History of the Series:
Back in 2002, my musician/artist brother, Harris, and I were wandering around the galleries of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, discussing what really defined the concept of art when we ran across a canvas with little paper dots sewn onto it. I got a little emphatic and proclaimed that the piece was silly. It was something I could easily do. Harris said, “Ok, so why don’t you?” and I responded, “Why would I want to sew little pieces of paper on a canvas? There is no meaning in that to me.” Of course it didn’t occur to me back then that it might have had meaning to the person who did it. Contemporary art and I hadn’t clicked yet, and to this day I still prefer to know the artist’s intentions in order to understand the art rather than infer a meaning for myself.
Harris had died in the summer of 2008. I was cleaning out his apartment in Brooklyn when I came across a score he had arranged for a bluegrass group. In the margin he had written, “The score is a work of art.” He was always pithy like that (for years his email signature read, “Art is a ruse”). Anyway, that paper was on my desk when I was sorting through Harris’s work on his computer. I opened a piece of software he had been working on that he called “LiveScore.” “LiveScore” takes a bit of explaining in itself, but suffice it to say that it is separate parts of sheet music that are automatically generated via audience-adjusted algorythm and are intended to be streamed on the fly to multiple computers and played by live musicians in real time. The piece of software I’d opened, the “LiveScore” applet streamed a only blank score that had no beginning, no end, and no notes.
All of a sudden, I remembered that “stupid” canvas with the paper dots and it rearranged itself in my head, quite literally, into a score. I created a piece that mimicked the LiveScore applet as the jacket cover for a memorial CD of Harris’s composition work.
Each of the pieces in The Score is a work of Art series is limited by three basic building blocks: first, the ‘canvass’ or backdrop of the piece; second, the musical staff lines, which must have no beginning or end, implying that music is infinite, and which must pass through the backdrop on both sides rather than visible end; third, something must represent the notes; and finally, when those building blocks are met, my intention is for the piece to convey the feeling of the music visually.
The second piece I did in this series was also a tribute to Harris. It was based on Bill Monroe’s “Little Cabin on the Hill” which was a song that Harris played. I used some of his and some of my own old violin strings, and a bunch of skeleton keys I found on eBay. This piece hangs in my living room.