“Not only a pianist and composer but also a fluent traveler in the realm of contemporary art.” —New York Times
The work of interdisciplinary artist Jason Moran (US, b. 1975) is grounded in musical composition, yet bridges the visual and performing arts through stagecraft. Moran is known for using personal experience to create dynamic musical compositions that challenge the conventional form of the medium. His experimental approach to artmaking embraces the intersection of objects and sound, pushing beyond the traditional staged concert or sculpture and drawing to amplify ways that both are inherently theatrical. This exhibition, the artist’s first museum show, features the range of work Moran has explored, from his own sculptural pieces and collaborations with visual artists to performances. Jason Moran will be on view April 26–August 26, 2018, in the Walker’s Target and Friedman galleries.
In all aspects of his work, Moran’s creative process is informed by one of the essential tenets of jazz music: the “set” in which musicians come together to engage in a collaborative process of improvisation, riffing off of one another to create the musical experience. The exhibition will highlight Moran’s mixed-media “set” installations STAGED: Savoy Ballroom 1 and STAGED: Three Deuces (both 2015), sculptural vignettes based on storied music venues from past eras that were his acclaimed contributions to the 2015 Venice Biennale. The presentation includes the premiere of a new sculptural commission from this series that takes inspiration from the celebrated New York jazz venue Slugs’ Saloon, which was open from 1964 to the early 1970s. Also featured will be a selection of Moran’s most recent charcoal drawings and time-based media works from his long-standing collaborations, or sets, with visual artists including Joan Jonas, Lorna Simpson, Glenn Ligon, Julie Mehretu and Theaster Gates, all artists with extensive relationships to the Walker.
In-gallery musical performances, activating the sculptures, will be orchestrated during the run of the show to complement the gallery presentation. On the occasion of his museum debut, the artist will also return to the McGuire Theater stage to premiere a new commissioned work, The Last Jazz Fest, his second performance to be commissioned by the Walker.
The exhibition complements the Walker’s long and meaningful history in the performing arts with Moran, which began in 2001 and includes a residency and five engagements to date.
Curator: Adrienne Edwards, Curator at Large, with Danielle Jackson, Interdisciplinary Fellow, Performing Arts
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Jazz pianist, composer, and visual artist Jason Moran (b. 1975, Houston, Texas) earned a degree from the Manhattan School of Music. He was named Ford Foundation The Art of Change Fellow in 2017 with his wife and collaborator Alicia Hall Moran, a MacArthur Fellow in 2010, and is the Artistic Director for Jazz at The Kennedy Center. Moran currently teaches at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA. Moran has produced 11 albums and six film soundtracks, including scores for Ava DuVernay’s films Selma and 13th. He has collaborated with visual artists, including Joan Jonas, Adam Pendleton, Glenn Ligon, Kara Walker, Lorna Simpson, Stan Douglas, Theaster Gates, among others. His work was featured in the 2015 Venice Biennale.
Get together at Free First Saturday in May and enjoy folk singer Alastair Moock’s rompin’ concert, featuring tunes for the whole family! Then, visit the exhibition Jason Moran to learn about jazz—and even try your own hand at writing music.
Gallery admission is free for everyone on the first Saturday of each month from 10 am to 6 pm, with a variety of family activities scheduled from 10 am to 3 pm.
Jason Moran and The Bandwagon with Ryan Trecartin, Lizzie Fitch and Ashland Mines: The Last Jazz Fest
Friday May 18th & Saturday May 19th 2018, 8pm
McGuire Theater, $35 ($28 Walker Members)
Celebrated jazz pianist/composer/visual artist Jason Moran returns to the Walker to present a new multimedia performance that examines the various ways jazz functions: as freedom music, as a model of democracy, and as a prop. The work features Moran’s trio the Bandwagon (with bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits) and DJ Ashland Mines in collaboration with Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin, whose narrative-driven video installations explore the fluid nature of identity, community, and cultural subjectivity.
Walker Commission/World Premiere.
Sound Horizon: Jason Moran
Thursday, June 21, July 19, and August 9
Walker Art Center, Free
Exploring the interstitial spaces between live sound and visual art, the long-running music series Sound Horizon returns to the galleries this summer. Intended for both close listening and moments of happenstance for gallery-goers, this free, aurally eclectic series features three short sets by each artist.
Curated by Jason Moran, the events will be held on three Thursdays throughout the summer—June 21, July 19, and August 9. Visit walkerart.org for more details to come.