artincontext Main Index   |   Welcome   |   Register   |   Edit

Charlotte Moorman
Charlotte Moorman Performing on Nam June Paik TV Cello wearing TV Glasses, Bonino Gallery, New York City
Installation View, A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s-1980s

Photo: Nicholas Papananias, Grey Art Gallery, New York

A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s–1980s
1/16/2016 - 7/17/2016
Main Gallery
Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Evanston, IL

Traveling from Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York
September 8–December 10, 2016

View Images from Grey Art Gallery, New York >>

Excerpt from Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Evanston, IL:

This exhibition replaces the indelible image of Charlotte Moorman (1933-1991)—playing the cello topless save for a pair of strapped-on miniature television sets—with a more complex but equally powerful portrait of the girl from Little Rock, Arkansas, who metamorphosed into a seminal and barrier-breaking figure in performance art and an impresario of the postwar avant-garde.

For three decades beginning in 1960, the Juilliard-trained Moorman’s dedication to a radically new way of looking at music and art took many forms, some extreme, from playing the cello while suspended by helium balloons over the Sydney Opera House to performing on an “ice cello” in the nude.

“I have asked myself why Charlotte Moorman is largely missing from the narratives of 20th-century art,” says Lisa Corrin, the Block Museum’s Ellen Philips Katz Director and curator of modern and contemporary art. “She is mainly remembered as a muse to Nam June Paik, but she was much more. In light of her influence on contemporary performance and her role as an unequaled popularizer of the avant-garde it is long overdue for her to be appreciated as a seminal figure in her own right.”

Reflecting Moorman’s commitment to finding ways to bring new art to the broadest possible public by literally taking the avant-garde into the streets of New York, A Feast of Astonishments presents a marvelous assortment of artworks, film clips, music scores, audio recordings, documentary photographs, snapshots, performance props and costumes, ephemera, and correspondence. The vast majority has never before been exhibited. Together they offer fresh insights into Moorman’s improbable career in the eventful decades of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

Press Release from Grey Art Gallery, New York >>


Charlotte Moorman, American, (1933-1991)
b. November 18, 1933, Little Rock, AR
d. 1991

Art in Context - Projects:
Art in Context - Art for the Day: November 18, 1933

© 1995-2019 Art in Context Center for Communications. All rights reserved.