Art Inspiring Music - Challenging Perceptions: Harmonic and Social Dissonances

Co-sponsor: Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum

The Kemper Art Museum exhibition Ai Weiwei: Bare Life will serve as inspiration for this unique program featuring the violin/clarinet/percussion ensemble F-PLUS. With driving rhythms, moments of extreme dissonance, and complex, interweaving lines, F-PLUS will embark on a sonic journey evocative of Ai Weiwei’s artworks that challenge us to be aware of the world around us in times of political and social turmoil. The program will include works by Roger Zare, WashU composer Christopher Stark, and Howie Kenty.


F-PLUS is a violin, clarinet, and percussion trio committed to collaborating with today's most exciting composers to establish a diverse repertoire for their unique instrumentation. Formed in 2016 at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, the ensemble has commissioned over 20 new works and has performed all over the country, from Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall in New York to the Art Institute of Chicago and the New Music Gathering in Boston.The 2018-2019 season includes performances in Chicago, IL at Constellation and the Poetry Foundation, in Detroit, MI, and in Austin, TX, presented by Tetractys New Music. F-PLUS is committed to working with the next generation of composers, and looks forward to residencies at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Illinois State University, and University of Texas at Austin during the 2018-2019 season. The ensemble has previously completed residencies at Grand Valley State, Central Michigan, Stony Brook, and Duke Universities. 

About the exhibition:

This fall the newly expanded and renovated Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum will reopen with a major exhibition of work by Ai Weiwei. The renowned Chinese dissident artist and activist is internationally known for rigorous, compassionate, and complex artworks that address themes of political, ethical, and social urgency. Designed by the artist and curated by Sabine Eckmann, William T. Kemper Director and Chief Curator, Ai Weiwei: Bare Life will be on view from September 28, 2019, through January 5, 2020.


The exhibition will feature more than 35 artworks created over the last two decades in a wide variety of mediums—among them sculptures, installations, photographs, and films. A selection of newly conceived large-scale and site-specific projects will be placed in dialogue with some of Ai’s most iconic works and several major artworks never before exhibited in the United States. Together, these objects provide new insight into Ai’s abiding concern for human rights and the global condition of humanity while showcasing his profound engagement with Chinese culture past and present—especially the radical shifts that have characterized China in the new millennium.


Image captions:

Ai Weiwei (Chinese, b. 1957), Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn, 2015. LEGO bricks, triptych, 94 1/2 x 78 3/4 x 1 3/16" (240 x 200 x 3 cm) each. Courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio.

Ai Weiwei (Chinese, b. 1957), Forever Bicycles, 2011. Installation view, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, 2011. Courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio.