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Exhibition Spotlight—Sound in Out of Sight! Art of the Senses

January 16, 2018

Installation view of Nam June Paik’s Piano Piece, 1993. Closed-circuit video sculpture, 120 x 84 x 48 inches (304.8 x 213.4 x 121.9 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Sarah Norton Goodyear Fund, 1993 (1993:9a-ii). © 1993 Nam June Paik.

The works of art in Out of Sight! Art of the Senses feature elements that invite us not only to look but also to listen, smell, touch, and even taste. Here on the blog, we’re taking a closer look at some of the more unusual sensory experiences you can expect in the exhibition.

Installation view of Nari Ward’s Jacuzzi Bed, 2013. Headboards, fans, and electric heater, 33 x 77 x 75 inches (83.8 x 195.6 x 190.5 cm). Courtesy the artist; Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Beijing, Les Moulins, and Havana; and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong. 

Sound plays a key role in a number of the works in this exhibition. In some cases, the sounds are relatively soft or subtle, such as the whirring of the fans in Nari Ward’s Jacuzzi Bed. Others, such as Nam June Paik’s Piano Piece, offer an encounter with sound at its most bombastic. In Paik’s sculpture, a tower of television screens sits atop a player piano that belts out programmed notes. These visual and aural elements were inspired by the American avant-garde composer and friend of the artist John Cage.