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Trash-Rock Dialectics, with Christopher Heuer
Sunday, Nov. 12, 530pm-7pm
$8 members/$10 public
At MMoA’s 15 Water Street Gallery
Christopher Heuer, MMoA’s next I Feel Voxish speaker, will speak on trash-rock dialectics from the 1990s. He offers a brief disclaimer to anyone weary or dubious of the topic:
“What follows will NOT be some fusillade of nostalgia from a middle-aged record collector, nor a show and tell, and certainly not a lament for the way things used to be.”
What follows is a discussion of artistic performance, of artful juxtaposition. What follows is why Heuer, in art historical language, compares Pink Floyd to a seventeen-century church ceiling and Question Mark and the Mysterions, a garage band, to a Roy Lichtenstein painting.
Heuer will highlight his talk with the unique and utterly odd but awesome qualities of anti-digital punk bands like The Mummies from Northern California, The Gories from Detroit, and Nation of Ulysses from the District of Columbia. What they offer is not only an audibly jagged, chaotic sound, but a performance that altogether is a “cultural critique.”
According to Heuer, these bands do not sing about feelings, nor do they step on stage with ostentation (hint Kanye West) which develops an inauthentic relationship with the audience. The garage band, Nation of Ulysses for example, has a different sort of theatricality. They achieve a productive contradiction with the audience rather than something predictably formulaic.
“The best performers,” Heuer notes, “like the best art, don’t presume that this relationship follows a given structure. The relationship can be hostile, cloying, triumphant, poetic, anything. But it’s supposed to be a juxtaposition.”
Without giving away too much, it is important to give a quick preview of one of the bands Heuer will be discussing: The Mummies. The Mummies did not grow up in a cool city so-to-say but grew up in the working class part of San Mateo called Daly City, were indifferent toward their likability, wrapped their selves up in gauze, and played 21 songs in front of 14 people. If you are unsure why this is so revolutionary you should unquestionably be joining us.
Circling back, Heuer compared Pink Floyd to Baroque Art, or a seventeen-century church ceiling. He then compared Question Mark and the Mysterions, or more broadly—Trash-Rock, to a Roy Lichtenstein painting. “The latter,” he says, “doesn’t demand that you bow down before it. And, beneath it, is something crucial.”
Join us on Sunday, November 12, from 530pm-7pm at MMoA’s 15 Water Street Gallery for Heuer’s talk, beer, wine, charcuterie, and cheese.
By Annika Burgess
MMoA Press and Writing Intern
About the speaker
Now on the faculty at Williams College, Christopher Heuer is the author of The City Rehearsed: Object, Architecture and Print in the Worlds of Hans Vredeman de Vries (New York and Oxford), and a co-author of Vision and Communism (New York, 2011). His writing has appeared in Artforum, The Burlington Magazine, Res, Oxford Art Journal, October, Print Quarterly, Kunstschrift, and Art in America. Before coming to the Williams, Heuer was a Fulbright Scholar, a Samuel H. Kress Fellow at the Kunsthistorisch Instituut of the Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, and a Getty Fellow, and then on faculty in the Department of Art & Archaeology at Columbia University (2005-2007) then Princeton University (2007-2014). In 2009 Heuer was named Gerda Henkel Stiftung Fellow at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and in 2014-5 appointed Samuel H. Kress Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, Washington DC. Most recently, Heuer served as Acting Director of the Research and Academic Program of the Clark Art Institute. A new book about the Renaissance arctic, Into the White, will be published in 2019.
I Feel Voxish is MMoA’s new forward looking speaker series, in which leaders in ideas and culture speak about their passions. Each event concludes with a reception featuring locally-produced cheese, charcuterie, beer, and wine. Previous events included a discussion of the little-known sport of Court Tennis by technology journalist Eliot Van Buskirk and a discussion about the politics, ethics, and aesthetics of eating at buffets by Philosophy Professors Simon Feldman and Allan Hazlett, who have eaten at buffets in 21 states and seven countries.
I Feel Voxish is sponsored by Cato Corner Farm, Barleyhead Brewery, and The-e-list.com