Sunday, April 5, 2015
My Favorite Work of Art
Jazz is under assault at The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.
Interpreting Xaviera Simmons’ “Number 16” exhibition as anything but an indictment of the music is difficult.
The video installation depicts a woman belting out a capella versions of jazz standards on the left side of the screen as the artist violently flings a variety of materials at a canvas on the right side of the looped video.
Notes in an accompanying program indicate that the vocalist and the visual artist were asked to “contemplate the genre of jazz, its histories and implications” during their simultaneous contributions.
Certain lyrical phrases and vocal nuances in the vocalist’s guileless delivery of songs like “My Funny Valentine” seem to trigger especially antagonistic responses from Simmons.
Transfixed by “Number 16” at the museum last week, I repeatedly guffawed at Simmons’ seemingly mean-spirited statement. Disturbed either by my vocal responses or repelled by the noisy art, no other patron stuck out the jarring work of art for longer than 30 seconds.
The provocative installation runs through June 7.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)