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JENNIE C. JONES COMPILATION


JENNIE C. JONES COMPILATION Valerie Cassel Oliver WITH CONTRIBUTIONS BY

Hilton Als Huey Copeland George E. Lewis

Gregory R. Miller & Co. Contemporary Arts Museum Houston


CONTENTS

Foreword

7

Acknowledgments

8

LINER NOTES FOR A COMPILATION

11

Valerie Cassel Oliver

JENNIE C. JONES: “AMAZING PARALLELS”

18

George E. Lewis

FIRST TAKES: A CONVERSATION WITH JENNIE C. JONES

24

Huey Copeland

COLOR STRUCK

33

Hilton Als

PLATES

37

Works in the Exhibition

139

Chronology

143

Bibliography

147

Further Reading

149

Notes on Contributors

150

Artist’s Acknowledgments

152

Index

154


FOREWORD

Anyone who knows me knows of my love for two forms of

Her efforts are supported by the hard work and dedication

cultural expression: music and minimalism. My head

of other staff members. Patricia Restrepo, our curatorial

almost exploded with joy on seeing the Carl Andre survey

business manager, handles the details of exhibitions as if

at Dia:Beacon in Beacon, New York, last summer, and I

she were born into the role. Our head preparator, Jeff Shore,

spend most of my time away from the world of visual art

has done a wonderful job of executing the needs related

tracking down musical experiences of all kinds to experi-

to exhibiting a sonically oriented artist such as Jennie C.

ence live. From the earliest internal discussions of the

Jones. Our registrar, Tim Barkley, is ever-steadfast in his

works of Jennie C. Jones in preparation for the present

ability to handle logistics on a grand scale, and this makes

exhibition, I have been finding new ways to consider my

him invaluable to the institution. Shane Platt, as usual, has

twin passions, and I welcome the opportunity to reflect

served as CAMH’s smiling face in dealing with all incoming

critically on them further during the run of Jennie C. Jones:

issues, and Amber Winsor, Monica Hoffman, and Mike Reed

Compilation. This is an exhibition that is simultaneously

have made sure that all operations run smoothly.

humorous and angry, political and formal, rigorously

The significant accomplishment that is Jennie C. Jones:

conceptual and approachable. I have known Jones’s work

Compilation has been made possible through the support

for several years, and I am thrilled that the Contemporary

of CAMH’s Major Exhibition Fund donors and of The Brown

Arts Museum Houston has mounted a large-scale exhibi-

Foundation. Additional support was provided by Deutsche

tion devoted to this fantastic and articulate artist.

Bank, whose long-standing commitment to the artist is

My colleague and CAMH’s senior curator, Valerie Cassel

commendable in the extreme.

Oliver, has once again delivered a masterful presentation of work by an artist deserving of institutional attention. Valerie’s expert choices and timing ensure our museum’s place in the discourse around global contemporary art,

Bill Arning, Director

and I consider myself fortunate to work with her so closely.

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

7


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

As a curator of contemporary art, I have been fortunate to

critical rigor. The Museum also continues to encourage

work with many artists over the years who have chal-

the arduous task of writing history as it happens by sup-

lenged the dominant narrative surrounding the art prac-

porting and investing in the ideas and practices of living

tices and traditions of the day. Many of these artists have

artists, often providing the public with its earliest glimpse

challenged not only the traditions but the very historicity

of an artist’s visual articulation in the form of a solo exhi-

of genres. I have found both the challenging of traditions

bition. For many visitors, this will be the case with Jones

and the interrogation of histories to be sharp edges in the

and this exhibition, Jennie C. Jones: Compilation.

practice of Jennie C. Jones. And those sharp edges are

The presentation of the exhibition would not have

very useful in coming to understand how artists of the

been possible without the incredible community that sur-

twenty-first century continue to resist and reframe their

rounds the artist. I owe a debt of gratitude to the staff of

practices within the spectrum, or trajectory, of art history.

Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, especially Michael Jen-

I am grateful to Jennie C. Jones for her immense thought-

kins, Scott Briscoe, Matthew Droege, and Meg Malloy, who

fulness and generosity. We have known each other for

have superbly assisted in cataloguing Jones’s work over

over a decade, and it is my sincere hope that our deep

the last decade as well as locating and securing key loans

friendship and respect for one another is evident in this

for the exhibition. And, because much of the work featured

survey—her first. I am honored to have the distinction of

in the exhibition has never before been exhibited and/or

mounting an exhibition that not only features the very

documented, I owe a great debt of gratitude, again, to the

large bandwidth of her practices but also makes abun-

gallery and to Jason Frank Rothenberg, who meticulously

dantly clear the genius behind those practices, orches-

photographed the works for this publication, along with

trating it all.

Paul Hester and Cathy Carver.

None of this would have been possible without the

The publication marks the Museum’s second collabo-

support and encouragement of the Contemporary Arts

ration with the publisher Gregory R. Miller & Co. I am

Museum Houston—an institution with which I have been

deeply grateful to Greg Miller for seeing the merit of this

affiliated for, now, over fifteen years. I am grateful to the

book and investing his well-tuned acumen to transform

Museum, its Board of Trustees, and its director, Bill Arning,

it from a mere accompanying catalogue into a beautiful

for their unwavering support and their commitment of

and substantive monograph on the work of Jennie C.

resources to this project. It is invigorating for a curator

Jones. It is my hope that the book will serve as a testimo-

when her institution values, above all else, curiosity and

nial document to the extraordinary talents of this artist

8


for years to come. The publication also benefited greatly

both within the exhibition and on the Museum’s website.

from the keen visual acumen of the designer Miko McGinty

Moreover, their diligence in securing press coverage and

and her team, especially Anjali Pala and Claire Bidwell. It

creating thoughtful programming has ensured a frame-

is extremely gratifying to work with a designer with such

work for interpreting the exhibition. I am tremendously

meticulous taste and visual insight. And, as pertains to

grateful to Director of Development Amanda Bredbenner

insight, I must thank the contributors to this publication—

and her team for their enormous efforts in securing

Hilton Als, Huey Copeland, and George E. Lewis—for their

much-needed funding for the project. Moreover, I am

tremendous generosity and thoughtfulness. I would also

indebted to a group of individuals who graciously provided

like to thank Patricia Restrepo, who, on the Museum’s

additional financial support, including Deutsche Bank,

side, helped to manage the usual, and not so usual, “nuts

Arthur Lewis, and Sikkema Jenkins & Co. These donors

and bolts” of this book. Her ability to coordinate, along

made it possible to frame the extensive body of drawings

with the designer, the book’s intricate moving parts was

featured in the exhibition and, in the process, generated

of invaluable assistance to me during this process. For

enthusiasm and anticipation for CAMH’s presentation of

this publication, we owe a great debt to Jennifer Bernstein,

Jennie C. Jones: Compilation.

who served as the copyeditor for the catalogue, ensuring clarity and consistency throughout. At CAMH, I am fortunate to work with a family of tre-

Finally, I want to thank the lenders to the exhibition, who are listed on page 160. Their generosity in sharing the works in their collections should always be considered a

mendously dedicated and talented individuals. Without

testament to their belief in the artist. And I thank you, the

their help and support, an endeavor of this magnitude

reader, for visiting the exhibition and for picking up this

could never have manifested itself. Again, Curatorial Asso-

publication. Both the exhibition and the publication came

ciate and Business Manager Patricia Restrepo was instru-

into being because so many people sincerely believe in

mental in keeping the project on track and in securing,

the enormous talent of this artist. I hope that you will find

along with Shane Platt, Assistant to the Director, many of

her work rewarding in its unprecedented level of articula-

the comparative images for the book. Registrar Tim Barkley

tion and engagement. And, to the artist, Jennie C. Jones,

managed various aspects of loan requests and coordinated

I offer my thanks again for entrusting me with the task of

complicated shipping arrangements. Preparator Jeff Shore

providing that platform for her voice and her work. It has

also deserves special thanks for his dynamic talents in

been a delightful journey.

exhibition design and installation. I am also appreciative of Director of Community Engagement Connie McAllister and her colleagues Daniel Atkinson and Max Fields, who have been superb at not only garnering visibility for the project

Valerie Cassel Oliver, Senior Curator

but also creating in-depth digital platforms to be deployed

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

9


LINER NOTES FOR A COMPILATION Valerie Cassel Oliver

Jennie C. Jones is a conceptual artist whose works on

Ralph Ellison defined it in Invisible Man: as a condition of

paper, on canvas, and in sound frame questions about the

the collective’s refusal to acknowledge one’s presence.

estrangement of the black avant-garde amid the radical

Through her work, Jones has mined this psychology of

shifts in the visual arts that took place in the mid-twentieth

refusal to explore the internal and external pressures of

century. Her artistic experimentation, which swivels pro-

representation in the mid- to late 1960s, when, for African

gressively and seamlessly from two and three dimensions

Americans, the aesthetic politics were overt, and the

to immersive sound installations, engages in dialogues

stakes for those who would refuse them, high.1 These poli-

that are aesthetically and politically astute. Not only does

tics permeated every aspect of artistic production, from

Jones use the language of one of the most iconic and

the visual arts to literature to theater and music. In partic-

ideological shifts in twentieth-century painting, she also

ular, African American artists who were emboldened to

interrogates the medium from the inside out, adapting

resist the criteria outlined by the Black Power movement

the underpinnings of early conceptualism to the field of

often found themselves nomads in a barren land. While

painting and dragging its ideological notions of represen-

these artists may have found support and camaraderie

tation onto the terrain of gender and race.

among their peers, their standing in the greater public eye

As an artist, Jones came of age in the early 1990s,

would remain negligible. And while it is true that all those

against the backdrop of identity politics and the discourse

who operated on the margins of avant-gardism—white,

surrounding “margins” and “centers.” While questions of

black, and other—found themselves on the precipice of

identity have served as the foundational space of her

the transforming cultural landscape, they also risked falling

inquiry, Jones has resisted overt responses to the formulaic

through the cracks of its historical narrative. Only a faint

dichotomies of race and gender. Like the protagonist of

few—mostly white and male—emerged on the other side

Ralph Ellison’s 1952 novel Invisible Man, Jones has sought

to be claimed as the forebears of the contemporary

to dissect intellectually the hierarchies that exist within

art world.

the sociopolitical landscape as well as those in the artistic

Black artists were either cannibalized by the white

landscape. She maps for us the fissures—the liminal

establishment or ostracized by its black counterpart for

spaces—where the artistic imprints of those who have been

their transgressions—for not lending their voices to the

rendered invisible are still resonant. And it is in these “dark”

rallying cry for positive, uplifting, and readily accessible

spaces that Jones delivers her most powerful and nuanced

reflections of their community. This was, without ques-

work. We are led to understand the notion of invisibility as

tion, the reality for artists working in all disciplines and 11


was particularly acute for those working in the visual

was a central preoccupation, as the poets were often

arts and music. Jennie C. Jones’s skillful forensics have

accompanied by jazz and R&B. The mutual influence

enabled a mapping, of sorts, of the black avant-garde

among black artists of all stripes could also be seen in

through her use of a visual language that melds abstrac-

their similar attempts to control modes of production

tion and minimalism with the language of jazz experimen-

of their work.3

tation—from bebop to hard-bop to free jazz, drawn from an era of cultural expansion spanning from the late 1940s

The imprint of these mid-twentieth-century cultural and

to the mid-1970s. (Some refer to this as the golden age

aesthetic upheavals on the expansive nature of contem-

of jazz, although some would argue that free jazz was its

porary practice is unmistakable, and Jones, uniquely in

demise.) In a deft act with conceptualist leanings, Jones

her generation, has harnessed the politics of that era in

has moved deep into the “unexplored confluences between

her own work.

abstract visual arts and African American composers and musicians.”2 Throughout her career, Jones has inhabited this murky

DRAWN TO MUSIC

territory, and her practice has evolved from literal references to music in early drawings and collages to more

I realized how much time I was spending in the studio

nuanced and multifaceted installations that engage the

more or less curating the music I was going to listen

viewer both visually and aurally. Jones has continually

to while I was working. And, the epiphany was that,

exposed the paradox of the black community’s promotion

that was a part of my practice. I shifted gears and I

of traditional art practices—such as representational

started investigating modes of conceptualism, and

painting—above all others, including abstraction, particu-

thinking about listening, archiving and things of that

larly when the latter has challenged traditional or sanc-

nature as a source for the visual work.4

tioned art production in favor of new forms and practices. Moreover, her intellectual and persistent engagement of

For Jones, the act of listening, as well as the modes thereof,

the two avant-gardes—the white and the black—has

became, in and of themselves, a practice that ranged

called into question modernity’s embrace of black music

from discrete drawings to wall installations. The artist’s

while excluding black production from the canon of

commitment to drawing and collage was originally deter-

modernist visual art.

