpman Freestyle by Drag Lomax (2015) features Drag Lomax (né Shadrach Abernathy Lewis) in Central Park, which Lomax refers as Seneca Village. Lomax makes folk music from sampled material layered with new vocals and instrumentation to challenge what it means for music to be “folk” while addressing cultural exchange, gentrification, and Black erasure. Angelica Mesiti’s The Colour of Saying (2015) continues her exploration of nonverbal communication through three performance works: Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music (1938) performed by a sign language choir, an improvisation inspired by Steve Reich’s Clapping Music (1972), and a pas de deux from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake (1875–76) performed in “hand marking,” a classical ballet method for memorizing choreographed steps.
The video program complements The Musical Brain, a group exhibition of sculptural installations.
Organized by Melanie Kress, High Line Art Associate Curator.
Lead support for High Line Art comes from Amanda and Don Mullen. Major support is provided by Shelley Fox Aarons and Philip E. Aarons, The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston, and Charina Endowment Fund. High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council, under the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson. High Line Channel is supported, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.