Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB) is pleased to announce the United States institutional debut of Berlin-based artist and composer, Ari Benjamin Meyers. Being exhibited for the first time in the United States, Kunsthalle for Music is dedicated to presenting music within the histories and environments of the visual arts. Co-founded with the Witte de With Center of Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, and Spring Workshop, Hong Kong, Kunsthalle for Music is comprised of a specially selected, local ensemble performing an on-site exhibition of musical works drawn from a “collection” that includes existing and newly commissioned solos, duets, and group pieces composed by Meyers and other artists.
Orchestrated by Meyers, the exhibition’s score is open to variations, which are determined by audience participation, by ensemble members, and by interaction in between audience and ensemble. This approach will translate into unique interpretations—an unrepeatable experience—every day. As such, visitors are encouraged to attend the exhibition more than once. Whenever the ensemble is not actively performing, Kunsthalle for Music will still activate the museum space for visitors in various ways, including ensemble members using the space to rehearse or leaving recorded musical traces in their absence.
Kunsthalle for Music at MCASB is curated by Abaseh Mirvali, Executive Director and Chief Curator, with curatorial support by Constanza Medina, Curatorial Research Associate. Kunsthalle for Music was originally commissioned by Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, and developed in partnership with Spring Workshop, Hong Kong. Ari Benjamin Meyers is its Founder and Artistic Director.
The presentation of Kunsthalle for Music at MCASB is part of the Deutschlandjahr USA 2018/19 - Year of German-American Friendship. This initiative is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, implemented by the Goethe-Institut, and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI).
Click here to read more about Kunsthalle for Music at MCASB in e-flux.
About the Artist
Ari Benjamin Meyers (b.1972, New York, USA) lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Meyers received his training as a pianist, composer, and conductor at The Juilliard School, Yale University, and Peabody Institute. Trading the concert format for that of the exhibition, his works as an artist—such as Kunsthalle for Music (2018), Symphony 80 (with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra) and Solo for Ayumi (both 2017)—explore structures and processes that redefine the performative, social, and ephemeral nature of music as well as the relationship between performer and audience. His diverse practice features musical performances for the stage and exhibition spaces as well as three operas including a commission for the Semperoper Dresden and a ballet for the Paris Opera. He has collaborated with artists including Tino Sehgal, Anri Sala, and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and bands such as The Residents, Einstürzende Neubauten, and Chicks on Speed.
Recent solo shows include Tacet at Kunstverein Kassel, Germany (2019) and In Concert at OGR Turin, Italy (2019). His works have been shown at Frac Franche-Comté, Besançon, France (2019); Pinault Collection, Punta della Dogana, Venice, Italy (2019); Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, United Kingdom (2018); Nowy Teatr, Warsaw, Poland (2018); Public Art Munich, Munich, Germany (2018); Witte de With, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2018); Biennale de Lyon, Lyon, France (2017); Spring Workshop, Hong Kong, China (2017); Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany (2017); and Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany (2016).
About the Ensemble
Mika Hayashi Ebbesen is a queer Japanese-Norwegian artist and writer, interested in composing with audible frequencies to build spatial narratives for evanescent inhabitation. They are currently based in Berlin and occasionally play cello.
Booker Stardrum is a Los Angeles based percussionist and composer. His recent compositions are sculptural, involving the dense layering of instruments, a focus on pan-tonality and an intuitive approach to rhythm.
Diego Gaeta is a performer and composer working and living in Southern California. Gaeta plays in jazz, hip-hop, and chamber music bands regularly as a keyboardist, often in explorative improvisational settings. He performs as a solo artist under his full name. He also composes scores, creates sound design, and edits sound for film and visual media.
Garrett Wingfield is a Los Angeles based saxophonist and composer who actively avoids boundaries and borders in his art-making. His practice undermines the idea that improvisation and highly structured composition are antithetical. Instead, his music brings an intuitive and human element to the otherwise dense and esoteric.
Marta Tiesenga is a polymath and performer based in Los Angeles, California. In their work, they are primarily interested in the space between procedure and spontaneity.
Nigel Deane is a performer and artist based in the periphery of Los Angeles. He specializes in musical performance on the violin, with a particular interest in notes and sounds that are often ignored in musical education. He has also created and performed works of film, dance, theater, and experimental religious ceremony.
Pauline Lay is an instrumentalist, composer, and organizer based in Los Angeles. In addition to her solo improvised violin and electronics presentations, she currently performs and collaborates with other musicians in varying iterations and genres from duets to larger ensembles, including her sound enveloping piece, 5x5, a composition for 25 synthesizers.