mined, in part, by space constraints. For many years,

The aesthetic and political resonances of Jones’s

Jones’s studio was a mere table or desk. Rather than see

unlikely sources, which were revolutionary in their own

this as a limitation, she used it to focus on the objectives

right—minimalism in sculpture, abstraction in painting,

of reducing visual information to its most essential state

and experimental jazz in music—hold sway in the bodies

and translating sound into visual art. Over time, Jones’s

of work she has created in all the media she has espoused.

visual language evolved from delicately drawn speakers

Indeed, while minimalism and free jazz were, and are,

hanging from wires to collage to her more conceptual

largely understood as intentionally fragmented, whether

“scores” of today. While Hilton Als eloquently frames the

visually or aurally, they are not devoid of representation

artist’s works on paper elsewhere in this volume, it is

or political significance:

worth mentioning, even in a cursory manner, the cartography of the artist’s practice and the transfer of ideas

The free jazz movement represents the most insistent consummation of social, cultural and identity politics

12

from one medium to another. The earliest work featured in this exhibition is Speak,

in jazz’s history. There was an undeniable cross-

a suite of drawings made in 2004 (see pp. 122–23). The

fertilization of performance rhetoric. During the 1960s,

drawings are sparse, minimalist, essentialist. Subse-

Amiri Baraka’s recitation style was heavily influenced

quently, Jones began to integrate collage into her draw-

by Albert Ayler’s cultivated saxophone yelps. Charlie

ings (fig. 1), often using found imagery featuring sound

Mingus and Sun Ra both experimented with poetry; and

systems from magazines and product packaging. Her

Archie Shepp was both a playwright and poet. Music

practice of reducing and fragmenting images of listening


devices would generate several series of works on paper

and disconnectedness, Jones’s work poses questions

with titles such as Solid State and Sony Walkman (see

about absence and the disjointedness of histories—what

pp. 118–21). In these works, Jones literally extracted iconic

we miss in the rush to become our autonomous selves.

design elements of what were then state-of-the-art listen-

While her drawings and collages are exquisite studies in

ing devices, which have since become archaic. In high-

composition, they also show how the systematic stripping

lighting the nature of how we listen and by what means,

away of recognizable imagery into pure, abstracted form

Jones also made visible the historical precedents that

and color allows the viewer’s subconscious to fill in what

have enabled access—especially, now, digital access—to

is conspicuously absent. In her most recent works on

sound and, more specifically, to musical art forms. She

paper, Jones has begun to incorporate the drawn staff

became something of an archeologist of sound as well as

lines used in musical notation with collage to further

of the visual packaging of music and listening devices,

explore nuanced gesture and systems of chance. These

cataloguing the technologies that have shaped our mod-

works can be situated along the trajectory established

ern worldview and informed how each successive genera-

by such earlier artists as Agnes Martin—a favorite of

tion has engaged with visual as well as sonic culture.

Jones’s—who herself defied visual categorization. In the

The act of listening, the means by which one listens, and

words of one art historian,

what one chooses to listen to—all have political ramifications. The technology of the Sony Walkman, for example,

[Martin] frequently challenged historical categories

revolutionized music consumption habits by enabling

(Abstract Expressionism, Color Field, Minimalism)

people, on a massive scale, to carry their music with them.

because she made the connection between the

The device posited listening as a singular act to be enjoyed

gesture and the act of enunciation—or rather, the

while moving about the world, as if a sea of people were

“negation” of the gesture as an act of enunciation—

suddenly defined by their individual presences, each one

raising questions about the possibility of transmitting

a droplet of sonic water. In this space of fragmentation

subjectivity through mark making.5

Jones’s drawing Grey Score (for Agnes) (2012; see pp. 82– 84) references not only music—through the use of composition paper—but also Martin’s deft use of line, which

SILO

the older artist, and, to some extent, Jones, relegates to chance. Martin’s use of negative space as composition and its correlative in sound—that is, silence—is also apt for Jones’s practice, as are Martin’s thoughts about the transmission of subjectivity through mark making. This disposition provided the conceptual launching point for Jones’s one-hundred-page series Score for Sustained Blackness (2014; see pp. 114–17). Conceived as a “graphic score,” with ten movements repeated ten times, it is Jones’s most ambitious work on paper to date. Like Martin, Jones zeroes in on mark making, using it, in her case, to transmit notions of black subjectivity. Jones has described the series as being about “tenacity, expression and restraint” and as a search for a “time signature” of blackness.”6 This notion can be traced to numerous studies in

Fig. 1. Jennie C. Jones. Early Blues, 2004–5. Collage and ink on paper (one from a set of 8), 9 x 6 in. (22.9 x 15.2 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

ethnomusicology but is beautifully conveyed in Blues People (1963), the seminal book by LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), in which he speaks about radical forms of jazz as markers of difference: 13


By borrowing the principle of two- and four-beat bar first from hymns and then from polkas and military marches, the American Negro made a sharp break with his African ancestors. However, his sense of rhythm was not completely at home in this rigid framework. An opposition arose between the container and the thing contained. Half a century after the birth of jazz, this opposition has not been smoothed away, and it probably never will be. The Negro has accepted 2/4 and 4/4 bars only as a framework into which he could slip the successive designs of his own conceptions. . . . [H]e has experimented with different ways of accommodating himself to the space between measure bars.7

In the transmission of her conceptual ideas into the sonic realm, Jones plays on the nuanced and emboldened gestures surrounding a possible time signature of blackness.

Fig. 2. Bob Defrin (art director). Cover of the Modern Jazz Quartet’s 1987 album Three Windows (with the New York Chamber Symphony). Atlantic Records (81761-1). Courtesy of Rhino Entertainment Company

Much like her works on paper and created over the same period, the artist’s sound collages superimpose snippets of music, sometimes stripping to their bare essence some

deconstructivist theories, which remain present in her

of jazz’s most iconic recordings and performances. For

sound and visual work.8

instance, in making What a Little Moonlight (2007), Jones

Jones’s subsequent body of environmental sound

used an excerpt of “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” the

pieces draws on the work of lesser-known musicians and

Harry M. Woods song performed by Billie Holiday many

composers of the 1970s and early 1980s, such as Wendell

times during her career and, for the last time, at the

Logan, who formed the Oberlin Jazz Ensemble in 1973,

Newport Jazz Festival in July 1957. The resulting sound

and Olly Wilson, who was on the faculty of the Department

work stretches out Holiday’s raw and unfiltered voice to

of Music at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1970

an intoned howl, enabling the listener to hear her iconic

to 2002. Her interactions with their unrestrained explora-

phrasing anew as a constructed “call and response”

tions in both jazz and contemporary classical music sig-

rooted in the blues idiom. Jones’s earlier vocal collage works,

naled a new phase in her understanding of and approach

from a series called Woman Alone, also feature some

to her own sonic work. In the brochure accompanying

of the genre’s best-known female vocalists, such as Ella

Jones’s exhibition Higher Resonance, presented at the

Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Nina Simone.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington,

By 2010, Jones had begun to move away from collaged

D.C., in 2013, the curator Evelyn Hankins wrote of Jones:

vocalizations drawn from popular jazz standards and from her explorations of the ambient sounds of audio

[She] mines often overlooked and less mainstream

equipment—chance compositions that feel more Cageian

branches of music history, which reflect the direction

in nature. In their stead, she delved headlong into the

of her own recent musical explorations. Jones recom-

mercurial sounds of free jazz—although it should be noted

poses these historical recordings through micro-

that she was introduced to jazz through the Modern Jazz

sampling, a digital editing technique that extracts

Quartet (fig. 2), whose formalism, structure, and hybrid

individual notes and short phrases.9

incorporation of classical modes such as counterpoint affected the austerity and formalism of her early visual

Using micro-sampling, Jones is able to construct sonic

work. In tracing this trajectory further, Jones investigated

works not as audible collages but rather as compositions

the music of the post-free-jazz era and its connection to

arranged by the “unintended collective.” She has also

14


used this technology to seamlessly embed a subtle

archaic sound-related objects. Her series Song Containers

political gesture—one of silence. Hawkins noted that

(2011; see pp. 128, 129) presents a visual history of the

Jones incorporates “silent lapses” as “markers of un-

mainstream music industry’s packaging, from the second

interrogated gaps in cultural history, specifically the lack

half of the twentieth century into the twenty-first. The

of recognition of an African American avant-garde.”

components of these minimalist sculptures are still readily

10

Perhaps she has been taking advantage—as LeRoi Jones

recognizable as, respectively, bifold covers for standard

pointed out—of the “space between measure bars.” For

double LP albums and seven-inch 45-rpm “singles”; 8-track

Jones, re-composition has become essential in reframing

cartridges; and plastic cases for audio cassette tapes.

the midcentury era’s most influential musical experi-

The installation of this series in the present exhibition

ments and, as such, the narrative of the avant-garde in

enables viewers to fill in the gaps between what Jones has

the United States. The repository on which she has drawn

extracted. The objects become touchstones for personal

is vast, and one has only to read George E. Lewis’s 2008

memories and for what Jones has termed “the physical

book A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and Ameri-

residue of music.”11 This residue also applies to the artist’s

can Experimental Music to see how significant this narra-

use of everyday listening accessories, such as earbuds,

tive becomes for American experimentalism as a whole.

and audio equipment, such as instrument cables and con-

(Lewis discusses Jones’s sonic references and practice

nectors, which she installs both as standalone sculptures

in depth in his superb contribution to this volume.)

and as architectural interventions. Several of these works, entitled SHHH (2014), are featured in the exhibition and

AUDIBLE READYMADES

are reminiscent of Fred Sandback’s sculptures in their simplicity—although Jones, instead of engaging strictly with the nature of spatial relationships, seeks to trans-

Jennie C. Jones’s recent exhibitions often feature an

form a simple instrument cable into a minimalist gesture.

amalgam of painting, sound, and sculpture. From 2010

As the cables and connectors are attached to nothing but

onward, her sculptures have been inspired, in part, by

ceilings, walls, and floors—not to any working or even

Marcel Duchamp, whose repurposing of everyday objects

nonworking amplifier or musical instrument—the works are

revolutionized the visual arts in the early twentieth cen-

as much about silence as they are about drawing in space.

tury, as well as by the tension between the aural impulse

The most recent sculpture featured in the exhibition is

and the retinal. She manipulates everyday objects related

a specific homage to Marcel Duchamp, entitled Duchamp’s

to sound—objects that belong to modes and systems of

Inner Ear (2014–15; fig. 3). Jones routinely scours eBay

listening to sound or producing it as well as systems of organizing it—to generate implied sound. And while her sculptures evoke sound and the methodologies by which it is created, they are themselves silent. The Gentle Influence of the Bourgeoisie (Trombone Improvisation) and Spider Trio (for Louise) (both 2010; see pp. 132, 133) are works that exploit the visual dynamics of everyday objects such as plastic compact-disc cases and metal compact-disc racks, highlighting their ability to become something beyond their predetermined function. Jones elevates these objects not only by altering them physically and framing them in the “white cube” of the gallery but also through the conceptual inference of their titles. They are at once visually defined and audibly aligned with the performative imprint of jazz. Jones has also played on the Duchampian concept of the readymade by evoking the architecture of current and

Fig. 3. Jennie C. Jones. Duchamp’s Inner Ear, 2014–15. Altered 1923 Victrola part and acrylic paint; 13 x 17 x 16 in. (33 x 43.2 x 40.6 cm). Collection of the artist 15


politics of exclusion. Jones’s use of the language of minimalism as a conceptual artist, however, aligns her with Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, On Kawara, and Blinky Palermo, among others, who have viewed painting and its history as primed for conceptual intervention. What these artists brought to the practice and history of painting, particularly in its most radical form in the mid1960s, was a deliberate scrutiny. It is within this trajectory that Jones has reengaged her painting practice with notions of creative output and politics. It is no exaggeration to state that issues of absence and invisibility still haunt us today—the politics of representation and their impact on creative endeavor most defiFig. 4. Barnett Newman, Midnight Blue, 1970. Oil on canvas; 76 x 94 in. (193 x 239 cm). Collection of Museum Ludwig, Cologne. © 2015 The Barnett Newman Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo courtesy of Rheinisches Bildarchiv

nitely persist. In a 2013 interview with Josephine Reed for the National Endowment for the Arts’s blog ArtWorks, Jones discussed the politics of representation in abstraction: I feel like I always had a leaning towards the abstract, towards hard-edge. I was doing a lot of collage and

for antiquated audio equipment and “dead” objects

more abstract work than I felt comfortable with for

related to sound recording and playback; in this case, she

the era I was in school. I was an undergrad and [in]

acquired and altered the horn-shaped speaker of a 1923

grad school during the peak of multicultural dis-

Victrola phonograph. The artist is direct in her repurposing

course, and this becomes a tension that I’ve played

of such objects to allow for the extension of the visual-

with and pushed against and embraced at different

aural connection in her work.

