Camille Norment, Triplight, 2008. From Soundings: A Contemporary Score exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Image courtesy of the artist and Gasser Grunert Gallery.
On September 10, Barbara London, Camille Norment, Ed Osborn, and Richard Garet came to The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage for Sound Art: Context and Material, an in-depth conversation about the practice and curation of sound as an artistic material. This roundtable discussion was an opportunity to examine the work of three artists working with sound, who have had profound impact on the field. In addition, Barbara London, associate curator for the department of media and performance art at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), added her perspective as a curator with a long history in media arts, and had recently organized MoMA's first major exhibition of sound art *Soundings: A Contemporary Score". The discussion was moderated by Seth Cluett, assistant professor of music in the School of Contemporary Arts at Ramapo College of New Jersey.
Barbara London is MoMA's curator of media and founder of the video exhibition and collection programs at the museum. Since the 1970s, she has pioneered in tracking the development of media art from its raw beginnings, and has guided the field to its current position as a seriously collected, sophisticated form of expression. Her recent activity includes Through the Weeping Glass with the Quay Brothers at the Mütter Museum; and at MoMA Soundings (2013); Looking at Music 3.0, exploring the influence of music on contemporary art practices, focusing on New York in the 1980s and 1990s. Her other projects have included Mirage, an installation by Joan Jonas; Looking at Music: Side 2, featuring the 1970s and such artists as Patti Smith, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kathy Acker, Richard Hell, and Blondie; Looking at Music with 1965/1976 work by Nam June Paik, John Cage, Yoko Ono, Laurie Anderson and others (2008); Automatic Update with installations by Cory Arcangel, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, Paul Pfeiffer, and Xu Bing (2007); and River of Crime (2006), a community online project with the Residents. She has written and lectured widely.
Camille Norment's multimedia art engages the viewer as a physical and psychological participant through architectural, optical illusory, sonic, interactive environments and objects, and drawings that are "enlivened" by the presence of the viewer. With emphasis on manipulating both the visual and sonic perceptual realms, Norment is occupied with the tensions created by contradictory sensory experiences. Norment's current trajectory of work includes live performance as a mode of exploring the formal and cultural consonances and dissonances in music, freely collapsing given genre and aesthetic spectrums. Amongst several permanent public artworks, Norment was commissioned a permanent sound installation for the Henie Onstad Art Center (2011). Her extensive international fine arts exhibition credits also include a commissioned artwork and performance for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo (2012), Liste Young Art Fair (2009), the Thessaloniki Biennial, Greece (2007), Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo, Norway; the Charlottenborg Fonden, Copenhagen, Denmark; the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA.; the Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, NY; and elsewhere. Norment's work has been written about in periodicals such as Artforum, Art in America, the New York Times, and numerous other international texts. Visit her online at www.norment.net.
Ed Osborn works with many forms of electronic media including installation, video, sound, and, performance. His pieces feature a tactile sense of space, movement, image and aurality combined with a precise economy of materials. Osborn has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Creative Work Fund, and Arts International and been awarded residencies from the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program, the Banff Centre for the Arts, Het Apollohuis (Eindhoven, Netherlands), STEIM (Amsterdam), and EMPAC (Troy, NY). He has presented his work worldwide with exhibitions at SFMOMA, San Francisco, CA; the singuhr-hörgalerie, Berlin, Germany; the Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA; Artspace, Sydney, Australia; the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia; Sonambiente Festival, Berlin, Germany; ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany; Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland; MassMOCA, North Adams, MA; and elsewhere. He is on the faculty of the Visual Art Department at Brown University. Visit him online at www.roving.net.
Richard Garet interweaves various media including moving image, sound, multimedia performance, and photography. In work ranging from modified environments to site specific installations to audiovisual screening works, Garet constructs intimate spaces and immersive situations that draw attention to the processes of perception and cognition, and which activate sensorial, physical, psychological phenomena that reflect on the nature and experience of time. Garet's awards and grants include the Jerome Foundation Residency Grant through the Clocktower, Art-on-Air; the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant; the Jerome Foundation Residency Grant through Issue Project Room; and the New York State Council on the Arts Grant through Lehman College. Recent exhibitions and performances include Extraneous to the Message, Julian Navarro Projects, New York, NY; The Spacious Now and the Scale of the Instantaneous, Studio 10, New York, NY; 5X5 Real Unreal, Museum of Art Acarigua-Araure, Venezuela; EAC: Espacio de Arte Contemporáneo, Montevideo, Uruguay; Fine Arts Museum of Montreal; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; el Museo del Barrio, and elsewhere. His sonic constructions have been published through sound art labels such as 23five, And-Oar, Non Visual Objects, Winds Measure Recordings, Unframed Recordings, and others. He recently completed an Artist Production Studio Residency at the Clocktower in New York City. Visit him online at www.richardgaret.com.
Seth Cluett (moderator) is an artist, performer, and composer whose work ranges from photography and drawing to video, sound installation, concert music, and critical writing. His "subtle...seductive, immersive" (Artforum) sound work has been characterized as "rigorously focused and full of detail" (e/i) and "dramatic, powerful, and at one with nature" (The Wire). Exploring the territory between the auditory and other senses, Cluett's works are marked by a detailed attention to perception and to sound's role in the experience of place and the working of memory. The recipient of grants and awards from Meet the Composer as well as the Andrew W. Mellon, Naumberg, and Malcolm Morse Foundations, his recent work is documented on Line, Radical Matters, Sedimental, and Winds Measure recordings. In 2012, Cluett joined the faculty of Contemporary Arts at Ramapo College of New Jersey where he teaches courses in audio recording as well as electronic and experimental sound practices. Visit him online at www.onelonelypixel.org.