Alvin Lucier

Alvin Lucier’s “(Hartford) Memory Space”

Saturday, November 18, 2023 at 1:00pm
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, 600 Main Street, Hartford, Connecticut

FREE! for Wesleyan University students, faculty, and staff with ID, Hartford residents, and youth under 18; $20 general public, $15 senior citizens, $10 non-Wesleyan students

Regional musicians will create a sound map of the capital city throughout the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art's galleries from 1pm to 2pm during a special recreation of “(Hartford) Memory Space” (1970) by the late John Spencer Camp Professor of Music Emeritus Alvin Lucier (1931–2021).

Performers will include Joan La Barbara, The Daxophone Consort (Daniel Fishkin MA ’15, Cleek Schrey, and Ron Shalom MA ’17), Tongue Depressor (Henry Birdsey and Zach Rowden), Trevor Saint, Professor and Chair of the Wesleyan Music Department Ronald Kuivila ’77, Emerson Jenisch ’25, and Sam Boston ’25.

One of the most influential American composers of the last hundred years, Lucier is best known for his works that explore the properties of sound and how we perceive them. "(Hartford) Memory Space" premiered in the Joseloff Gallery at the Hartford Art School of the University of Hartford, inviting musicians to recreate the sounds they heard while in the city. 

This performance is presented by Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts in partnership with the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art and the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford, with support from the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation Fund at the Wadsworth Atheneum.

This event is held in conjunction with the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art exhibition Rules & Repetition: Conceptual Art at the Wadsworth Atheneum, on display through Sunday, February 18, 2024.

The Wadsworth exhibition includes works by Sol LeWitt (1928–2007). No Title: Relays and Relations—Works by Renée Green and Sol LeWitt is on display in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan University through Sunday, December 3, 2023. Admission to the Wesleyan exhibition is free. 

As a student at Wesleyan University, Renée Green ’81 participated in a seminar focused on LeWitt’s art collection taught by John T. Paoletti, Professor of Art History, Emeritus. LeWitt had recently loaned a large number of artworks to the Wadsworth Atheneum with the intention to make the works more available for viewing and for study. The seminar, built around these works from LeWitt’s collection, resulted in the exhibition No Title: The Collection of Sol LeWitt at Wesleyan’s Davison Art Center in 1981. The resulting catalog featured Green’s first published writings, with catalog entries on works by Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Adrian Piper, and Lawrence Weiner. Describing this experience as a significant moment in her formation as an artist, Green is interested in what similar acts of aesthetic exchange and critical thinking could be offered to younger artists today, thereby relaying the transmission of historical conceptual art into new directions.

Alvin Lucier was born in 1931 in Nashua, New Hampshire. He was educated in Nashua public and parochial schools, the Portsmouth Abbey School, Yale University, and Brandeis University, and spent two years in Rome on a Fulbright Scholarship. From 1962 to 1970, he taught at Brandeis University, where he conducted the Brandeis University Chamber Chorus. In 1966, he co-founded the Sonic Arts Union; and from 1970 to 2011 he taught at Wesleyan University, where he was John Spencer Camp Professor of Music. Across his career, Lucier lectured and performed extensively in Asia, Europe, and the United States. Lucier pioneered many areas of music composition and performance, including the notation of performers' physical gestures, the use of brain waves in live performance, the generation of visual imagery by sound in vibrating media, and the evocation of room acoustics for musical purposes.

Image: contact sheet from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art Archives Photograph Collection documenting Alvin Lucier’s performance of "Music for Solo Performer" (1965) at the Wadsworth Atheneum on April 23, 1996 as part of an “Evening Lecture Series” on performance art.