Agapē

Organized by Alex Waterman
June 3 — July 28, 2007

[A] composition is not an end product, not in itself a useful commodity. The end-product of an artist’s work, the ‘useful commodity’ in the production of which he plays a role, is ideological influence… The production of ideological influence is highly socialized involving (in the case of music), performers, critics, impresarios, agents, managers, etc., and above all (and this is the artist’s real ‘means of production’) an audience…

— Cornelius Cardew

 

Opening on June 3rd, Miguel Abreu Gallery is pleased to present Agapē, an exhibition of experimental music scores and an accompanying concert series that will address aspects of the social acts of translation and collective interpretation in musical performance. The show will feature a sequence of scores marking the evolution of notation in music, spanning from Anna Magdalena Bach’s unaccompanied cello suites to the long awaited Trios WHITE ON WHITE by Robert Ashley (1963). Printed by Will Holder in consultation with Alex Waterman, this work will be, for the first time, both formed and performed as originally intended by Ashley.

Throughout the two-month event, each score appearing on the gallery walls will be performed in a series of scheduled concerts. The performances will engage the task of reading in relation to the various acts of writing, composing, translating, and committing works to memory. The aural tradition and story-telling will also be explored in addition to issues pertaining to editing, copying, and the transmission /performance of scores and written words. On July 28th, the exhibition will close with The Bachelor Party, an evening led by Will Holder celebrating the 120th birthday of Marcel Duchamp.

Among Alex Waterman’s guests will be experimental cellist, Charles Curtis; Fluxus artist, Alison Knowles; language poet and political economist, Bruce Andrews; writers, designers and publishers, Will Holder and Stuart Bailey; poet and sound artist, Chris Mann as well as composers Christian Wolff, Anthony Coleman, Pauline Oliveros and Robert Ashley.

 

a•gape 1|gāp| |ə|geip|
adjective [predic.]
(of the mouth) wide open, esp. with surprise or wonder : Downes listened, mouth agape with incredulity.
origin mid 17th cent.: from a- 2 [on] + gape.

 

a•ga•pe 2||pā; |ägə| |a| ga|pei| ||agə|pei| || agəpi|
noun Christian Theology
Christian love, esp. as distinct from erotic love or emotional affection.
a communal meal in token of Christian fellowship, as held by early Christians in commemorationof the Last Supper.
origin early 17th cent.: from Greek agapē ‘selfless love.’

 

When referring to language, poetry, music and social politics, this double meaning is striking to me. 

We are obviously not living in the age of (Christian) fellowship and selfless love, but we are vulnerable and under attack when we try to love or congregate. Our words are reduced to information and our actions are made redundant by their appropriation by publicity and media machines.

“The meaning is the use” has become the dissolution of meaning through the (mis)use.  

— Alex Waterman