Orchestra performing

Artist Talk by Ari Benjamin Meyers: Rehearsing the Future—On the “Kunsthalle for Music” and Some Recent Works

Tuesday, March 26, 2024 at 7:00pm
Adzenyah Rehearsal Hall, Room 003 (Daltry Room), 60 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown


Ari Benjamin Meyersperformative works and installations exist between music and the fine arts, and in 2017 he institutionalized his approach by founding the “Kunsthalle for Music” for the exhibition of musical performances and music-based art. This international museum has no fixed location, but has installed itself temporarily at various institutions in places like Rotterdam, Moscow, and Hong Kong.

Meyers sees himself as a composer, in the broadest sense. “For me, composition is a kind of tool, a tool to bring together artistic, theoretical, and socio-political modes of production,” said Meyers. 
His recent performances “Forecast” and “Unless,” as well as the upcoming “Outside,” engage the histories of anthropogenic climate change and human-nature relations. For the public project “Rehearsing Philadelphia” he applied principles of musical rehearsal to explore possibilities together with the city’s residents around collective action and shaping society, with the slogan “The future will be rehearsed, not perfected.”

Meyers was born in 1972 in New York. He lives and works in Berlin. His work explores structures and processes that redefine the performative, social, and ephemeral nature of music. His diverse practice features performances for the stage and for exhibition spaces, as well as three operas, including a commission for the Semperoper Dresden, and a ballet for the Paris Opera. A number of works, including “Rehearsing Philadelphia” and “Werksorchester (both 2022), are focused on the public and civic sphere and have involved large scale communal rituals. Recently, Meyers has created performances directly related to the environment and issues around climate change; these include “Forecast (LX23) and “Unless as part of the “Shared Landscapes project (both 2023).

Trained as a composer and conductor at The Juilliard School, Yale University, and The Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, Meyers became more widely known in the context of the visual arts in 2007 as musical director and conductor of the group exhibition “Il Tempo del Postino” (Manchester International Festival, 2007 and Art Basel, 2009).

Since that time, his works have been shown internationally in institutions and festivals including at MUDAM (2023); Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein (2023); Berliner Festspiele (2023); Festival d’Avignon (2023); Hamburger Kunsthalle (2022); Theater Treffen, Berlin (2022); MAAT, Lisbon (2021); Kunstsammlung Gera (2021); Neues Museum Nürnberg (2020); Schering Stiftung, Berlin (2020); VAC Foundation, Moscow (2019); Frac Franche-Comté (2019); Pinault Collection, Punta della Dogana, Venice (2019); Liverpool Biennial (2018); Nowy Teatr, Warsaw (2018); Public Art Munich (2018); Witte de With, Rotterdam (2018); Sonic Somatic Festival, Florence (2018); Biennale de Lyon (2017); Spring Workshop, Hong Kong (2017); Lenbachhaus, Munich (2017); and Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2016).

Selected recent solo exhibitions and presentations include “K Club as part of Unlimited Night at Art Basel (2022); “Kunsthalle for Music, Act 1: 7 Stücke aus dem Repertoire von Ari Benjamin Meyers at Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach (2022); Duet (with the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn) at Bundeskunsthalle Bonn (2022); The Long Parade at Beaufort Triennial (2021); Forecast (Installation Version) at Urbane Künste Ruhr (2021); Solo at Yellow Solo, Berlin (2020); K Club at Blitz Club, Munich (2020); Ari Benjamin Meyers: Kunsthalle for Music at MCA Santa Barbara (2019); Tacet at Kunstverein Kassel (2019); and In Concert at OGR Turin (2019).

Presented by the Creative Campus Initiative and Associate Professor of History, Environmental Studies, and Science in Society Courtney Fullilove as part of the course “HIST 249: History of the End.”

The Creative Campus Initiative of the Center for the Arts supports cross-disciplinary collaborations that center the arts as a way of teaching, learning, and knowing at Wesleyan University.

Image above from “Rehearsing Philadelphia.”