The Steinway Commission

Steinway & Sons Launch New Visual Arts Inititiative With A Mark Bradford and Robert Glasper Collaboration

In collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, The Studio Museum in Harlem and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Steinway is commissioning three influential visual artists over three years to create their own individual works using a Steinway Spirio 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. The first artistic pairing is between visual artist Mark Bradford and Steinway Artist Robert Glasper. Bradford’s Steinway Model M, transformed with paper and bleach to recall his time spent working at his mother’s salon as a hairdresser, is titled “Apollo.” Glasper’s four-movement suite for Apollo, recorded on Spirio, is “Still Shining.” “Apollo/Still Shining,” will be presented for auction during Christie’s Post War & Contemporary day sale being held on May 11, 2016 in New York.

Steinway & Sons CEO Michael Sweeney noted that “so many of the artists that we work with today are pushing boundaries and defying easy classification.... 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 only descriptor that seems relevant anymore is ‘Artist.’ ”

Mark Bradford's “Apollo” is a representation of artistic beauty inspired by an ever-changing social landscape. 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,” titled “Still Shining,” adds an immersive dimension to the work as a whole. 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.” 

“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.

Visit Christies New York more information.

Video Courtesy Of Christies
Excerpts from ‘Art in the Twenty-First Century: Paradox’ and ‘Mark Bradford: Paper’, courtesy of ART21; ‘Mark Bradford: Layers of Violence’, courtesy of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark; and music video by Robert Glasper performing Golden Lady (1 Mic 1 Take). © 2013 Blue Note Records, courtesy of Second Son Productions

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