2014 has been an incredible year for transformative, risk-taking art at ISSUE Project Room, including more than 70 memorable performances, 25 new commissions, and over 400 artists and performers from NYC and across the globe.
We've assembled some of the year's highlights in video, including a rare appearance by legendary Ethiopian pop singer Mahmoud Ahmed to an audience of over 800 (above, shot by Windows Have Eyes), "maximalist" icon Charlemagne Palestine's first-ever organ concert in New York, new commissions by Pat Spadine's Ashcan Orchestra and Artist-In-Residence devynn emory, and excerpts from international festivals Tectonics, Ultima, and Unsound.
The year ahead brings exciting changes for ISSUE, with presentations taking place in venues across NYC while our historic Downtown Brooklyn theater undergoes 18-months of renovations. We look forward to collaborating with an exciting roster of innovative peer institutions including Abrons Arts Center, Artists Space, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Wooster Group's Performing Garage.
You can help cutting-edge experimental music and performance continue to thrive in NYC and beyond by donating or joining as an ISSUE Member now. The Robert D. Bielecki Foundation has generously pledged a $15,000 matching grant if we reach our year-end fundraising goal of $10,000, making your timely donation even MORE effective with 150% matching support.
Charlemagne Palestine, solo organ
Watch the final minutes of Charlemagne Palestine's solo organ performance at Plymouth Church in March 2014. A self-described “maximalist composer”, Palestine originally developed his organ technique in 1964 at the Unitarian Church on Central Park West, first performed publicly in Holland in 1979, and has made appearances across the globe since — this performance marked the inimitable composer's first-ever New York performance on the instrument.
Tectonics Festival New York Highlights
From the inaugural Tectonics Festival New York, which returns to ISSUE in Spring 2015, this video compiles excerpts of three-day festival, including a new chamber work piece by Eyvind Kang, featuring an incredible cast of performers including Oren Ambarchi, Jessika Kenney, Hildur Guonadottir, and Stephen O’Malley; a solo percussion work by Eric Richards, performed by Alan Zimmerman; a rare performance of the late Harley Gabor’s magnum opus The Winds Rise in the North; the premiere of new work by sound artist crys cole; Alvin Lucier’s Still Lives by pianist Jenny Lin; and an improvised duo by festival founder/curator Ilan Volkov and percussionist Eli Keszler.
The Ashcan Orchestra: Apollo's Accidental Answer
Composer Pat Spadine’s Ashcan Orchestra premieres his two-act chamber opera "Apollo's Accidental Answer" in it's entirety for the first time, from June 2014. Re-imagining of the ancient myth of Cassandra, the work presents an eyewitness account of the evolution of the universe, as the heroine struggles to give order to the visions that confuse her mind.
EVOL: Hanne Darboven's "Opus 17a"
Recorded in April 2014 as part of Unsound NY, Roc Jiménez de Cisneros, half of the Barcelona-based post-rave sound-art duo EVOL, premieres Hanne Darboven's "Opus 17a" (1984), in a new interpretation of esteemed conceptual artist and composer's legendary piece, replete with strobe light and a mysterious rabbit.
devynn emory: This room this braid
This video features the full perfomance of devynn emory's This room this braid, commissioned as part of ISSUE's Artist-In-Residence program, and premiered in January 2014 at the Actors Fund Art Center. Featuring emory with Aretha Aoki, the work is influenced by the history of set design for dance, the grid, queer mapping via organization of space and container, and the contemporary wall and floor drawings of Sol Lewitt and John Diviola.
Ne(x)tworks perform Henning Christiansen
As part of Ultima Festival New York, Henning Christiansen’s Requiem of Art (NYC) Fluxorum Organum receives its first New York presentation, in a new interpretation by Anton Lukoszevieze. One of the central figures of the Danish branch of Fluxus and also of Denmark’s radical art movement Ex School, Christiansen is highly regarded for his collaborations with Joseph Beuys and for works that trespass conventional boundaries between artistic disciplines.
Mahmoud Ahmed at Pioneer Works
Live at our summer concert series with Pioneer Works, the legendary Mahmoud Ahmed performs to an audience of over 800 in Red Hook Brooklyn. Ahmed led the wave of Ethiopian music’s 'golden age’ in the 60s-70s with his notoriously energetic combination of traditional Amharic music with soul, jazz & funk. Video by Windows Have Eyes.
"He was a soul man, stoking the dancing and then easing into a ballad, declaiming and lamenting and then building again, with his voice seizing every line and pushing it toward incantation. Each quaver rooted the music in Ethiopian tradition while insisting on the universality of passion."
— Jon Pareles in The New York Times