Interdisciplinary artist Jason Moran (US, b. 1975) grounds his practice in musical composition and bridges the visual and performing arts through stagecraft. Moran draws from his personal experience to create dynamic compositions that challenge conventional forms. His experimental works embrace the intersection of objects and sound, pushing beyond the traditional staged concert or sculpture to amplify ways that both are inherently theatrical. This exhibition, the artist’s first museum show, features the full range of Moran’s work, from performance and collaborations with visual artists to his own sculptural works.
In all aspects of his work, Moran’s creative process is informed by one of the essential tenets of jazz: the “set,” in which musicians come together to engage in a collaborative process of improvisation, riffing off of one another to create the musical experience. The exhibition will highlight his mixed-media set installations based on storied jazz venues from past eras, including STAGED: Savoy Ballroom 1 and STAGED: Three Deuces (both 2015), sculptural vignettes that were his acclaimed contributions to the 2015 Venice Biennale.
The presentation includes the premiere of a new sculptural commission from this series that takes inspiration from the celebrated New York jazz venue Slugs’ Saloon, which was open from 1964 to the early 1970s. Also featured will be a selection of Moran’s most recent charcoal drawings and several projected media works from his long-standing collaborations, or sets, with artists including Lorna Simpson, Glenn Ligon, Joan Jonas, and Stan Douglas. In-gallery performances will also be orchestrated during the run of the show.
The exhibition complements the Walker’s long and meaningful history with Moran, which began in 2001 and includes a residency and five engagements to date. The artist will also return to the McGuire Theater stage to premiere a new commissioned work, The Last Jazz Fest, his second performance to be commissioned by the Walker.
(Photo: Jason Moran, STAGED: Savoy Ballroom 1, 2015. Photo: Farzad Owrang, © Jason Moran; Courtesy the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York.)