NEW YORK––What looks like an ordinary multi-artist exhibition, however, at closer glance, something appears amiss: each plinthed object has a web of wires and mic stands slinking around them eventually leading to speakers. This Vessel Orchestra at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (July 2 – August 11, 2019 )is by British artist Oliver Beer.
Featuring a diverse selection of 32 ceramic sculptures, utilitarian vessels, and decorative objects, Beer says he selected each not based on their aesthetic quality or cultural significance, but rather for their resonance.
The walls of a gallery are full of the sound of music. The ambient air of the gallery invades the 32 vessels from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection. They have been selected for their unique frequency, which air, the architecture of the vessel and their construction material makes. Some vessels were created 7,000 years ago, and others in the 21st century.Berkshire Fine Arts
As the Met explains: The Vessel Orchestra composed of two distinct modes. During Museum hours, a pre-programmed audio interface played a composition by Beer, activating the vessels in real time—”player piano-style.” On Friday evenings, the exhibition featured a of guest artists who will perform new compositions and improvisations on this radical musical instrument.
“Oliver Beer has discovered a remarkable secret resonance within these objects. He amplifies that wonderful moment when, speaking or singing in a room, the voice hits a ‘sweet spot’ that reverberates in the space into one’s very body. Beer’s genius is releasing the essential musicality of a wide scope of objects from The Met’s collections, giving acoustic form to theirSheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of Modern and
Vessel Orchestra is the first aural installation commissioned by The Met.