Published: January 9, 2001
The Katonah Museum of Art Explores an Intriguing Interplay
KATONAH, N.Y. – On January 21, the Katonah Museum of Art will open “Jazz and Visual Improvisations.” This mighty production, two years in the making, showcases the work of 18 well-known Twentieth Century artists whose improvisation, color, rhythm and virtuosity continue to electrify audiences everywhere.
Romare Bearden, Jackson Pollock, Stuart Davis, Lee Krasner, Larry Rivers, Ouattara, and Jean-Michel Basquiat will be represented. Featured are such masterpieces as Bearden’s “Soul Three,” Krasner’s “Burning Candles,” Ouattara’s “Homage to Miles Davis,” and Rivers’s “The Drummer.” Whether playful of serious, aggressive or smooth, the compositions capture the kaleidoscopic tempos of American urban and political life.
On view through April 15, “Jazz and Visual Improvisations” will explore the interplay between jazz and visual arts from the late 1950s to present. The 36 mixed-media works by 18 artists – Terry Adkins, El Anatsui, Radcliffe Bailey, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Romare Bearden, Frank Bowling, Stuart Davis, Sam Gilliam, Lee Krasner, Norman Lewis, Ouattara, Jackson Pollock, Larry Potter, Larry Rivers, Charles Seliger, Merton Simpson, Alma Thomas and Bob Thompson – demonstrate the relationship between creative power and improvisation in their visual compositions and choice of subject matter. Many of the objects also include cultural and political references that have become increasingly integral to contemporary art.
The idea for “Jazz and Visual Improvisations” was an outgrowth of the museum’s popular series of jazz concerts, held during the summer months, in the outdoor Sculpture Garden. “Realizing that an exhibition dealing with jazz could be extremely compelling, the museum explored various options,” says Susan H. Edwards, executive director.
While the heyday of jazz is often associated with the early part of the Twentieth Century, it was after World War II that the genre had the most noticeable effect on the visual arts. Jazz’s emphasis on creation rather than re-creation, on performance rather than composition, was enthusiastically embraced by a new generation of visual artists who frequented jazz hot spots and became especially knowledgeable about this art form. Sometimes their work was inspired by a particular musician and at other times by historical and political currents.
The Katonah Museum of Art is located on Route 22, just south of Route 35 in Katonah, New York. Admission is $3; free for members and children under 16. The Katonah Museum of Art is open from Tuesday through Friday and Sunday, 1 to 5 pm; Saturday, 10 am-5 pm; closed Mondays. Telephone, 914/232-9555.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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