points in my career. Whether or not [one overtly]

Jones’s use of the readymade in her sculpture triggered

gets into addressing the politics of being a woman of

another seismic shift in her practice: a return to painting.

color, where that stays in the studio, where that is in

After several studio-art classes in high school, Jones entered

your personal life, your personal politics versus your

the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as a painting

creative practice.12

major in 1987. Beginning in 2011, by way of her use of commercially available acoustic panels, the artist has come

Jones is now using painting’s proclivity as an ideational

back to the canvas with much trepidation, affixing the

and representational enterprise to draw attention to the

ontological politics of blackness squarely upon it. Like her

invisibilities of black abstraction and of the black avant-

conceptualist predecessors, Jones has turned to the

garde in general. Materially and conceptually, her paint-

two-dimensional picture plane as a site of interrogation—

ings on sound-absorbing panels—used to minimize

and as a means of imploding existing narratives.

echoes and reverberations in auditoriums and the like— support an ideological stance toward the muted history of

MINIMALIST IMPULSES/CONCEPTUAL PAINTINGS

black avant-garde makers of sound and visual art. Jones has also noted that the works are an exercise in “elegant restraint.” The artist invites these mutable layers onto the

In multiple media, as we have seen, Jones has played on

monochromatic canvas, creating something comparable

the tensions of minimalism—on both its historical mark-

to what Barnett Newman termed “zips,” or spaces of

ers and its contemporary imprint. As a vital and iconic

visual and spiritual engagement with the picture plane.

language that embraced political concerns, minimalism,

Like Newman’s (fig. 4), Jones’s “zips” are meditative

in its hyperheterosexual leanings and conspicuous

spaces of silence and quietude, although they are,

absence of people of color, was also marred by its own

with their underpinnings of counterpoint and formal

16


composition, somewhat polyrhythmic and vivid in their sensibilities. Since debuting the acoustic panel paintings in 2011 in

Jones’s most recent body of work—a suite of acoustic panel paintings in shades of blue, from midnight to navy (see p. 47)—provides a final chapter to her tritone series.

an exhibition curated by Matthew Lyons at The Kitchen

It denotes a shift away from “elegant restraint” toward a

in New York (see fig. 5), Jones has created three distinct

more gestural mark making on the surface, revealing her

series of paintings based on the tritone, a musical term

hand to the viewer and playing with modes of geometric

expressing a particular interval between notes. Installa-

and nongeometric abstraction. Moreover, in these works,

tions featuring these works are often titled with double

she delves into the visual and audible semiotics of the

entendres related to musical notation, audio devices, and

“blues” as a cultural signifier of blackness—a legacy of

sound constructs, such as Higher Resonance, Tone, and

African roots and the seed of black musical traditions. For

Absorb/Diffuse. Jones has coupled these paintings with

Jones, it is a play on the precipice of yet another seismic

sonic works that echo the visual dynamic:

shift in her practice, yet to come. But for now, it is an anchor that holds.

In some ways I started from scratch when I returned to canvas. I’m afraid of color, what better way to start understanding it again than to start with the fun-

NOTES

damentals. Also initially, the yellows and reds were

1. See Charles Gaines et al., The Theater of Refusal: Black Art and Mainstream Criticism, exh. cat. (Irvine: Fine Arts Gallery, University of California, Irvine, 1993). 2. Evelyn Hankins, Jennie C. Jones: Higher Resonance, exh. brochure (Washington, D.C.: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, 2013). 3. Guthrie Ramsey, “Free Jazz and the Price of Black Musical Abstraction,” in Energy/Experimentation: Black Artists and Abstraction, exh. cat. (New York: The Studio Museum in Harlem, 2006), p. 74. 4. Interview with the artist by Josephine Reed. Full transcript at http://arts.gov/audio/jennie-c-jones. 5. Jaleh Mansoor, “Self-Effacement/Self-Inscription: Agnes Martin’s Singular Quietude,” in Lynne Cooke, Karen Kelly, and Barbara Schroder, eds., Agnes Martin (New York: Dia Art Foundation; New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2011), p. 158. 6. Email exchange with the artist, May 15, 2015. 7. LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), Blues People: The Negro Experience in White America (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1963), p. 192. 8. Email exchange with the artist, June 8, 2015. 9. Hankins, Jennie C. Jones: Higher Resonance. 10. Ibid. 11. Full transcript at http://arts.gov/audio/jennie-c-jones. 12. Ibid. 13. Email exchange with the artist, May 15, 2015. 14. Stephanie Rosenthal, Black Paintings, exh. cat. (Munich: Haus der Kunst, 2006).

used as “activation” colors. And as hot colors they cast off, or reverberate, in a much more intense way than darker hues which absorb light. That was my beginning of addressing optics and sonic types of resonance.13

The use of black acoustic panels not only intensified the activation of color on the picture plane but also played on the notion of “black” in the context of minimalism and as a social construct. In the late 1950s, the use of the color black by artists associated with abstraction and minimalism was highly contentious. It was once noted of Mark Rothko that he “invites us to look at paintings that make us blind, unable to see them.”14 Even in the most radical constructs of visual culture, the color black was often eschewed. Jones’s use of the color tugs on these aesthetic histories as well as on sociopolitical ones. Black becomes less a color than a manifestation and embodiment of the invisible black avant-garde whose talents gave shape to the contemporary moment.

17


JENNIE C. JONES: “AMAZING PARALLELS” George E. Lewis

The works of Jennie C. Jones advance trenchant cultural,

pursued by many of its practitioners, jazz has played a

aesthetic, and social critiques. Her aesthetically multi-

relatively marginal role in the set of historiographic refer-

voiced corpus, which includes audio collages, immersive

ences that have come down to us on the subject of the

sound installations, paintings, sculptures, and works on

avant-garde. At least in the most commonly asserted his-

paper, evinces a sharp engagement with histories and

torical narratives (as well as in academic and professional

memories of sound and music. One particularly important

networks, as Jones observes), the music’s dominant

facet of Jones’s work is her simultaneous embrace and

tropes are denied, excluded, relegated to carefully defined

problematization of the genre of jazz. In a 2011 interview,

margins, or ignored. Many art historians after 1960 seem

Jones recalls how few of her art-world contemporaries

to have consigned jazz as a source for experimentation to

shared her interest in the genre:

the era of the Beats and Abstract Expressionism. In the words of the theorist Fred Moten:

Later, after being a punk in the 80s, then going to undergrad and grad school, I approached jazz more

What I’ve been specifically interested in here is how

academically. I found that, of course, there are endless

the idea of a black avant-garde exists, as it were,

historic junctures where music and art are talking

oxymoronically—as if black, on the one hand, and

about the same thing, but they were kept completely

avant-garde, on the other hand, each depends for its

separate from each other in discourse. One fell onto

coherence upon the exclusion of the other. Now this is

the genre of black history, the other art history.1

probably an overstatement of the case. Yet it’s all but justified by a vast interdisciplinary text representative

The issue is larger than either Jones or jazz; indeed, how

not only of a problematically positivist conclusion that

have historians of the avant-garde treated African Ameri-

the avant-garde has been exclusively Euro-American,

can music and its influence, not only on American but

but of a deeper, perhaps unconscious, formulation of

also on global culture? With the remarkable exception of

the avant-garde as necessarily not black.3

the musicologist Benjamin Piekut’s important 2011 book, Experimentalism Otherwise: The New York Avant-Garde

My 2008 book, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM

and Its Limits, one searches the major literature nearly in

and American Experimental Music, describes a paradigm

vain for anything more than cursory references. Despite

shift in the art world in which the Beats’ identification with

its worldwide influence and the experimental spontaneity

jazz was supplanted by a Warholian dismissal of jazz in

2

18


favor of rock music.4 An Artforum review of the 2013

valorization of the link between jazz and abstraction

Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, exhibition

might even have the effect of defending jazz from some

Blues for Smoke, which explored some of the issues

of its adherents. At the same time, her sound work takes

identified by Moten, expresses a certain caution about

advantage of the freedoms sound artists are able to

this shift, attributing it to a “non-Warholian” approach

assert by not subjecting themselves to the ideologies,

to subjectivity:

folkways, and fashions of music. Along with jazz, technology is a major subject of Jones’s

If Warhol can be seen to have articulated a shift

work. The conceptual assemblage she advances is mirrored

toward postmodern subjectivity—disaffected yet

in the physical assemblages she creates to explore the

affirmative, and so closely identified with media and

ways in which popular histories and memories become

popular culture as to be for all intents and purposes

attached to the physical packages and transmission media

at one with them—then art history has taken this

for sound—wires, earbuds, and plastic cases—and to the

shift, particularly in its recent fetishization of the term

mediatic discourses that foreground “retro” language

contemporary, as a kind of implicit telos. “Blues for

relating to an era of Jurassic electronics, as invoked by such

Smoke” looks at what happens when this point of ref-

Jones titles as Solid State and Auto Reverse Suite #1. Here,

erence is not given pride of place. What constellations

she makes common cause with the emerging academic

converge across time when this stealth teleology no

discipline of sound studies, which looks critically at how

longer structures our thinking?5

flows, consumption patterns, and economies of sound distribution influence both reception and production.

If we take the experience of Jennie C. Jones as a guide,

Jones’s deployment of acoustics as both model and

“what happens” amounts to a transgression of the previ-

metaphor appears in her Static Reverberation/String

ous regime’s borders—a scaling of its walls. As Jones

Arrangement series of screenprints (2012), which invoke

recounts in the same 2011 interview, “I kept seeing these

the synesthetic through their physical sources in the strings

amazing parallels in ideologies in both disciplines, espe-

of an acoustic bass. The works in her Acoustic Painting

cially in jazz and abstraction.” In Jones’s own work, these

(2011) and Bass Traps with False Tones (2013) series,

parallels appear as part of a complex assemblage encom-

recomposed from acoustic sound-absorbing equipment

passing minimalism, repetition, sampling, re-presentation,

and displayed on gallery walls and floors, reflect their

recombination, and abstraction. Jones’s work makes

industrial origins by actively controlling room reflections

common cause with jazz’s traditional primary function

while subliminally orienting viewers to the physicality

as a site not only of remembrance but also of larger cul-

of sound. These pieces, as well as her 2011 installation

tural, aesthetic, and social critiques. Ironically, Jones’s

Absorb/Diffuse (fig. 5), could have nearly the same effect

6

Fig. 5. Jennie C. Jones. Absorb/Diffuse (installation view), The Kitchen, New York, 2011. Courtesy of The Kitchen 19


in a gallery space as in a sound studio—a cryptic reorientation of the sonic space, effected by objects that make no sound of their own. The title Absorb/Diffuse reflects one physically prosaic function of the underlying material while pointing to ways in which sound both reflects and enacts larger societal dynamics of absorption and diffusion. Where the cultural products of the African diaspora are concerned, diffusion and absorption have been seen, in many circles, as particularly dangerous; Barbara Browning is only one of the latest to notice this dynamic in her 1998 book, Infectious Rhythm: Metaphors of Contagion and the Spread of African Culture.7 Certainly, we see this fear of diffusion and absorption in the case of jazz. For some early twentieth-century scientists and pseudoscientists, as well as a number of public intellectuals of our own day, eugenics has provided an avenue Fig. 6. Unidentified photographer. Melba Liston, n.d. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of Judy Chaikin/ The Girls in the Band

of resistance to this unbridled diffusion and absorption.8 Jones’s sound art also uses technology as a medium. A sound work such as Scat Pitch and Shatter (2007) sends a message of historical intervention: as the scatting voice of Ella Fitzgerald becomes digitally smeared into unrecognizability, one wonders what will emerge at the other end of the pipe—that is, one becomes aware that history is contingent and indeterminate, and not only could matters have been very different than they are, but the comfortable verities of today are fragile and could be shattered at any moment. You Make Me Feel like 100 Billie Holiday Songs (2003), another recombinant work by Jones, recalls a radio experience that is rapidly receding from our cultural consciousness—although even in the digital age, it is still possible to listen to the “stations between,” in which music fades in and out at random, according to the vagaries of the ionosphere. At times, Jones’s recombinations have the effect of converting earlier eras of jazz into a kind of free jazz. Audio works such as Slow Birds (2004) reinsert the physical into the digital, reimprovising the recorded improvisations of Max Roach and Charlie Parker. The intended message here, in part, may be one of continuity between 1960s jazz and earlier eras, rather than the currently accepted trope

Fig. 7. Jennie C. Jones. Score in Eight Measures (for Melba Liston), 2014. Mixed-media collage on paper (one from a set of 8); 22 3/8 x 14½ in. (56.8 x 36.8 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

of irreparable rupture. Still other sound works by Jones recall the extremes of register and timbre used by Roscoe Mitchell and Anthony Braxton, composer-saxophonists who challenge standard genre designations. Other Jones works feature the imbrication of “microsamples” of recordings by black classical composers such

20


as Alvin Singleton and Wendell Logan with others from recordings by composer-performers from creative music practice, such as Alice Coltrane, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Art Ensemble of Chicago, and Melba Liston. Liston (fig. 6), one of the most influential trombonists and arrangers of her era, is referenced in Jones’s Score in Eight Measures (for Melba Liston) (2014; fig. 7). One of Jones’s important strategies in her sound works is the sonic close-up—a focus on a small segment of the sound for elaboration, contemplation, and imaginative reverberation. In Score in Eight Measures, a low, sine-wave drone is suddenly interrupted and augmented by the close-up: a quartet of trombones playing a single ninth-chord flourish.

