Tuesday, April 22, 2014

COVER: Terry Adkins / Artforum / March 2014

Terry Adkins, Muffled Drums (detail), 2003-13, eleven found bass drums, mufflers, steel, 30' 3" x 3' 1/2" x 1' 7". 
Event Scores
Terry Adkins and George Lewis in Conversation

It’s still unusual to play an artwork, no matter how many interactive screens or relational games we’ve encountered. But playing the piece is often the first thing that happens in the practices of Terry Adkins and George Lewis – each of whom breached the borders between the visual arts and music, and each of whom came of age in the 1970s and ‘80s ferment of post-bop and cyborgs, identity politics and institutional critique. Artforum invited the vanguard, multidisciplinary artist Adkins – whose work features in the Whitney Biennial in New York this month – to talk with renowned composer and computer-music pioneer Lewis about performance, improvisation, history, race, and sensation. Tragically, Adkins passed away, at the age of sixty, as this issue was going to press. We hope that the conversation that follows might also serve as an unexpected valedictory of sorts, pointing toward the rich possibilities that Adkins’s work has opened up – and will continue to open for years to come.

Quotes from conversation:

“The Mars rover is my model of what I want to make as an interactive artist – an improvising machine that you set down on the surface of a hostile planet, where it makes its own way.”  
-- George Lewis

“I try to make sculpture that is as ephemeral and transient as music is.”
--Terry Adkins

“What your practice shows is the extent to which sound is abstract, functional, and socially embedded, all at once. You can see the tradition, and then you can hear it.” 
– George Lewis

“In your work, there’s a certain amount of surrender and a certain amount of anonymity: the will to let go, the will to allow possibilities to somehow take care of themselves, a kind of anonymous authorship where you just supply the matrix for possibility and remove yourself.”
--Terry Adkins

Click here to order a copy of the March 2014 issue of Artforum.

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