Sound Art

One of my favorite artist teams is Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. Their web site is phenomenal. What it can’t do is give you the unparalleled experience of sound that is the hallmark of their work. They’ve succeeded in reinventing art, truly, as Ezra Pound said, making it new. I met them back in 2002 when they were in the Corcoran Biennial curated by my friend Jonathan Binstock. The work he showcased was “The Paradise Institute.” You can check it out here. It debuted at the Canadian pavilion of the 2001 Venice Biennale. We shared too many martinis and sat in my living room listening to the music that was the foundation of “The Forty Part Motet,” an installation that uses 40 loudspeakers on stands (roughly the height of a man or woman) and plays Thomas Tallis’ “Spem in Alium.” In Latin, the title is roughly, “Hope in Any Other.” I saw one of their most powerful works at Art Basel Miami three years ago. It was “The Killing Machine.” It remains for me the most important installation piece on the deterioration of American morality during the Bush years.

The great news I have to report is that you can see their newest installations now at Luhring Augustine at 531 West 24th St. in Chelsea through May 1. They are “The Cabinet of Curiousness, “The Carnie,” and a set of telephones with various titles such as “I Was in this Weird Ghetto.”