Generous support for Kunsthalle for Music provided by the City of Santa Barbara’s Events & Festivals Grant Program, the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, Greg & Elisabeth Fowler, Institution Ale, Jacquelyn Klein-Brown & Michael Trambert, Suzanne Klein, Lisa Lloyd, Alan Macy & Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science and Technology (SBCAST), MCASB Visionaries, the Murphy Family & Presqu’ile Winery, Paseo Nuevo Shops & Restaurants, Nicola Ricciardi & Officine Grandi Riparazioni (OGR), Justine Roddick, Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation, Santa Barbara County Office of Arts & Culture, Sonos, SUPERFLEX, Clarice O. Tavares, Towbes Foundation, and Georgene Vairo & Jenn Kennedy.
Additional thanks to Alexandra Cole, Full Moon Audio, Michael & Elaine Gray, Nick Norton, Debby Peterson, Scott Cameron Weaver & O-Town House, Los Angeles, and SeaVees Sneakers.
Special thanks to Esther Schipper, Berlin, Germany.
Free admission generously sponsored by Suzanne Klein & Jacquelyn Klein-Brown.
This project has been made possible thanks to the support of friends, peers, and colleagues. Heartfelt gratitude to:
Susan Alexander, Samantha Atherton, Defne Ayas, Ani & Laurence Babahekian, Melanie Ball, Alex Blair, Mary Blair, Sherri Bliss, Charlotte Bryant, Brian Butler, Meredith Cabaniss, Allison Callis, Marie Ceffrey, Center Stage Theater, Eric Chirnside, Bjørnstjerne Christiansen, City of Santa Barbara’s Events & Festivals Grant Program, Alesha Claveria, Consulate General of Germany, Nigel Deane, Rosa de Graaf, Sandhya Daemgen, Jackson Damron, Sarah Dildine, Robin Donaldson, Charles Donelan, Alexandra Douwes, Richard Dunlap, Mika Hayashi Ebbesen, Jakob Fenger, Francesco Fassone, Elisabeth Fowler, Breyer Floyd, Diego Gaeta, Full Moon Audio, Lisa Gass, Michael & Elaine Gray, Miles Hagin, Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, Ashley Hollister, Valerie Huston, Institution Ale, Ellyette Iverson, Jennifer Jaqua, Laura Macker Johnston, Eyvind Kang, Jacquelyn Klein-Brown & Michael Trambert, Suzanne Klein, Mark Koenig, Lauren Koo, Marjorie Large, Jeroen Lavèn, Pauline Lay, Shannon Lee, Carlie Lochner, Lisa Lloyd, Alan Macy & Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science and Technology (SBCAST), Hugh Margerum, MCASB Visionaries, Constanza Medina, Ari Benjamin Meyers, Abaseh Mirvali, Maia Mislang, Michael Mooneyham, Monika Molnar-Metzenthin, Susan Monaghan, Ana Murphy, Rasmus Nielsen, Nick Norton, Marek Obara, Deji Olukotun, Terry Ortega, Ninette Paloma, Al Partida, Paseo Nuevo Shops & Restaurants, Tatjana Patitz, Tom Pazderka, Debby Peterson, Lisa Phelps, Christopher Pilafian, Presqu’ile Winery & the Murphy Family, Sera Quinteros, Nicholas Raubertus, Scott Reed, Tara Reddi, Nicola Ricciardi & Officine Grandi Riparazioni (OGR), Justine Roddick & Tina Schlieske, Selina Samaniego, Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation, Santa Barbara County Office of Arts & Culture, Santa Barbara Public Library, Esther Schipper, Esther Schipper Gallery, Stefan Schneider, Max Schreier, Lauren Sharp, Evan Sherman, Maggie Shulman, Lea Sindija, Nati & Michael Smith, Ryan Smith, Rose Soiffer Kosins, Sonos, Arturo Soto, Eve Sperling, Booker Stardrum, Kathrin Steinbrenner, Katharina Stenbeck, SUPERFLEX, Luke Swetland, Clarice O. Tavares, Kai Tepper, Alexandra Terry, Marta Tiesenga, Gina Tolleson, Towbes Foundation, Cara Treadwell, Leah Turner, Ana Urquiaga, Georgene Vairo & Jenn Kennedy, Val-Mar Records, Judith Waldmann, Scott Cameron Weaver & O-Town House, SeaVees Sneakers, Glenn Wharton, Garrett Wingfield, Witte de With, Joe Woodard.
Special Exhibition Hours
|Wednesday:||1 - 6 pm|
|Thursday:||2 - 7 pm|
|Friday:||2 - 7 pm|
|Saturday:||Noon - 5 pm|
|Sunday:||Noon - 5 pm|
* Ensemble starts performing one hour after opening
KZSB Interview with Ari Benjamin Meyers & Abaseh Mirvali
KCRW – An interactive concert becomes contemporary art