March 26, 2019
Rhythm, Rhythm, Everywhere
Toledo City Paper, 03/26/2019
Thena Cocoves

Rhythm, Rhythm, Everywhere
Toledo City Paper, 03/26/2019
Thena Cocoves

Blurring the lines between art and music at the TMA

Art and music have always worked in tandem, but in modern and contemporary discourse, the line between “artist” and “musician” becomes increasingly blurred. Explore how the visual and musical arts continue to inspire each other in the Toledo Museum of Art’s multisensory exhibition, Everything is Rhythm: Mid-Century Art & Music, jointly curated by Halona Norton-Westbrook, director of curatorial affairs, and Scott Boberg, manager of programs and audience engagement.

“The Toledo Museum of Art has long celebrated the promotion of both the visual and musical arts,” explained Norton-Westbrook. “Everything is Rhythm seeks to engage visitors by prompting close looking, contemplation and consideration of the connection between visual and auditory forms.”

Drawing from form

The exhibition, which opens Saturday, April 6, takes inspiration from the acclaimed mid-century abstract painter Larry Poons, whose work is featured prominently in the exhibit.

In 2017, writer David Rhodes of the Brooklyn Rail visited Poons in his Union Square studio, where he has painted since 1975. It was just before Poon’s major exhibition of his solo, large-scale paintings at the Yares Gallery, Momentum, which debuted new work from the then 80-year-old artist.

During their interview, Poons made a distinction between pattern and rhythm, one that retrospectively defines the painter’s oeuvre of large, abstract paintings with pulsing color, op-art aesthetics, and movement:

“A rhythm is simply the distance between here and here. A dancer moves a finger from one place to another; that’s rhythm. Whether you notice it or not, to move intrinsically— it’s rhythm to be alive. Or not. Even a piece of chemistry moves, responds to conditions. You don’t need to say rhythm needs to be conscious; it’s just a word for everything. You can think of it that way.”

Putting thought into movement

Poons, like many mid-century artists, helped to blur the line between the “artist” and “musician,” early in his career, working as a musical composer and performer, highlighted with The Druds, a short-lived avant-garde noise band featuring LaMonte Young, Jasper Johns, Patty Mucha, and Walter de Maria— a sort of all-star lineup of the New York conceptual and minimal art scene of the 1960s.

While Poons later focused exclusively on visual art, that initial relationship between art and music was continually celebrated in his career, as well as in modern and contemporary discourse.

Together, together

In Everything is Rhythm, Boberg and Norton-Westbrook expertly selected 20th-century abstract paintings to be paired with curated musical compositions. The 14 inspiring art and music pairings will be brought to life with special events held throughout the duration of the exhibition, on view through November 3.

“In some instances, the composer and artist were known to one another and shared a direct connection, while in other instances, the selected musical composition and art work share ideas, approaches or aspects such as rhythm, texture or basic structure. In some instances, the artwork and music paired with it are separated by decades,” Boberg explained.

One significant example in Everything is Rhythm is the pairing of the painting And Then There Were Three, by Julian Stanczak, with Metamorphosis III, by composer Philip Glass. Stanczak’s cinematic and large scale painting complements the lush solo piano work by Glass, and will be performed by Lisa Moore during an in-gallery concert at 3pm on November 3, the last day of the exhibit.

Other artists in the exhibition include Hans Hoffman, Josef Albers, Willem de Kooning, and Victor Vasarely. For more information on the exhibit, as well as a series of in-gallery concerts, visit

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January 17, 2017
Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts
J. Willard Marriott Library
The University of Utah, 01/17/2017

The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will host the art exhibition Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts, Jan. 20-March 3.

Artnauts, an art collective formed 20 years ago by George Rivera, professor of art and art history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, consists of 300 global artists who serve as goodwill ambassadors, acknowledging and supporting victims of oppression worldwide. Their creativity has generated over 230 exhibitions across five continents. Five faculty members from the U’s Department of Art and Art History are members of the collective, Sandy Brunvand, Beth Krensky, V. Kim Martinez, Brian Snapp and Xi Zhang.

Globalocation derives from “Globalocational Art” — a concept used by the Artnauts to refer to their exhibitions in international venues. It is the mission of the Artnauts to take art to places of contention, and this anniversary exhibition is a sample of places where they have been and themes they have addressed.

“The Artnauts could not exist without the commitment of the artists in the collective to a common vision of the transformative power of art,” said Rivera. “The Artnauts make their contribution with art that hopefully generates a dialogue with an international community on subjects that are sometimes difficult to raise.”

Krensky, associate department chair of the Art and Art History Department, had the opportunity to travel with Rivera in Chile as part of an Artnauts project, working with mothers who were searching for their children who had mysteriously disappeared during a time of political unrest.

“When I travelled to Chile in 1998, George and I spent an afternoon with the Mothers of the Disappeared, and the meeting changed my life,” said Krensky. “It was from that moment on that I placed a picture of them on my desk to look at every day. I was so moved by what they each had lost — a son, a brother, a father — and yet what remained for them was a deep, deep well of love. They were fierce warriors and stood up to the government to demand the whereabouts and information of the people who had disappeared, but they lived within profound love.”

The 20th anniversary exhibition at the Marriott Library is a retrospective of the traveling works the Artnauts have toured around the globe. The exhibition will be located on level three of the library. The opening reception is open to the public and will be held on Friday, Jan 20, 4-6 p.m. Rivera will speak at 4 p.m.

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