“Knack,” by Andrew Choate
- Source: Andrew Choate
- Year: 2013
- Submitted by: Elana Mann
As part of KCHUNG‘s residency at the Hammer, I did a set in the Hammer courtyard before Robert Gober and Elisabeth Sussman’s talk on Forrest Bess. Read here for details about that set and my project with Bess’ paintings. The basic gist is that I chose songs whose titles reference colors. I prepared more Bess paintings for the same treatment, but didn’t have time at the Hammer to perform them. Here is one of them.
For Bess’ “Tab Tied to the Moon Film”, I chose Oscar Brown Jr.’s “World Full of Grey” to play by itself and paint all of the grey background in this painting. I like it because he sings so explicitly about the color, and the emotion, of grey. The central hieroglyphic-like “tree” (in Bess’ formulation) that dominates the canvas is represented in my sonic recreation by a very short sequence from the somber “White” by the trio of Michiel Braam (piano), Wilbert de Joode (doublebass), and Michael Vatcher (drums). I chose this short section because it contains three notes––or prongs–– that correspond to the tone of Bess’ “tree.” I also didn’t want to emphasize this portion of the canvas, as it’s the multicolored speckles that surround this form that truly color the experience of this painting. So those notes trickle into the intro of “Kaleidoscope” by Kaleidoscope (the UK not US Kaleidoscope), which plays in its entirety. It’s one of my favorite songs, and the lyrics deal explicitly with color: “lots of million-coloured lights/ some vermillion.” There is so much movement in Bess’ painting that I also think the notion of movement implied by a kaleidoscope corresponds perfectly to the slight vertigo induced by the painting. Plus, “million-coloured”: how wonderfully ambiguous yet exact is that? Thanks Forrest.