'Atmosphere for Enjoyment' Exhibition: Harry Bertoia’s Environment for Sound

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Bertoia playing sounding pieces in his barn, 1973, Photo by and courtesy of Beverly H. Twitchell

IDEA: An exhibition focused on Harry Bertoia.

WHAT: From May 3 to September 25, 2016, the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC presents two exhibitions focused on Harry Bertoia (1915–1978). Referred to collectively as 'Sonambient, these sculptures are interactive, kinetic, and audible forms consisting of bundles of metal rods that collide and set off radiant tones when agitated by wind or human touch. In his Pennsylvania barn, he recorded approximately 400 tapes, eventually producing eleven LPs with titles such as 'Phosphorescence' and 'Ocean Mysteries'.

WHY: Harry Bertoia began exploring the potential relationship between sculpture and sound, and eventually created a significant oeuvre that would crown his life’s work. Upon discovering the range of tones possible when pieces of wire or metal rods strike one another, Bertoia spent two decades crafting hundreds of 'sounding sculptures' in pursuit of a simple instrument.

BY: #HarryBertoia at #MADmuseum

VIA: #MakingWaves blog by #SOLOMusicGallery

#SoundSculpture #Exhibition #SoundArt #ContemporaryArt #Sculptures #MusicSculpture #SoundInstallation #InstallationArt #Sonambient

Bertoia clasping tall rods of Monel or Inconel to create a curious, harsh sound.

The artist manipulating the tops of rods shaped like cattails, using individual fingers to move specific rods, to create a complex sound, 1975. Photo by and courtesy of Beverly H. Twitchell

At the exhibition

At the exhibition

Bertoia using an implement he made to play a bronze gong, 1975. Photo by and courtesy of Beverly H. Twitchell

Sounding pieces of beryllium copper, 1973. Photo by Beverly Twitchell

Bertoia barn, Pennsylvania, 1973. Photo by Beverly Twitchell