The culmination of The Church’s “Road Rage” exhibition in Sag Harbor will be a September 18 performance by Laurie Anderson, one of America’s most renowned and daring creative pioneers. Known for her use of multimedia in her work as a visual artist, composer, poet, photographer, filmmaker and musician, Anderson will conduct “Road Rave,” a 20 minute concert of orchestrated car horns which she has personally chosen. The event will include vintage and contemporary cars, trucks and even an ice cream truck.
“Road Rave” is a re-staging of “Automotive,” an early performance she created in Rochester, Vermont, in 1972 after graduating from Columbia University. Dating from the very beginning of her career, there are no images, recordings or documentation of this seminal event. In celebration of The Church’s exhibition “Road Rage,” Anderson has updated and reconceived this performance. She will conduct an orchestra of car horns organized by the sounds they produce and is adding movement as a dramatic part of her new score. The one-night only event will be a visual and audio experience that sublimates everyday sights and sounds into art. It is an opportunity to see how an artist reflects on her early career and updates those ideas.
Anderson’s career spans four decades and her contributions to the histories of performance art, experimental music, contemporary visual art, film, and installation have garnered worldwide acclaim. She was initially trained in violin and sculpture. During the 1970s, she created a variety of performance and art projects in New York that focused on language, technology, and visual imagery. Her 1982 album “Big Science” and its megahit single “O Superman” were a global phenomenon. Presented in major museums and theaters throughout the United States and the world, her performances, music and visual art reflect the changing nature of spectatorship. Her 2015 film “Heart of a Dog,” about the passing of the dog she shared with her late husband Lou Reed, won multiple awards and her acclaimed VR experiences, “Chalkroom” and “To the Moon” were shown at MASS MoCA, among other venues.
“A lot of the work in the United States is highly critical of technology. I’m using 15,000 watts of power and 18 different pieces of electronic equipment to say that,” Anderson has said. “My work is more about trying to ask good questions and not trying to come up with big shows. Every fashion company is doing that, every car company is doing that.”
“We are deeply grateful to Laurie Anderson for this exciting collaboration,” added Sara Cochran, executive director and chief curator of The Church. “This extraordinary event is a reflection on the longevity and flexibility of her work over her career. We look forward to hearing her new musical score for this unusual orchestra.”
“Road Rave” will take place at Havens Beach on Bay Street in Sag Harbor at 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 18. Masks will be mandatory. The event is free, but reservations are required at sagharborchurch.org.