Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Ave. at 75th St.
Wednesday – Sunday through September 26
Admission: $12-$18 (pay-what-you-wish Fridays from 6:00 to 9:00)
Since the late 1970s, New York-based multidisciplinary artist Christian Marclay has been exploring the intimate connection between sound and image through sculpture, video, photography, live music, collage, and site-specific installation. His unique approach to this relationship is on view at the Whitney in the thrilling interactive exhibition “Festival,” which includes dozens of Marclay’s highly original scores, including “Graffiti Composition,” comprising graffiti scribbled on posters by passersby in Berlin; “Pret-a-Porter,” consisting of clothing that has musical notations on them; “Zoom Zoom,” a slideshow of photographs of signs that contain onomatopoeiac language; “Mixed Reviews,” translated music reviews that run around one gallery space in a seemingly endless line of text; “Covers,” a collection of empty record sleeves; “The Bell and the Glass,” a double video projection that draws comparisons between the Liberty Bell and Marcel Duchamp’s “The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors”; and “Chalkboard,” in which visitors are encouraged to write or draw anything they want on a giant musical staff. All of these scores and more are meant to be interpreted and improvised by musicians, guaranteeing that no two performances will ever be the same. Live events, all free with paid museum admission, continue daily through August 27, with such upcoming “concerts” as Peter Evans and Zeena Parkins performing “Box Set” on August 18 at 1:00, David Moss taking on “Manga Scroll” on August 20 at 7:00, Kato Hideki, Zeena Parkins, Sara Parkins, and Nels Cline teaming up for “The Bell and the Glass” on August 21 at 1:30, Robin Holcomb and Wayne Horvitz interpreting “Graffiti Composition” on August 25 at 4:00, and Bill Frisell playing “Wind Up Guitar” on August 26 at 1:00. There will also be Artist’s Talks every Friday afternoon, with Moss on August 20, Marina Rosenfeld on August 27, and Guy Klucevsek on September 3 and 17. “Festival” is indeed a festival of word, sound, and image, a fascinating celebration of aural and visual language by a masterful artist whose reach knows no boundaries.
In conjunction with “Festival,” which runs through September 26, Marclay’s “Fourth of July” has been extended at the Paula Cooper Gallery in Chelsea through August 24. (Also currently at the Whitney are “Jill Magid: A Reasonable Man in a Box,” “Off the Wall: Part 1 — Thirty Performative Actions,” and “Collecting Biennials.”)