“Soundings: A Contemporary Score” Exhibition

The Museum of Modern Art

poster for “Soundings: A Contemporary Score” Exhibition

This event has ended.

The MoMA’s first major exhibition of sound art, “Soundings,” presents work by 16 of the most innovative contemporary artists working with sound. While the artists in “Soundings” approach sound from a variety of angles— the visual arts, architecture, performance, computer programming, and music— they share an interest in working with, rather than against or independent of, a given situation or environment. These artistic responses range from architectural interventions to visualizations of otherwise inaudible sound to an exploration of how sound ricochets within a gallery to a range of field recordings including bats, abandoned buildings in Chernobyl, 59 bells in New York City, and a factory in Taiwan. Soundings is organized by Barbara London, Associate Curator, with Leora Morinis, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Media and Performance Art, MoMA.

The diversity of these works echoes the complex and contested field of sound as art. Yet the exhibition posits something specific: that sound can elicit—both in the maker and the museumgoer—modes of active, focused listening, and a heightened relationship between interior and exterior space. At a time when personal listening devices and tailored playlists have become ubiquitous, shared aural spaces are increasingly rare. Many of the artists in the exhibition aim for such realities, and the sound they create is decidedly social, immersing visitors and connecting them in space. In many of the works, links are drawn between disparate topographies and subjects, giving rise to new notions of place, time, and experience.

[Image: Hong-Kai Wang “Still from ‘Music While We Work’” (2011) Multichannel sound and two-channel video installation]


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