Fig. 8. Jennie C. Jones. The Gentle Influence of the Bourgeoisie (Trombone Improvisation), 2010. Plastic CD rack (inverted), felt, acrylic paint, and double-CD jewel case; 7 x 16 x 5 in. (17.8 x 40.6 x 12.7 cm). Collection of the artist

Another Jones work, The Gentle Influence of the Bourgeoisie (Trombone Improvisation) (2010; fig. 8), approaches the history of the instrument from a very dif-

loving, slow-motion sampling of a single moment in the

ferent angle. The late British trombonist Paul Rutherford

Davis work performs a similar transduction.

was one of the major figures in what came to be known

This kind of work challenges jazz’s traditional public

as the European Emanzipation from models of jazz and

self-image, which tends to eschew technological engage-

improvised music performance then established in the

ment in favor of tropes around the physical as opposed to

United States, including African American forms. The

the virtual, the analog over the digital. Many critics and fans

title of Jones’s work is a reference to Rutherford’s 1974

are still upset with Davis for abandoning the all-acoustic,

solo trombone recording The Gentle Harm of the Bour-

putatively all-natural music of his youth in favor of elec-

geoisie, which introduced to the world unusual and unique

tronic sounds associated with rock. For many contempo-

sonorities, performed within a frame of freedom. Ruther-

raneous critics, of various ethnicities, the use of electronics

ford’s title, which reflected his political activism, itself

(and, by extension, technology itself) was implicitly

refers to Luis Buñuel’s 1972 Surrealist film, The Discreet

“raced” as white.12 On this view, technology constituted a

Charm of the Bourgeoisie. Gail Brand, an important repre-

departure from blackness toward either the contemporary

sentative of a later generation of British trombone innova-

classical world or the world of white rock music.

9

tors, has made an observation about Rutherford’s perfor-

Davis’s own statements on the matter asserted his

mances that could also serve as a description of Jones’s

right to mobility of reference. He expressed an affinity

art: “There’s no call and response, no interconnected

with the prototypical figure of what later became known

series of melodic variation, no sense of formal closure, or

as black rock: Jimi Hendrix, whose deep engagement with

any of the conventional structural elements that might

electronics undoubtedly influenced Davis in modifying the

give one comfort.”

sound of his trumpet to make it more guitar-like, begin-

10

Jones’s 2010 work Slowly, in a Silent Way—Caged

ning with albums such as 1969’s Bitches Brew.13 Moreover,

draws on one of the more contemplative moods on Miles

while Davis encountered the electronic music of Karlheinz

Davis’s 1969 album In a Silent Way, transducing a micro-

Stockhausen, including works such as Telemusik (1966)

scopic moment in the piece to a macroscopic level. Here,

and Mixtur (1964/67), as early as 1972,14 his early experi-

Jones is working with history as embedded in sound, as

ments with technology not only preceded this encounter

with Stan Douglas’s 2014 film installation Luanda-Kinshasa,

but are likely to have been influenced by the saxophonist

a multihour reimagining of Davis’s On the Corner sessions

Eddie Harris, whose famous composition Freedom Jazz

of 1972. For both Jones and Douglas, minimalism, repeti-

Dance was recorded in 1965; Davis recorded Harris’s

tion, sampling, and re-presentation serve to expand the

piece the following year.15 Harris himself was already on

moment. Douglas transforms the sounds of an extended

record using performance electronics on the 1967 album

jam session into a marker of a historical moment; Jones’s

Mean Greens.16

11

21


In Jones’s sound art, the reading of digital and analog

insider/member. By way of contrast, one could imagine

technology through jazz-identified sonic imagery provides

Snead’s affirming that by engaging with minimalism,

trenchant ripostes to the attempted erasures of African

Jones is simply exploring the contours of her own home.

Americans from histories of the avant-garde and modern-

Jones’s work frequently draws on the language of the

ist abstraction while foregrounding African American cul-

musical score. One graphic work, Score for Sustained

ture’s ongoing engagement with those histories. Even so,

Blackness (2014; fig. 9), freely juxtaposes musical staves

the use of jazz as a generalized genre marker in discus-

of varying compositions and directional orientations in

sions of Jones’s work sometimes implicitly frames, or

ways that evoke the wave forms associated with tone

“races,” the reception of the work as if her particular inter-

bursts. The notion of “sustain” asks the visitor to, in James

est in repetition and minimalism were a non–African

Brown’s words, “stay on the scene.” At the same time, one

American area of influence she felt the need to claim as

cannot help recalling, particularly in light of the previous

her own. However, one of the signal influences on early

discussion of fears of diffusion and absorption, Alvin Sin-

musical minimalism, and one still largely unacknowledged

gleton’s 1988 string quartet Secret Desire to Be Black.22

in many music histories, was John Coltrane. Coltrane was

The Singleton work invokes the opposite term in a binary

a major influence on the composers La Monte Young,

trope of repulsion and attraction, one that gained national

Steve Reich, Terry Jennings, and Terry Riley, and a piece

prominence in the United States in 2015 with the revela-

such as Coltrane’s 1960 recording of My Favorite Things

tion that the head of the NAACP’s Spokane, Washington,

(particularly the McCoy Tyner piano solo) is essentially a

chapter was, in fact, pretending to be African American.23

minimalist improvisation, using repetition as a primary

As it happens, Snead’s own life and work bear traces

element.17 Coltrane’s use of repetition precedes that of

of Jones’s “amazing parallels” between jazz and abstrac-

Reich and Philip Glass and is roughly coterminous with

tion. A jazz pianist and a scholar, a gay African American

that of Young and Riley, both soprano saxophonists who,

as well as a devout Christian, Snead died of AIDS in 1989

like many, were taken with Coltrane’s sound on that

after holding academic posts at Yale University and the

instrument.18 We can relate this understanding to the work of Jennie C. Jones through a consideration of a short section in the literary critic James Snead’s complex and influential 1981 article, “On Repetition in Black Culture.” Snead epigraphically cites the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s famous essay on repetition: “Repetition is reality and it is the seriousness of life. He who wills repetition is matured in seriousness. . . . Repetition is the new category which has to be brought to light.”19 Snead sees this passage as challenging a dominant nineteenth-century Western belief that “there is no repetition in culture, but only a difference, defined as progress and growth.”20 As Benjamin Piekut has perceptively observed, “To explain what experimentalism has been, one must attend to its fabrication through a network of discourses, practices, and institutions. This formation is the result of the combined labor of scholars, composers, critics, journalists, patrons, performers, venues, and the durative effects of discourses of race, gender, nation, and class.” This 21

perspective makes it easier to understand why, in histories of musical minimalism, Coltrane (if he is mentioned at all) is largely portrayed as an outside source rather than as an 22

Fig. 9. Jennie C. Jones. Score for Sustained Blackness Set 2, 2014. Acrylic paint, collage, and Noligraph 5-line staff pen on paper (one from a set of 10); 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York


University of Pittsburgh. The philosopher Cornel West, who arranged for the posthumous publication of Snead’s writings, wrote a poignant remembrance of him that seems to describe Jennie C. Jones as well: “[Snead] represents a new breed of black intellectual produced by a culture on the underside of modernity. And by ‘new breed,’ what I mean is that, given his energy and the quality of his mind, he was willing to no longer confine himself to the Afro-American terrain, but rather to try to redefine the whole in light of his understanding of that terrain.”24

NOTES 1. Julio César Morales, “Interview with Jennie C. Jones” (January 2011), http://www.ybca.org/jennie-c-jones. While this interview is no longer accessible at its former URL, Jones offers a nearly identical quote in another online publication: “There are endless historical junctures where music and art were talking about the same thing, but they were kept completely separate from one another in discourse. One fell into the genre of black history, the other into art history. For me, I kept seeing these amazing parallels in ideologies for both disciplines, especially in jazz and abstraction.” See Oliver Koerner von Gustorf, “Spotlight: Interview Jennie C. Jones,” db artmag, no. 39, http://www.db-artmag.com /archiv/2006/e/7/2/487.html, accessed July 22, 2015. 2. Benjamin Piekut, Experimentalism Otherwise: The New York Avant-Garde and Its Limits (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011), p. 7. 3. Fred Moten, In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003), p. 32. 4. George E. Lewis, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008), p. 36. 5. Helen Molesworth, “Blues for Smoke,” Artforum, March 2013, p. 269. 6. Morales, “Interview with Jennie C. Jones.” 7. Barbara Browning, Infectious Rhythm: Metaphors of Contagion and the Spread of African Culture (New York: Routledge, 1998). 8. See Troy Duster, “Lessons from History: Why Race and Ethnicity Have Played a Major Role in Biomedical Research,” Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics 34, no. 3 (Fall 2006). A widely influential example of the modern turn toward eugenics is Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life (New York: Free Press, 1994). 9. On the Emanzipation, see Wolfram Knauer, “Emanzipation wovon? Zum Verhältnis des amerikanischen und des deutschen Jazz in den 50er und 60er Jahren,” in Jazz in Deutschland:

Darmstädter Beiträge zur Jazzforschung, Band 4, ed. Wolfram Knauer (Hofheim: Wolke Verlag, 1996). Also see George E. Lewis, “Gittin’ to Know Y’all: Improvised Music, Interculturalism and the Racial Imagination,” Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation (September 2004), available at http:// www.criticalimprov.com. In my previous life as an itinerant trombonist, I had the privilege of performing with Paul Rutherford (1940–2007) on numerous occasions, beginning in 1976 and ending in 2007, not long before his passing in the same year. See Alexander von Schlippenbach/Globe Unity Orchestra, “Globe Unity: 40 Years,” (Intakt CD 133, compact disc, 2007). 10. Quoted in Emanem Compact Discs’s write-up of Rutherford’s Gentle Harm of the Bourgeoisie, http://www.emanemdisc.com /E4019.html. 11. See https://vimeo.com/94233892. See also Michael Vass, “Thinking through Music: Stan Douglas’s Luanda-Kinshasa (David Zwirner, New York January 9–February 22, 2014),” Canadian Art (February 27, 2014), http://canadianart.ca/reviews /stan-douglas-luanda-kinshasa/. 12. See George E. Lewis, “Foreword: After Afrofuturism,” Journal of the Society for American Music 2, no. 2 (2008). 13. For more on Davis’s approaches to electronics, see Barry Bergstein, “Miles Davis and Karlheinz Stockhausen: A Reciprocal Relationship,” The Musical Quarterly 76, no. 4 (Winter 1992); Leo Smith, “The Kabell Years: 1971–1979” (Tzadik 7610, four compact discs, 2004). 14. Bergstein, “Miles Davis and Karlheinz Stockhausen.” A complete list of Stockhausen’s works is available at http://www .karlheinzstockhausen.org/complete_list_of_works_english.htm. 15. Miles Davis, “Miles Smiles” (Sony BMG #827, compact disc, 1967); Eddie Harris, “The In Sound” (Atlantic 1448, vinyl disc, 1966). 16. Eddie Harris, “Mean Greens” (Atlantic 1453, vinyl disc, 1967). 17. John Coltrane, “My Favorite Things” (Atlantic 13420, compact disc, 1960). 18. For an account of Coltrane’s impact on early minimalist composers, see Edward Strickland, Minimalism: Origins (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993). 19. James A. Snead, “On Repetition in Black Culture,” Black American Literature Forum 15, no. 4 (Winter 1981), p. 152. 20. Ibid., p. 147. 21. Piekut, Experimentalism Otherwise, p. 7. 22. For the score, see http://www.amc.net/files/3367 /33199_69717_54342.pdf. 23. See Kirk Johnson, Richard Pérez-Peña, and John Eligon, “Rachel Dolezal, in Center of Storm, Is Defiant: ‘I Identify as Black’,” New York Times, June 16, 2015, http://www.nytimes .com/2015/06/17/us/rachel-dolezal-nbc-today-show.html, accessed July 27, 2015. 24. See the Yale AIDS Memorial Project (YAMP) page on Snead at http://yamp.org/Profiles/JamesSnead.

