Steinway & Sons To Launch New Visual Arts Initiative With A Commissioned Work By Mark Bradford And Robert Glasper
The Steinway Commission Project Creates Collaborative Works To Benefit The Museum Of Contemporary Art, Walker Art Center and The Studio Museum In Harlem
New York, NY – March 21, 2016 – Steinway & Sons, manufacturer of the world’s finest pianos, will continue the company’s longstanding tradition of supporting the visual arts with the launch of a new initiative entitled ‘The Steinway Commission.’ In collaboration with three world-class art institutions, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, The Studio Museum in Harlem and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Steinway will commission three influential visual artists over three years to create their own individual works using a Steinway Spirio piano as the medium. Each of these artists will also be paired with a Steinway Artist, who will compose a musical score specifically for that piece. The completed works will then be sold at auction, with the proceeds benefitting the partner art organizations in equal measure.
Michael Sweeney, CEO of Steinway & Sons states, “So many of the artists that we work with today are pushing boundaries and defying easy classification. There was a time when most artists stayed respectfully within their genres but now we find classical artists playing jazz and jazz artists dipping into popular music. We see visual artists creating performances and composers creating visual art. The only descriptor that seems relevant anymore is ‘Artist,’ and that's the best description for Mark and Robert. It was our pleasure to introduce them and to facilitate their collaboration.”
The first artistic pairing is between Mark Bradford and Robert Glasper. “Apollo” is a representation of the artistic beauty that is inspired by an ever-changing social landscape. Using paper to transform a Steinway Spirio piano, Bradford elaborates, "My use of paper and bleach in the work originates from my time working as a hairdresser at my mother's salon in Leimert Park, Los Angeles, where I would take end papers and soak them in bleach to dye clients' hair. I liked the end papers. I liked the social fabric they represented. Here, I am interested in the pattern of flux created by this bleaching effect."
Robert Glasper’s score for “Apollo,” entitled “Still Shining,” adds an immersive dimension to the work as a whole. Composed in four movements, the work’s musical narrative reflects that of the piano’s treatment:
Movement 1: Tranquility
Movement 2: Unrest-Violence-Rescue
Movement 3: Rebirth
Movement 4: Theme 1 + Coda
“Still Shining” is brought to life through the Steinway Spirio—high-resolution player piano technology that provides the most accurate reproduction of a live performance on a Steinway & Sons piano.
Glasper adds, “Mark’s inspiration for “Apollo” immediately drew me to the project. I’ve been exploring the subject matter of race and unrest in my own work, so this was an unbelievable opportunity to express these themes in a three dimensional way.” He continued, “Collaborations are always complex and personal interpretations of ideas can diverge over time. But Mark and I were always on the same page with this project—We share the same fear, the same anger, and the same hopes for a better future.”
The first collaboration in the Steinway Commission series, “Apollo/Still Shining,” will be presented for auction during Christie’s Post War & Contemporary day sale being conducted on May 11, 2016 in New York. The work will be previewed throughout April 2016 at events held with the partner organizations. Additional information is available at www.christies.com/steinway.
Saara Pritchard, Vice President, Specialist, and Head of Day Sale, at Christie’s Americas states, “Christie’s is honored to partner with Steinway on the sale of “Apollo/Still Shining” to benefit three groundbreaking art institutions. The collaboration between Mark Bradford and Robert Glasper is nothing short of exceptional. Bradford’s contribution is very much representative of the innovative and revolutionary technique that he is known for. With the vivid contrast between the deep black singed paper and the rich golden hues, he achieves a brazen effect that causes the piano to appear ablaze. “Apollo’s” impact is further intensified by Robert Glasper’s exhilarating composition, “Still Shining.” The finished work is an extraordinary object, which illustrates the perfect culmination of two major art forms.”
The second phase of the project will debut in 2017, with the third and final work to be presented in 2018.
About Mark Bradford
Mark Bradford was born in 1961 in Los Angeles, California, where he currently lives and works. He graduated with a Bachelor's of Fine Arts and Master's of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California in 1997. In 2014, Bradford was presented with the National Medal of the Arts. In 2013 he was elected as a National Academician by the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts in New York. He is also a recipient of The MacArthur Fellowship (2009); the Wexner Center Residency Award (2009) and the Bucksbaum Award, granted by The Whitney Museum of American Art (2006).
Bradford has shown extensively in international and national exhibitions. Recent solo shows include Scorched Earth, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles CA (2015); Sea Monsters, Gemeentemuseum den Haag, The Hague, Netherlands (2015) and The Rose Art Museum, Waltham MA (2014); MATRIX 172, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum, Hartford CT (2015); Tears of a Tree, The Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2015) and a major touring exhibition presented at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus OH (2010), which travelled to Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston MA (2010), Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas TX (2011), MCA Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago IL (2011) and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco CA (2012).
