That Which Is Fundamental

May 4-28, 2017


Julius Eastman:
That Which Is Fundamental
Curated  by Tiona Nekkia McClodden and Dustin Hurt

presented in conjunction with the Eastman Estate, and collaboration with Slought and The Rotunda


Julius Eastman: That Which is Fundamental is an interdisciplinary, multi-artist project that examines the life, work, and resurgent influence of Julius Eastman, a gay African American composer and performer who was active internationally in the 1970s and 80s, but who died homeless at the age of 49, leaving an incomplete but compelling collection of scores and recordings. The culmination of more than three years of research, this first iteration of this project will take place in Philadelphia in May 2017. Events include four major concerts - including several modern “premieres” of recently recovered works - and a multi-disciplinary exhibition featuring archival materials and work by ten contemporary artist that engage with Eastman and the fragmented nature of his legacy.

That Which Is Fundamental is the first comprehensive examination of Eastman's legacy to work alongside the Eastman Estate, an organization led by Gerry Eastman to gather together, organize, preserve, disseminate, and generally further the work of his brother, Julius.

Julius Eastman. Photo by Gene Bagnato


A Recollection. and Predicated. - feature archival traces and work by ten contemporary artists that engages with Eastman and the fragmented nature of his legacy. A Recollection. approaches a historical exploration and remembrance of Julius Eastman as a master of artifice, while Predicated., an exhibition in conversation with the work of Julius Eastman, explores notions of absence, trace presence, duration, the politics of exhaustion, as well as the interplay between composition and improvisation through video, sculpture, and photography.

A RECOLLECTION.

Julius Eastman the trickster.
Julius Eastman the brother.
Julius Eastman the son.
Julius Eastman the composer.
Julius Eastman the provocateur.
Julius Eastman the pianist.
Julius Eastman the painter.
Julius Eastman the dancer.
Julius Eastman the vocalist.
Julius Eastman the one who got away.

Did Julius want us to have a hold on his life, or did he want the residue of his life and work to remain as cunning as he was?

A Recollection approaches a historical exploration and remembrance of Julius Eastman as a master of artifice. The audio, artifacts, and ephemera in this exhibition examine the music, literature, and choreography of Eastman’s life through the people who knew him best. The archive of Eastman that emerges after his death is fractured - partially by his own hand. Julius Eastman concentrated on the present, with little regard to the past and especially not the future during his life and often treated his work as ephemeral. The artifacts of his life remain spread among friends, family, lovers, resisting traditional forms of centralization under the roof of a single institution. Using this shape-shifting as a conceptual framework, A Recollection. maps archival matter as a way of inviting viewers to discover new pieces and forge relationships between ephemera held by different informal archivists. A Recollection. leans into the breaks and rests there for a moment, considering what is present and said, as well as absent and unsaid. Celebrating Eastman, a master of artifice engaged in a range of improvisation gestures,
A Recollection explores truth, fact, and the liminal and is ultimately an invitation to look at remains, and imagine what remains to be seen.

Sondra Perry, Double Quadruple Etcetera Etcetera I & II, 2013

Sondra Perry, Double Quadruple Etcetera Etcetera I & II, 2013 

PREDICATED.

Carolyn Lazard
Beau Rhee
James Maurelle
Sondra Perry
Wayson Jones
Ash Arder
Jonathan Gardenhire
Courtney Bryan
Texas Isaiah
Yulan Grant

Predicated., an exhibition in conversation with the work of Julius Eastman, explores notions of absence, trace presence, duration, and the politics of exhaustion. The exhibition examines the interplay between composition and improvisation through video, sculpture, and photography. Featuring the work of ten contemporary artists, Predicated. considers Eastman’s lived experience as an experimental artist during his time as a member of the Creative Associates, and while living in New York’s Lower East Side. Mapping the relationships between Eastman's practice and the present workings of ten contemporary artists, this interdependent installation space articulates narratives about both art objects, and the methods of their production. These works examine absence as a foundational concept highlighting the unavailable body, the missing trace, improvisation, and the evasion of presence within the distanced narrative.

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