23


FIRST TAKES: A CONVERSATION WITH JENNIE C. JONES Huey Copeland

COPELAND: One of the things I’ve noticed in the dis-

Americanness also, as cheesy as that sounds. There are

course around your work is the way that your bringing

many conversations that happened, historically, at the

together of ostensibly disparate modernist histories—

same time but that are separated by disciplines; the way

particularly European American painting and African

we’re educated about these things remains very separate.

American avant-garde music—often leads writers to

The books I had in my house as a child about black history

reproduce some of the silences and blind spots that your

(the Harlem Renaissance, the WPA) were later juxtaposed

art critically engages and interrogates, as if the various

with the books I read in my first art-history classes at

terms you’re deploying were not somehow always already

SAIC [School of the Art Institute of Chicago]. Still, I could

alloyed or touched by difference in the first place. So, I

bring up Alma Thomas and have a colleague—someone

wonder, on the one hand, if you might speak about how

with an MFA, no less—say, “Who is that?” or “Who is Martin

you understand your works’ relationship to or distance

Puryear?” Seriously, this has happened in studio visits

from traditions of black abstraction, whether the quilts of

with both black and white students, sadly. There’s a very

Gee’s Bend [fig. 10], the canvases of Beauford Delaney,

basic necessity to weave these histories together, as they

or “Negro Sculpture” as figured in Alfred H. Barr’s famous

belong together. And even if they don’t belong together,

diagram showing the development of modern art. On the

my work’s an investigation of that tension, that friction.

other hand, I wonder if you could speak about how you

Sonically, I think of it as layering; I’m layering histories

sonically experience the monochromes of an Ellsworth

onto each other: what does it sound like when you take

Kelly [fig. 11], the zips of a Barnett Newman, or the

the formula of John Cage’s 4’33” and stretch out Miles

abstractions of a Piet Mondrian, which Fred Moten has

Davis’s “In a Silent Way” to fit that blank space? Why don’t

written about beautifully as being infected with a “case

we talk about those two interpretations of silence in the

of blackness.”

1

same manner?

JONES: Well, yes, silences and blind spots indeed! It’s a

COPELAND: That’s super helpful for me, because one of

hard question to address because you’ve cast a wide

the ways I’ve approached your work is as articulating a

net. To consider the African abstract geometry used by

counterfactual proposition that interjects you as a thinker

the Gee’s Bend quilters and its obvious connection to

and maker into a historical framework where you couldn’t

the hard edges of Kelly and the surfaces of Delaney—

have been. But that’s not quite right: instead, you’re trying

I’d say “a case of blackness” ties them all together, and

to remix what is already there?

24


JONES: My approach is revisionist and neomodernist in the sense of using the filter of postmodernism in order to unearth and reposition, using strategies of collage and sampling to play with how modernist history was constructed. That history can become the source, it can become content, but it is deconstructed and reconstructed in a way that places it under the umbrella of conceptualism.

COPELAND: That comment helps reorient my thinking about the work away from the counterfactual and toward something like Sun Ra’s concept of “alter destiny.”2 So, rather than fabulating historical connections, could we say that the work takes up the remains of history to produce a different genealogy, a different kind of destiny and legacy for practices in the present that necessarily reframe our understanding of and approach to the past? It’s a dialectical move: the work is producing a very particular present and also producing a different kind of past for us as it does so. Fig. 10. Lola Pettway. “Housetop” (eight-block variation), ca. 1975. Corduroy; 84½ x 71 in. (214.6 x 180.3 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection, 2014. Courtesy of Souls Grown Deep Foundation

JONES: God, well said, sir. Is that what I’m doing? [Laughs.] COPELAND: Part of what led me to that question is how your work remakes histories of abstraction and our sense of them, giving us modernist painting—so often framed as an optical experience—as a sonic, and sounded, form.3 What are the consequences of this approach when we turn back to a Mondrian or look at a Kazimir Malevich; do we hear it? Is that a kind of sonic experience?

JONES: I wish I had synesthesia, but I don’t! It’s strange that these different musical and painterly references end up together in my work, because listening is often so completely separate for me. The process of making sound pieces really comes out of a conceptual underpinning; I often refer to the sound works as re-compositions, so in that sense it’s like reinterpreting. There seem to be both maximalist and reductive sysFig. 11. Ellsworth Kelly, Cité, 1951. Oil on wood (twenty joined panels); overall 56½ x 70¾ x 1¾ in. (143.5 x 179.7 x 4.4 cm). San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Doris and Donald Fisher Collection at SFMOMA, and The Helen and Charles Schwab Collection. © Ellsworth Kelly. Photo courtesy of the artist

tems—like stripping everything away except a single note—and both are always available through a conceptual lens, which lends itself nicely to sound processing . . . but it’s the historical excavation that supplies the substance or the bones of the work. “What do four Charlie Parker notes sound like over three minutes?” Or a maximalist question: “What would a hundred Billie Holiday songs sound like all at once?” That was actually my first sound 25


piece, and when it got to twenty-six songs, the piece

COPELAND: Right. And we might extend this line of con-

started to fall apart. I didn’t want to lose her voice and I

versation to think further about the kind of viewer your

had little interest in noise art, which can sometimes be

work produces, given the resources on which it draws.

abusive to the listener. In that maximalist Holiday piece,

Minimalist sculpture is associated with an ability to

I still wanted to experience the poetry of the lyric. Some-

engage the mute, preobjective, socially unmarked body

times there are things I would love to work with sonically,

through a physical engagement in real space; then, there

but I don’t want to manipulate them because I respect

is the kind of attunement and bodily posture that you

them too much.

have when you’re listening intently to a jazz concert in a club setting; and then there is the distanced reflection,

COPELAND: That’s clarifying: even though you have an

the peripatetic back-and-forth, of the spectator poised

interest in remixing and recombining, there’s also an ethi-

before a Newman painting. It seems that the viewer of

cal limit that you establish for yourself in terms of how far

your work has to be alive and alert to all those modes of

you will go, since you still want to hold onto musicality and

spectatorship, though not necessarily at once.

you still want to honor other artists’ work on the signifier even as it starts to give birth to new languages.4 Your

JONES: This could be a total stretch, but we could talk

work always contains the trace of what it was before and

about the birth of modern music, which demanded that

becomes a site for reimagining what it might be. Your

people not dance but sit down and listen: this shift, from

response also brings to mind an amazing phrase you’ve

the dance hall to the concert hall, is something that

often invoked to describe the orientation of your work

comes to mind when you bring up spectatorship, the kind

with and on sound: “listening as a conceptual practice.”5

of attention that I hope my work dictates. It allows you to

Could you say more about that phrase, particularly in

pause in front of something, to be muted, to go quiet. A

terms of what it means for you and how your work unfolds

solid white painting or a black painting or something

in the studio, but also what its implications are for the

that’s got a sound panel on it also hopefully has an ele-

kind of aesthetic encounter you’re trying to imagine for

gance and a quietness to it that can have some emo-

the viewer and the kind of viewer that framework is meant

tional effect, that can make you stop and be connected to

to produce?

a kind of mindful listening. It’s the Moten thing in a way— it’s what happens “in the break” that is interesting to me,

JONES: Well, the second part is definitely harder and

that is pregnant with possibility, just that little slice.6 But

more challenging because it’s really a struggle to get and

that historical turning point—demanding that the specta-

hold people’s attention with any kind of media. “Listening

tor sit down and listen—went one step further for Miles

as a conceptual practice” was a phrase I wrote in my

Davis. He often faced away from the audience altogether,

sketchbook ten years ago; I would say it’s a form of mind-

a radical act that I often reference when I talk to stu-

fulness, a deep, immersive pleasure you can have in those

dents: “Turn away from your audience to find your own

moments when you’ve abandoned your other senses and

voice!” Listen to what Miles is saying: “Yes, sit down and

you are in it, you’re listening to something and it’s wash-

listen, but I’m not even going to look at you, I’m going to

ing over you or you’re feeling the reverberations in your

turn my back on you and be with my musicians, in my

chest—it’s physical. For me, those embodied sensations

moment, in my space digging and finding and improvis-

also come with a real heavy sense of conceptualism and

ing and working. You can witness it, but I’m not going to

of history: as I’m listening, I’m also thinking of this matrix

face you and perform for you.”

of Alfred Barr’s diagram and the Modern Jazz Quartet, a sort of montage that unfolds mentally. Yet, listening and

COPELAND: Yes! And what your art enables is a reflection

making—those two modes are still a little separate for me;

on Davis’s gesture in relationship to minimalist and con-

in the end, the pleasure comes from witnessing how they

ceptual work—I think here of Cage and of Adrian Piper—

merge in the white box, and they don’t make sense, but

practices that mobilize aesthetic withdrawal as a primary

they make sense.

resource, a kind of negative capability that aims to activate the work and refocus one’s attention. In the process,

26


the viewer/listener of your art is precariously positioned

a listener and what I try to hold out in my work, because

between different sensory modalities, requiring that she

I like following bread crumbs and learning something

stretch toward and piece them together.

new which leads me to something else. In many ways, I approach sound this way, because we have lazy ears

JONES: And we could rip the bandage off, leaving Cage

today. Music is everywhere—it’s drowning us from the

and Miles behind to get into Muhal Richard Abrams, Rah-

street, we listen to it on our phones—so I’m trying to

saan Roland Kirk, Alice Coltrane, Sun Ra, and so many

offer something else that’s an alternative to our usual

others. I am very interested in people who choose to oper-

consumption of sound.

ate on the periphery as a radical act, which is different from being on the margins or being marginalized. These

COPELAND: That sense of a stop or a pause is super inter-

figures gave me permission, for lack of a better word, to

esting, even counterintuitive, because on the one hand,

work a certain way and to know that there’s a precedent

your painterly objects can read as very “fast,” in the way

for it and that I didn’t fall out of the sky.

that Leo Steinberg, for instance, talked about Kenneth Noland’s paintings: it’s as if you can see everything in an

COPELAND: And that comment attunes us differently to

instantaneous moment of perception.8 But on the other

the multiplicity of your works’ address and the kind of

hand, as you get closer and look at the facture of the

aesthetic encounters of which they dream, not only in

pieces and sound becomes part of the experience, you are

terms of the sensorial body your art dictates but also in

encouraged, even mandated, to slow down without neces-

terms of the subjects or the publics it imagines. So, what

sarily knowing why or even being directly addressed; the

kind of subject is that?

work itself does not need or want you, it somehow seems absorptive in the Friedian and literal senses.9

JONES: I feel totally confronted right now by my own isolation and narcissism because I really don’t think about

JONES: Which is pretty crazy for a black girl to do. [Laughs.]

that. For better or for worse, I’m in my bubble. I think my ideal audience is one capable of having a conversation

COPELAND: And perhaps that also speaks to how you

about bridging the gaps, like talking with someone from

were introduced to the arts, particularly jazz, as a girl:

the music department at Brandeis [where Jones was a

from listening to your mother’s record collection, creating

visiting artist in winter 2015] who’s never heard of Wendell

a musical mise-en-scène, to which, in a certain sense,

Logan and doesn’t think about his or her own scores as

your work has returned.10 I know that it took time for you

drawings or think of music as existing in a different con-

to countenance music as a possible source for your artis-

text, such as a museum or performance-art venue. For

tic practice; could we think about Mark Bradford’s journey

me, opening up those interdisciplinary conversations,

to hairstyling endpapers or Glenn Ligon’s toward language

those cross-cultural conversations, is the joy, the reward.

as somehow being analogous in terms of a shared return to the scene of painting with other materials in hand?

COPELAND: And for the audience, do you imagine the experience being akin to, say, James Turrell’s fantasy of

JONES: But it seems like a no-brainer, because that’s all

viewership, when he talks about how his project with

we’ve got, right? Music: that’s what black people have,

Robert Irwin enables a Blakean moment in which “percep-

that’s what we own, that’s what we can do, that’s what we

tion” is “cleansed” and the viewer can see again as if for

are appreciated for, that’s what gets pushed as a cultural

the first time?7

methodology, that’s how we have survived and have a presence in the world: music, music, music, music! And

JONES: I think everything is just so fast and intense these

yet music is very much removed from the white box, from

days, so, first, it really is about getting a viewer to stop,

the art-historical canon, from many scholarly conversa-

and then to ask, very simply, “What is that?” The next

tions about visual art.11 This is why the explosion of dis-

step would be to think, “Oh, I’ve never heard of Melba Liston,

course around hip-hop was so critical for me in the 1990s,

what is that from?” That’s how I operate as a viewer and

because it expanded the conversation and opened onto 27


JONES: This is where we can address the photograph I’ve started lectures with for the past five years. It’s an image shot by William Claxton in 1960 of John Coltrane in the Guggenheim Museum, pointing at his saxophone case (fig. 13). His gesture, that image, is burned into my retina: that is the seed of the framework I’m trying to kick open. The other image of Coltrane taken that day is equally compelling, as he stands in front of a painting, opening up a dialogue about blackness, painting, and abstraction.