Bradford has exhibited widely in numerous group presentations such as Wasteland present by Los Angeles Nomadic Division at the Mona Bismark American Center, Paris, France (2016); America is Hard to See, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York NY (2015); Sharjah Biennial 12: The past, the present, the possible, Sharjah, UAE (2015); Variations: Conversations In and Around Abstract Painting, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles CA (2014); Blues for Smoke, Wexner Center for the Arts, Colombus OH (2013); ROUNDTABLE: 9th Gwangju Biennale, Korea (2012); the 12th International Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey (2011); and Eden’s Edge: Fifteen L.A. Artists, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles CA (2007). Selected public collections include The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.
Bradford is co-founder of Art + Practice, an arts and education private operating foundation based in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. Since its founding in 2013, the foundation's mandate has been to create an educational platform that supports the acquisition of practical skills for foster youth and stresses the cultural importance of art within a larger social context.
About Robert Glasper
Houston native Robert Glasper had a strong musical influence in his mother who played piano and sang gospel music in church as well as in jazz and blues clubs. After moving to New York City to study at New School University, Glasper began performing with Christian McBride, Kenny Garrett, Terence Blanchard, and Roy Hargrove. After releasing his debut album Mood in 2003 Glasper signed to Blue Note Records. Two acclaimed acoustic albums followed—Canvas (2005) and In My Element (2007)—before he perfectly captured his unique duality with 2009’s Double-Booked which juxtaposed his acoustic Trio and hip hop-infused Experiment band. RGX’s 2012 breakout Black Radio album featured numerous notable vocalists and laid out a new paradigm for creative music reaching beyond entrenched genre boundaries to create a singular vision that drew from all reaches of contemporary black music, and won Best R&B Album at the 2013 GRAMMY Awards. RGX upped the ante with Black Radio 2 (2013), another genre-defying effort that took the Black Radio blueprint and built to even greater heights, winning Glasper a 2nd GRAMMY Award for Best Traditional R&B Performance. In 2015, Glasper reunited his original acoustic trio for the album Covered (The Robert Glasper Trio recorded live at Capitol Studios), which is GRAMMY-nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Album. Glasper composed the original music for the Miles Davis film Miles Ahead, directed by and starring Don Cheadle. He is an official Steinway Artist.
About Steinway & Sons
Since its founding in New York in 1853, Steinway & Sons has been considered the world’s premier piano manufacturer. Known for their exceptional craftsmanship, Steinway & Sons pianos are built in one of two company-owned and operated factories: Astoria, New York and Hamburg, Germany. Steinway & Sons pianos are still constructed primarily by hand, using many of the techniques developed over 160 years ago. Today, Steinway & Sons also offers the Boston and Essex piano lines, Listen, a magazine for music and culture lovers, and the Steinway & Sons record label. For more information, visit www.steinway.com.
About Steinway Spirio
Available exclusively on select Steinway & Sons grand pianos, Steinway Spirio is the world’s finest player piano system and the company’s most significant product innovation in over 70 years. A masterpiece of engineering, Steinway Spirio provides the unrivaled musical experience that Steinway’s customers expect, producing the most accurate reproduction of live performances ever achieved on a Steinway & Sons piano. Delicate pedaling, subtle phrasing, soft trills, and thundering fortissimos present no difficulty for Steinway Spirio. Damper and keyshift pedaling are replicated with unparalleled accuracy, following the pianist’s depressions and releases smoothly and precisely over the entire range of motion. www.steinwayspirio.com
About Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA)
Founded in 1979, MOCA’s vision is to be the defining museum of contemporary art. In a relatively short period of time, MOCA has achieved astonishing growth with three Los Angeles locations of architectural renown; a worldclass permanent collection of more than 6,800 objects international in scope and among the finest in the world; hallmark education programs that are widely emulated; award-winning publications that present original scholarship; groundbreaking monographic, touring, and thematic exhibitions of international repute that survey the art of our time; and cutting-edge engagement with modesv of new media production. MOCA is a not-for-profit institution that relies on a variety of funding sources for its activities. www.moca.org
About Walker Art Center
The Walker Art Center is a catalyst for the creative expression of artists and the active engagement of audiences. Focusing on the visual, performing, and media arts of our time, the Walker takes a global, multidisciplinary, and diverse approach to the creation, presentation, interpretation, collection, and preservation of art. Walker programs examine the questions that shape and inspire us as individuals, cultures, and communities. www.walkerart.org.
About the Studio Museum in Harlem
Founded in 1968, The Studio Museum in Harlem is a contemporary art museum that focuses on the work of artists of African descent locally, nationally and globally, as well as work that has been inspired and influenced by African-American culture. The Museum is committed to serving as a unique resource in the local community, and in national and international arenas, by making artworks and exhibitions concrete and personal for each viewer. www.studiomuseum.org
Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had global auction, private and digital sales in 2015 that totalled £4.8 billion / $7.4 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and expertise, as well as international glamour. 2016 marks Christie’s 250th anniversary. Founded in 1766 by James Christie, Christie's has since conducted the greatest and most celebrated auctions through the centuries providing a popular showcase for the unique and the beautiful. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.
Christie’s has a global presence with 54 offices in 32 countries and 12 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Mumbai. More recently, Christie’s has led the market with expanded initiatives in growth markets such as Russia, China, India and the United Arab Emirates, with successful sales and exhibitions in Beijing, Mumbai and Dubai.
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