COPELAND: Your reference to the photograph of Coltrane pointing brings me to another question about the multiple ways in which music, its various technologies, and their forms are functioning in your art. Sometimes the work is indexical, like the photograph, in just pointing toward music. Sometimes it functions as the actual material substrate or prime object of your practice. And sometimes Fig. 12. Reid Miles (designer). Cover of Anthony Williams’s 1965 album Spring. Blue Note Records (BST 84216). Courtesy of Universal Music Enterprises and Wayne Adams

you take up, twist, and work metaphorically with musical forms, as in Score for Sustained Blackness (see pp. 114– 17). For you, is there a distinction between these functions in terms of how you’re operating in the studio?

all these other histories that I was more interested in,

JONES: I feel like it’s been a very clear development in my

quite frankly: “pre-hip-hop,” the origin of “hip,” the begin-

work, moving from the beginnings of an industry to its

nings of the music industry, which was the first cultural

demise, its irrelevance. I began with modern music and its

crossover, before rock ’n’ roll. Modern music was the core

connection to art histories I’m obsessed with, leading all

of how it all started, of that shift to America as the definer

the way to Higher Resonance at the Hirshhorn [2013], a

of “cool.” That history was a huge impetus for me to make

show that was really more about looking at classical com-

my work. It didn’t seem to make sense that there were so

posers and the counterpoints of renegades like the Art

few African American visual artists engaged with music

Ensemble of Chicago and the AACM [Association for the

theory, music history, and musicology, when that territory

Advancement of Creative Musicians]. It has been interest-

is so much more readily anticipated and accepted from

ing going back through my early drawings to discover

cultural producers of color (fig. 12). Christian Marclay

that they end up looking like studies for installations that

can’t own this discipline. You know what I mean?

came later. The initial line drawings of audio cable—tiny speakers that face each other, talking to each other—

COPELAND: Yes. And I think that goes back again to the

became proxies for these larger ideas around voice, silence,

construction of these disciplinary silos and protocols of

yearning, and the consumption of music. Eventually, those

reading, these frameworks that are racialized both in

very early drawings started to manifest as real audio cables,

terms of who’s supposed to enter them and how their

which I plugged into the wall. I thought those gestures

work gets marketed and commoditized. Given our inter-

were quite overt, but they did not read as blatant metaphors

disciplinary, post-everything moment, it makes sense that

to people—they were far more ambiguous—which blew

now is the time that we can have a Jennie C. Jones and a

me away.

Jason Moran, pushing against those boundaries from complementary directions.

So, in the 2010 exhibition Electric [at Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York], for example, I took the top-20 jazz LPs of 1970, put them in a case, cut a hole in the gallery, and shoved them into the wall. The work was about ’70s

28


minimalism, Judd, etc., but by shoving a discography into

To Disembark [1993; fig. 14].13 Your interest in maintaining

the wall of a gallery, I was thinking, “This is so over the

all these connections that can be both insular and inside

top!” That was the first time I worked with instrument

has emerged as an interesting through-line of our conver-

cables, and it was also the first time I found myself looking

sation. That brings me to ask you about the studio, that

at all the residue—all the CD cases that were chucked into

literal space of inside-ness where the work gets made and

the street, the tapes on the sidewalks thrown out of cars—

thought: could you talk about how the studio functions for

these physical things that had started to become obsolete

you? Is it a space of safety or retreat, and if so, from what?14

and that are really weird cultural markers. These objects, these cases: no one wants them in their homes, so I made

JONES: Yes, it is a space of safety, but I surprise myself a

sculptures from them [such as 12 from ’74 (2010); see

lot at how aggressive and angry the making of some pieces

p. 131]. It was about the death of analog, in a way.

is, especially with paint, because I hate paint. I really do. It’s a love/hate thing, and there have been times when

COPELAND: So, in that instance, it’s not about a kind of

I’ve made an underpainting and very aggressively, angrily,

remixing but a kind of repurposing?

sponged and rolled over the whole thing. When you’re looking at one of my black paintings, there’s a lot under-

JONES: I love repurposing both castoffs and other things,

neath, so again, it’s a conceptual system of removal or

for example, with the piece Duchamp’s Inner Ear [2014–

reduction: I can have all this expression, and then it’s got

15; see p. 127], which was a beautiful object and one that

restraint and parameters around it, or a panel gets ham-

made a lot of sense, because it’s the inside of a Victrola,

mered on top of something that is a painting that only I saw.

plus it’s patented 1923.12 So, the object just happens to

There are weird little moments like that in the work

make sense on all these levels, and my interventions were

that unfold in the studio, but for many years, I didn’t have

small. I paint part of the surface and turn it upside down

a studio in New York. All the early works on paper were

so that it sits on the floor—you know I love the very insular

in a series because I was sitting at a desk. When you’re

art-historical pointing.

sitting at a table with a stack of paper in front of you— this is when I started getting interested in the [musical]

COPELAND: Yes, you’re pointing to Marcel Duchamp’s

scores, because there’s a linear, page-turning process to

With Hidden Noise [1915], to Robert Morris’s Box with the

making them—you have to find a way to fill a big space by

Sound of Its Own Making [1961], and to Glenn [Ligon]’s

making lots of little things. When I made Absorb/Diffuse, the [2011] show at The Kitchen, my studio was my living room, and I woke up in a room of black panels and black paintings every day. I used to joke that it was like Darth Vader’s office—heavy, totally heavy. The space I made the Hirshhorn show in was across the hall from where we are now, and it’s 320 square feet. I didn’t even see all the works up until they were at the museum, because in that small studio, I could only see three panels at a time. I cried in front of the preparators as they laid them all out in front of me, because I realized I hadn’t even seen my own work from more than ten feet away. And I work small for the art world: this is human scale, so the studio, for me, is insular and small, and then when you see how things get transformed by the architecture they exist in, it’s a whole other conversation.

Fig. 13. William Claxton. John Coltrane at the Guggenheim, New York City, 1960. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of Demont Photo Management 29


Fig. 14. Glenn Ligon. To Disembark (installation view), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 1993. Courtesy of the artist

COPELAND: So, it seems that the studio is this space of intensity and antagonism that the work itself doesn’t necessarily manifest, especially your deep love/hate relationship with painting. Could you talk a little bit more about that tension around painting?

JONES: As a “conceptual artist,” I avoided the canvas, so I had to come back to painting with clear intention and purpose, which I’m still searching for. Looking at how sound functioned and was received in these physical white-box spaces led to me to thinking about architecture, so I started investigating noise-canceling materials and acoustics. That led to working with sound-absorbing panels, and the panels led to reimagining minimalism and thinking about how the square conduits in my early drawings were then manifested in the physical space, but now as paintings. What I really like about the acoustic panels is that they are working. I always say they’re active even when there’s no sound in the room; they are affecting the subtlest of sounds in the space—dampening and absorbing even the human voice. I think that there is a metaphor in that presence, in the deepening of silence.

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NOTES This collaboratively edited and annotated text is based on the transcript of a conversation—the first sit-down discussion between the two interlocutors centered on the artist’s work— recorded on May 15, 2015, at Jones’s Brooklyn studio. 1. Fred Moten, “The Case of Blackness,” Criticism 50, no. 2 (Spring 2008), p. 202. 2. With this concept, Sun Ra aims to reimagine the lives and fates of black people outside Western parameters. For one short introduction to the concept, see his opening monologue in John Coney, Space Is the Place (35 mm, 82 min., North American Star System, 1974). 3. See, for example, Michael Fried, “Art and Objecthood,” in Gregory Battcock, ed., Minimal Art: A Critical Anthology [1968] (Berkeley: University of California Press; reprinted by arrangement with Dutton Signet, 1995), pp. 116–47. 4. The language here takes up and refers to comments by Rosalind Krauss in Hal Foster, Rosalind Krauss, Silvia Kolbowski, Miwon Kwon, and Benjamin Buchloh, “The Politics of the Signifier: A Conversation on the Whitney Biennial,” October, no. 66 (Fall 1993), p. 9. 5. See, for instance, Jones’s comments in Oliver Koerner von Gustorf, “You Make Me Feel like a 100 Billie Holiday Songs: A Conversation with Jennie C. Jones,” db artmag, no. 39, http:// www.db-artmag.com/archiv/2006/e/7/2/487.html, accessed September 14, 2015. 6. Fred Moten, In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003). 7. The quote from William Blake—“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite”— appears in James Turrell, “Project with Garrett 2-10-69,” in Maurice Tuchman, Art and Technology: A Report on the Art and Technology Program of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art,

1967–71 (Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, distributed by Viking Press, New York, 1971), p. 133. 8. For the relevant commentary on the speed of Noland’s paintings, see Leo Steinberg, “Other Criteria,” in Other Criteria: Confrontations with Twentieth-Century Art (London: Oxford University Press, 1972), p. 81. 9. On the absorptive qualities of aesthetic experience—the sense of the work’s being turned inward, preoccupied with its own sensate being—see Michael Fried, Absorption and Theatricality: Painting and Beholder in the Age of Diderot (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980). 10. On this score, see Jones as quoted in “Julio César Morales Interviews Jennie C. Jones,” http://archive.ybca.org/jennie-c -jones, accessed June 27, 2015. 11. Jones’s comments here echo those famously articulated in Michele Wallace, “Modernism, Postmodernism and the Problem of the Visual in Afro-American Culture,” in Russell Ferguson et al., eds., Out There: Marginalization and Contemporary Cultures (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1990), pp. 39–50. 12. It was in 1923, for example, that Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) completed the active phase of making one of his most famous and enigmatic works, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even, also known as The Large Glass (Philadelphia Museum of Art). 13. For one critical elaboration of this geneaology, see Huey Copeland, Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), pp. 143–45. 14. The related notion of the studio as “a place of safety” derives from Anne Middleton Wagner, A House Divided: American Art since 1955 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012).

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COLOR STRUCK Hilton Als Those who suffer from melophobia, or fear of one of the more powerful of the seven arts, generally do so because of an unpleasant experience with music, such as a loud concert that produced tinnitus, or ear ringing. I have been fascinated by this unfortunate condition because it is just another example of how music makes the body something else, or fills it with something other than its own bulk, a transformation we cannot control because music takes control of the body or borrows it in ways the body understands even when we do not. Our aural perception of the world has less to do with reflection than with reacting—reacting to the tone of the story being told through voice, through scale, an aural atmosphere that changes from second to second and note to note, and as it does, so do we, and the emotional power of Jennie C. Jones’s black-and-white drawings, the gracefulness and austerity and lushness—at times—of her line that renders sound visible, and makes a show of the temporal world, actually resists language in a way I find riveting, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for reflection, no, it just means that it takes a minute, or more than a minute—a minuet?—to enter into let alone traverse the apparent Japaneselike cool of these drawings which are filled with something more than black and white. Or what they connote. The truth is, if an artist of color goes near those colors—colors that have fascinated and perplexed, freed and seduced celebrated modernists ranging from Picasso to Agnes Martin to Robert Motherwell—they become something other than “just” black-and-white drawings or paintings or whatever, but that shouldn’t be the case, and if it is, that means the artist is being reduced to a role that doesn’t include being an artist, she becomes part of a narrative of exclusion or inclusion in the primarily white art world, an unwanted role that cancels out the kind of de facto rigorous thinking that white abstractionists, for instance, get attributed to them based on their palette. Still, the problem persists, especially if you’re black and a woman who does not make representational work, that which can be read easily because it is often produced so easily, or treated as if it were. If you’re a black female creator whose real interest is in abstracting nature, personal stories, the sounds and feelings that music, for instance, inspires, art historians, critics, and the like listen less to what you’re saying than to what you’re not; they fasten

33


on your “otherness,” as a way, probably, of avoiding all those planes and lines that seduce but not through the familiar or recognizable narrative of subjugation, or what is recognized as such. Jones’s work has nothing to do with liberalism or becoming part of the white world that wants to understand blackness. Instead, she is concerned with the marriage of intellection and distance, feeling and refusal, and to those who don’t pay attention to what the work demands—your engagement—or those who use old eyes steeped in liberal guilt rather than eyes willing to see form, I would like to hand over a copy of Goethe’s 1810 epic, Theory of Colors, which was inspired by Isaac Newton’s Opticks of 1704 and which itself inspired Wittgenstein’s “Remarks on Color.” Newton talked about color in psychological terms, but Goethe wasn’t having any of that, oh, no; he says, let’s begin with an actual physical investigation into color, how the eye perceives it, and so Goethe put white or colorless light through a prism and then he said that even white light had component colors, so, in short, there was no such thing as whiteness. Goethe said: “It did not take long before I knew here was something significant about color to be brought forth.” Wittgenstein wrote, in his response to Goethe, sometime in 1950—he died the following year—that Goethe’s book was “really not a theory at all. Nothing can be predicted by means of it. It is, rather, a vague schematic outline, the sort we find in [William] James’s psychology.” In short, Wittgenstein was less interested in “feeling” when it came to color than the question of color and its phenomenology. Wittgenstein wondered, “Why can’t there be a transparent white?” And: “Is white always the lightest color?”—questions that ask, ultimately, what it is we mean when we talk about color. Looking at the background of Jones’s drawings—the white wall against which the lines of her black scores leap or bunch up or flatline—one’s own perceptions and questions about the work, the lines, the background, can’t help but take on a certain Wittgensteinian cast, too: we are all philosophical structures built around eyes and bodies and speech. In a recent essay, “Some Notes on Song: The Rhythms of Listening,” John Berger wrote: “In every song there is distance. The song is not distant, but distance is one of its ingredients, just as presence is an ingredient of any graphic image. This has been true from the beginning of songs and the beginning of images.” Do we feel distance or presence in Jennie C. Jones’s drawings of songs? I think both. Are the blacks Jones uses black because she’s an artist of color, and is that color’s significance visual or political or both? Is the white background of the drawings the white world that appropriates black sounds, black songs, black voices? (African American popular music is American music, never more so than when it’s being ripped off by white artists like Elvis Presley, who popularize it by making it something else—less groovy, for sure, or less deep than the grooves seen in Jones’s drawings.) But when we limit the blacks and white in Jones’s drawings to race, intentionally or unintentionally, are we not working contra Wittgenstein and the freedom to be had in looking? Interpretation is and should be a free and freeing thing. When I look at Jones’s drawings I see what she wants me to see, which is to say those shellacked-looking record grooves, and the history of record production in this country and stereophonic sound, which creates the illusion of

34


directionality and audible perspective through speakers; then there is the science of bodies meeting the science of sound, that black spinning wheel that made our bodies behave differently when Dionne sang or Miles played or Fats messed around, but, even as I listen to all of this, and look at all of this, I see Jones’s concerns about the permanence and impermanence of black sounds, black culture—Jones’s drawings are about time, too; the time it took to listen, to draw, to look, and for the experience to recede into other experiences that might or might not be as full—I see other histories, specifically those written when blackness had yet to be equated with evil or assigned the role of evil and whiteness with goodness. James Baldwin has said that Christianity has more than something to do with this—the assigning of “right” to white bodies, or conquerors, and “wrong” to those enslaved bodies vomiting in ships’ holds, or being tossed into the sea, when there was no economic value to be had from those limbs, or those faces (there was never a mind involved in the equation, or a heart). It was up to all those enlightened Christian-minded whites to tell blacks how and why they must despise themselves, and aspire to be washed clean—made white—by the Lord. Still, these readings are about America, and an America that continues to feed on its own romance with its own pain, and I refuse to let my mind, when I look at a drawing by Jones, to stay there, her drawings open my mind, and I see black has been beautiful and its own color for centuries and in other cultures not our own, sometimes Japanese noble people blackened their teeth to show their status, and sometimes they shaved off their eyebrows and smudged their foreheads with ash because that was more beautiful to them than what nature intended, a meeting of body and line, which brings us back to Jennie C. Jones’s lines, which often look the way one’s body heat looks, straight or squiggly lines evocative of being and time, that which counts our being, heartbeat by heartbeat. I think Marianne Moore got blackness as a color right, and as a symbol, for sure, when she wrote, in 1918’s “Black Earth”: “Black / but beautiful, my back / is full of the history of power. Of power? What / is powerful and what is not? My soul shall never / be cut into / by a wooden spear; through- / out childhood to the present time, the unity of / life and death has been expressed by the circumference / described by my / trunk; nevertheless, I / perceive feats of strength to be inexplicable after / all.” By drawing as she does and painting as she does and exploring as she does, Jones understands something of the “unity of life and death”—and that, while blackness may be the color of grief, it is also the color of freedom—a neutral and not neutral shade that becomes larger still against that white background which in other cultures, and other worlds other than our own, is the color of grief, too, and of sadness. By doing all this, the artist takes us for a walk down her black road hedged in on either side by all sorts of philosophical joys and possibilities, including feats of strength performed by her ancestors and by herself, all those dancing and moving bodies, not only in memory but always in truth, especially as the artist conveys what she knows down to the bone: how strength, which is what the drawing hand requires, is a function of the inexplicable, after all.

35


PLATES


Early Blues, 2004–5. Collage and ink on paper (set of 8); each 9 x 6 in. (22.9 x 15.2 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 38


Blue Moments, 2015. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 40


Blue Turning Gray over You (for Fats Waller), 2015. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 48 in. (121.9 x 121.9 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York following spread, left: Bastard Blues, 2015. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 38 in. (121.9 x 96.5 cm). Collection of the artist following spread, right: Blue Serge, 2015. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 42


Blues in C Sharp Minor (for Teddy Wilson), 2015. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 48 in. (121.9 x 121.9 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 46


Center, Dark, Tone, 2013. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm). Collection of Charles W. Banta, Buffalo, N.Y. 48


Dark Tone with Hidden Reverberation (two views), 2013. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 51


Listening Positions at the Hirshhorn, 2012. Graphite and collage on paper (four from a set of 6); each 24 x 18 in. (61 x 45.7 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 52


Directions: Jennie C. Jones—Higher Resonance (installation shot with Stanley Dillard seated in gallery), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 2013 54

left wall: Score for Six Measures with Subtone, 2013 (see pp. 66–67) back wall: Light Gray with Middle C (variation #1), 2013 (see p. 57)


right wall: Light Gray with Bright Note #1 & 2, 2013. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas (diptych); each 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm). The Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida Collection, San Francisco Soft Gray Tone with Reverberation (1–4), 2013 (see pp. 63–65) 55


Light Gray with Middle C (variation #1), 2013. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm). Collection of Jorge Basadre, Lima, Peru following spread: Dark Gray with 1/2 Measure (two views), 2013. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 56


Soft Gray with Middle Tone, 2013. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm). Collection of Louise Jamail, Houston 60


Soft Gray Tone with Reverberation (1), 2013. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 38ž in. (121.9 x 98.4 cm). following spread, left: Soft Gray Tone with Reverberation (2), 2013. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm). following spread, right: Soft Gray Tone with Reverberation (3), 2013. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm). All courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 62


Score for Six Measures with Subtone, 2013. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas (6 parts); overall 24 x 248 in. (61 x 630 cm). Collection of the artist 66


Bold, Double, Bar Line (variation #1), 2013. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm). Collection of Noel Kirnon, New York 68


Dark Gray Tone with Reverberation #1, 2013. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 x cm). Courtesy the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 70


Dark Gray Tone with Reverberation #2, 2013. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm). Private collection, Upper Saddle River, N.J. 72


Bass Traps with False Tones #1 & 2, 2013. Refurbished acoustic bass absorber (wood, fiberglass, mineral wool filling, fabric) and acrylic paint (2 parts); each 36 x 24 x 12 in. (91.4 x 61 x 30.5 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 74


Sustained Gray Measure with Bar Line, 2013. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas (2 parts); 24 x 24 in. (61 x 61 cm), 12 x 24 in. (30.5 x 61 cm). Collection of Deborah Ronnen, New York opposite: Sustained Black with Broken Time and Undertone, 2011. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas (2 parts); 24 x 24 in. (61 x 61 cm), 12 x 48 in. (30.5 x 121.9 cm). The Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida Collection, San Francisco 77


Sony Walkman, 2008. Collage, ink, and acrylic paint on paper (two from a set of 6); each 11 7/8 x 9 in. (30.2 x 22.9 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 78


26 LPs 1960–69: Far Cry, Color Changes, The Modern Sound, Explorations, Straight Ahead, Further Definitions, Free Fall, Abstract, Artistry, Awakening, Stratus Seekers, The Cry, Movement, Black Fire, Breaking Point, Inner Urge, Ascension, Maiden Voyage, The All Seeing Eye, Unit Structures, Symphony for Improvisers, Sunshine of My Soul (yellow paper), Intents and Purposes, Interstellar Space, Jewels of Thought, and To Hear Is to See!, 2010. 26 CD jewel cases, paper, and Plexiglas storage box; 8½ x 10½ x 6 in. (21.6 x 26.7 x 15.2 cm). Collection of the artist 80


Grey Score (for Agnes), 2012. Collage and silkscreen ink on paper (four from a set of 6); each 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm). Collection of the artist following spread, left: Grey Score (for Agnes), 2012 (two from a set of 6) 82


Grey Score (for Agnes), 2012. Collage and silkscreen ink on paper (two from a set of 6); each 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm). Collection of the artist 84


Blanks, 2010. Collage and ink on paper (one from a set of 3); 15 x 10 in. (38.1 x 25.4 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 85


8 Track, 2007. Collage and ink on paper; 15 x 9 in. (38.1 x 22.9). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 86


Listen/Record Red, 2007. Collage and ink on paper; 15 x 9 in. (38.1 x 22.9 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 87


Score in Eight Measures (for Melba Liston), 2014. Mixed-media collage on paper (set of 8); each 22 3/8 x 14½ in. (56.8 x 36.8 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 88


Score in Eight Measures (for Melba Liston), 2014. Mixed-media collage on paper (one from a set of 8); each 22 3/8 x 14½ in. (56.8 x 36.8 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 90


Black Tone, Red Bar, 2014. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 37 in. (121.9 x 94 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York following spread, left: Deep Gradient, Left Resonance, 2014. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York following spread, right: Deep Tone with Double Bar Line, 2014. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 48 in. (121.9 x 121.9 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 92


Vertical into Decrescendo (dark), 2014. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas (2 parts); overall 98Âź x 36 in. (249.6 x 91.4 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 96


Two Attaining, 2014. Collage and acrylic paint on paper; 22 3/8 x 14½ in. (56.8 x 36.8 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 98


Last Concert, 2010. Vintage Bakelite cassette rack, cassette tapes, and paper; 16 x 20 x 4 in. (40.6 x 50.8 x 10.2 cm). Private collection, Houston 99


Quiet Gray with Black Subtone #1 & 2, 2014. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas (2 parts); overall 48 x 54 1/8 in. (121.9 x 137.5 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 100


Quiet Gray with 3/4 Red Reverberation, 2014. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm). Collection of Arthur Lewis, New York 102


Quiet Gray with Red Reverberation #2, 2014. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 38 in. (121.9 x 96.5 cm). Collection of Denise and Gary Gardner, Chicago 104


Solo, Vertical, into Crescendo (light), 2013. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm). Private collection, New York 106


TONE (installation view), Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, 2014 above, left: three works from SHHH series, 2014 above, right: Vertical into Crescendo (light), 2014 opposite: Vertical into Crescendo (light), 2014. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas (two parts); overall 98Âź x 36 in. (249.6 x 91.4 cm). Collection of Diana and Moises Berezdivin, San Juan, Puerto Rico 109


SHHH, The Red Series #1, 2014. Noise-canceling instrument cable, cable ties, and endpin jacks; 48½ x 1 x 1 1/8 in. (123.2 x 2.5 x 2.9 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York following spread, left: SHHH, The Red Series #2, 2014. Noise-canceling instrument cable, cable ties, and endpin jacks; 44 x 9 x 4¾ in. (111.8 x 22.9 x 12.1 cm). Collection of Arthur Lewis, New York following spread, right: SHHH, The Red Series #3, 2014. Noise-canceling instrument cable, cable ties, and endpin jacks; 39 x 8 x 6¼ in. (99.1 x 20.3 x 15.9 cm). Private collection, Hong Kong 110


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112


113


Score for Sustained Blackness Set 2, 2014. Acrylic paint, collage, and Noligraph 5-line staff pen on paper (four from a set of 10); each 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York following spread: Score for Sustained Blackness Set 2, 2014 (four from a set of 10) 114


Score for Sustained Blackness Set 2, 2014. Acrylic paint, collage, and Noligraph 5-line staff pen on paper (four from a set of 10); each 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 116


Solid State, 2005. Collage and ink on paper (five from a set of 8); each 15 x 10 in. (38.1 x 25.4 cm). Collection of the artist 118


Sony Walkman Auto Reverse Green, 2008. Collage, ink, and acrylic paint on paper (five from a set of 12); each 15 x 10 in. (38.1 x 25.4 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 120


Speak, 2004. Ink on paper (four from a set of 6); each 12 x 9½ in. (30.5 x 24.1 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 122


Diffuse with Undertone A & B, 2011. Acoustic diffusers mounted on linen and acrylic paint (2 parts); each 12 x 12 x 6 in. (30.5 x 30.5 x 15.2 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 124


Duchamp’s Inner Ear, 2014–15. Altered 1923 Victrola part and acrylic paint; 13 x 17 x 16 in. (33 x 43.2 x 40.6 cm). Collection of the artist 126


Song Containers, 2011. Hand-brushed aluminum (4 parts); dimensions variable. Edition of 10. Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 128


12 from ’74: Timeless, Conspiracy, Silent Tongues, Only Chrome Waterfall (silver), Scraps, Apocalypse, Solstice, Whenever I Seem to Be Far Away, Ecstasy, Pieces of Light, Expansions, and Children of the Fire, 2010. 12 CD jewel cases, paper, and Plexiglas storage box; 6 x 7½ x 5½ in. (15.2 x 19.1 x 14 cm). Collection of the artist 130


Spider Trio (for Louise), 2008. Wire and felt; 9 x 6 x 6 in. (22.9 x 15.2 x 15.2 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 132


The Gentle Influence of the Bourgeoisie (Trombone Improvisation), 2010. Plastic CD rack (inverted), felt, acrylic paint, and double-CD jewel case; 7 x 16 x 5 in. (17.8 x 40.6 x 12.7 cm). Collection of the artist 133


SHHH Fragments A & B, 2012. Noise-canceling instrument cable, wire, and felt; dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York opposite: SHHH #14, 2013. Noise-canceling instrument cable, wire, and felt; dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 134


From the Clusterfuck Bianca Series, 2013. Earbuds, twist ties, and latex paint; 13ž x 2 x 2 in. (34.9 x 5.1 x 5.1 cm), variable. Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York opposite: Silent Clusterfuck (bianca), 2013. Earbuds and acrylic paint; 25 x 3 x 2 in. (63.5 x 7.6 x 5.1 cm), variable. Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York 136


WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION

Bass Traps with False Tones #1 & 2, 2013

Dark Gray Tone with Reverberation #1, 2013

Refurbished acoustic bass absorber (wood, fiberglass,

Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas;

mineral wool filling, fabric) and acrylic paint (2 parts);

48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 x cm)

each 36 x 24 x 12 in. (91.4 x 61 x 30.5 cm).

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York Dark Gray Tone with Reverberation #2, 2013 Bastard Blues, 2015

Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas;

Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas;

48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm)

48 x 38 in. (121.9 x 96.5 cm)

Private collection, Upper Saddle River, N.J.

Collection of the artist Dark Tone with Hidden Reverberation, 2013 Black Tone, Red Bar, 2014

Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas;

Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas;

48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm)

48 x 37 in. (121.9 x 94 cm)

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York Deep Gradient, Left Resonance, 2014 Blue Moments, 2015

Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas;

Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas;

48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm)

48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm)

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York Deep Tone with Double Bar Line, 2014 Blues in C Sharp Minor (for Teddy Wilson), 2015

Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas;

Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas;

48 x 48 in. (121.9 x 121.9 cm)

48 x 48 in. (121.9 x 121.9 cm)

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York Diffuse with Undertone A & B, 2011 Bold, Double, Bar Line (variation #1), 2013

Acoustic diffusers mounted on linen and acrylic paint

Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas;

(2 parts); each 12 x 12 x 6 in. (30.5 x 30.5 x 15.2 cm)

48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm)

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

Collection of Noel Kirnon, New York Duchamp’s Inner Ear, 2014–15 Cassette Mixing—Long Playing Uncut, 2008

Altered 1923 Victrola part and acrylic paint; 13 x 17 x 16 in.

Digital audio collage; 1:46 minutes

(33 x 43.2 x 40.6 cm)

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

Collection of the artist

Center, Dark, Tone, 2013

Early Blues, 2004–5

Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas;

Collage and ink on paper (set of 8); each 9 x 6 in.

48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm)

(22.9 x 15.2 cm)

Collection of Charles W. Banta, Buffalo, N.Y.

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

139


8 Track, 2007

Midnight Blues, 2015 [not illustrated in catalogue]

Collage and ink on paper; 15 x 9 in. (38.1 x 22.9)

Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas;

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm) Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

From the Low—Rest, Second Movement, 2011 Digital audio collage; 1:32 minutes

Quiet Gray with Black Subtone #1 & 2, 2014

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas (2 parts); overall 48 x 54 1/8 in. (121.9 x 137.5 cm)

From the Low to Higher Resonance, 2013–15

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

Digital audio collage; 6:39 minutes Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

Quiet Gray with Red Reverberation #2, 2014 Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas;

The Gentle Influence of the Bourgeoisie (Trombone

48 x 38 in. (121.9 x 96.5 cm)

Improvisation), 2010

Collection of Denise and Gary Gardner, Chicago

Plastic CD rack (inverted), felt, acrylic paint, and double-CD jewel case; 7 x 16 x 5 in. (17.8 x 40.6 x 12.7 cm)

Quiet Gray with 3/4 Red Reverberation, 2014

Collection of the artist

Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas; 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm)

Grey Score (for Agnes), 2012

Collection of Arthur Lewis, New York

Collage and silkscreen ink on paper (set of 6); each 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm)

Score for Six Measures with Subtone, 2013

Collection of the artist

Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas (6 parts); overall 24 x 248 in. (61 x 630 cm)

Harmonic Distortion, 2012

Collection of the artist

Digital audio collage; 2:04 minutes Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

Score for Sustained Blackness Set 2, 2014 Acrylic paint, collage, and Noligraph 5-line staff pen on paper

Last Concert, 2010

(set of 10); each 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm)

Vintage Bakelite cassette rack, cassette tapes, and paper;

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

16 x 20 x 4 in. (40.6 x 50.8 x 10.2 cm) Private collection, Houston

Score in Eight Measures (for Melba Liston), 2014 Mixed-media collage on paper (set of 8); each 22 3/8 x 14½ in.

Light Gray with Bright Note #1 & 2, 2013

(56.8 x 36.8 cm)

Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

(diptych); each 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm) The Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida Collection,

SHHH, The Red Series #1, 2014

San Francisco

Noise-canceling instrument cable, cable ties, and endpin jacks; 48½ x 1 x 1 1/8 in. (123.2 x 2.5 x 2.9 cm)

Listen/Record Red, 2007

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

Collage and ink on paper; 15 x 9 in. (38.1 x 22.9 cm) Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

SHHH, The Red Series #2, 2014 Noise-canceling instrument cable, cable ties, and endpin

Listening Positions at the Hirshhorn, 2012

jacks; 44 x 9 x 4¾ in. (111.8 x 22.9 x 12.1 cm)

Graphite and collage on paper (set of 6); each 24 x 18 in.

Collection of Arthur Lewis, New York

(61 x 45.7 cm) Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

SHHH, The Red Series #3, 2014 Noise-canceling instrument cable, cable ties, and endpin jacks; 39 x 8 x 6¼ in. (99.1 x 20.3 x 15.9 cm) Private collection, Hong Kong

140


Slow Birds, 2004

Sustained Gray Measure with Bar Line, 2013

Digital audio collage; 1:19 minutes

Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

(2 parts); 24 x 24 in. (61 x 61 cm), 12 x 24 in. (30.5 x 61 cm) Collection of Deborah Ronnen, New York

Slowly, In a Silent Way—Caged, 2010 Digitally extended audio clip; 4:33 minutes

Tone: For Melba Liston, 2014

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

Digital audio collage; 2:25 minutes Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

Solid State, 2005 Collage and ink on paper (set of 8); each 15 x 10 in.

12 from ’74: Timeless, Conspiracy, Silent Tongues, Only

(38.1 x 25.4 cm)

Chrome Waterfall (silver), Scraps, Apocalypse, Solstice,

Collection of the artist

Whenever I Seem to Be Far Away, Ecstasy, Pieces of Light, Expansions, and Children of the Fire, 2010

Solo, Vertical, into Crescendo (light), 2013

12 CD jewel cases, paper, and Plexiglas storage box;

Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas;

6 x 7½ x 5½ in. (15.2 x 19.1 x 14 cm)

48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm)

Collection of the artist

Private collection, New York 26 LPs 1960–69: Far Cry, Color Changes, The Modern Sound, Song Containers, 2011

Explorations, Straight Ahead, Further Definitions, Free Fall,

Hand-brushed aluminum (4 parts); dimensions variable

Abstract, Artistry, Awakening, Stratus Seekers, The Cry,

Edition of 10

Movement, Black Fire, Breaking Point, Inner Urge, Ascension,

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

Maiden Voyage, The All Seeing Eye, Unit Structures, Symphony for Improvisers, Sunshine of My Soul (yellow paper), Intents

Sony Walkman, 2008

and Purposes, Interstellar Space, Jewels of Thought, and To

Collage, ink, and acrylic paint on paper (set of 6);

Hear Is to See!, 2010

each 11 / x 9 in. (30.2 x 22.9 cm)

26 CD jewel cases, paper, and Plexiglas storage box;

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

8½ x 10½ x 6 in. (21.6 x 26.7 x 15.2 cm)

7 8

Collection of the artist Sony Walkman Auto Reverse Green, 2008 Collage, ink, and acrylic paint on paper (set of 12);

Two Attaining, 2014

each 15 x 10 in. (38.1 x 25.4 cm)

Collage and acrylic paint on paper; 22 3/8 x 14½ in.

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

(56.8 x 36.8 cm) Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

Speak, 2004 Ink on paper (set of 6); each 12 x 9½ in. (30.5 x 24.1 cm)

Variant Static, 2008

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

Audio collage (files transferred from 78-rpm to compact disc to MP3); 1:04 minutes

Spider Trio (for Louise), 2008

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

Wire and felt; 9 x 6 x 6 in. (22.9 x 15.2 x 15.2 cm) Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

Vertical into Decrescendo (dark), 2014 Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas

Sustained Black with Broken Time and Undertone, 2011

(2 parts); overall 98¼ x 36 in. (249.6 x 91.4 cm)

Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

(2 parts); 24 x 24 in. (61 x 61 cm), 12 x 48 in. (30.5 x 121.9 cm) The Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida Collection,

What a Little Moonlight, 2007

San Francisco

Digital audio collage; 1:11 minutes Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

141


CHRONOLOGY

Jennie C. Jones

2009

Born 1968, Cincinnati, Ohio

RED, BIRD, BLUE, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center,

Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York

June 26–September 6, 2009 The Walkman Compositions, Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, N.Y.,

EDUCATION Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts,

January 17–February 22, 2009

Master of Fine Arts, 1996

2007

Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, 1996

June 30, 2007

Jones: Recomposing, Arratia Beer, Berlin, May 25–

School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Bachelor of Fine Arts with Fellowship, 1991

2006 Simply Because You’re near Me, Artists Space, New York,

SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2014

January 12–February 18, 2006

2003

TONE, Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, March 6–

Jennie Jones: New Work, Triple Candie, New York,

April 5, 2014

May 4–25, 2003

2013

2000

Directions: Jennie C. Jones—Higher Resonance, Hirshhorn

Jennie C. Jones (Harlem/Haarlem), Kunstcentrum Begane

Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution,

Grond, Utrecht, June–July 2000

Washington, D.C., May 16–October 27, 2013

1994 2012 Harmonic Distortion, Arratia Beer, Berlin, June 22–

Family Album Stories and Other Works, Sushi Performance and Visual Art, San Diego, May–June 1994

July 21, 2012

1991 2011 Absorb/Diffuse, The Kitchen, New York, September 18–

Hot Comb (site-specific installation), A New Look Salon, Chicago, November–December 1991

October 20, 2011 Lawrimore Project, Seattle, July 7–30, 2011

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

Counterpoint, Yerba Beuna Center for the Arts, San Francisco,

2015

January 29–March 27, 2011

The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, July 11–

2010

November 22, 2015; travels to Institute of Contemporary Art,

Electric, Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, July 8–

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, September 14–

August 13, 2010

December 31, 2016

Song Containers & Objects, Lawrimore Project, Seattle, February 18–March 22, 2010 143


Glenn Ligon: Encounters and Collisions, Nottingham

2011

Contemporary, April 3–June 14, 2015; traveled to Tate

Toward the Third Dimension, David Floria Gallery, Aspen,

Liverpool, June 30–October 18, 2015

Colo., August 2–September 5, 2011

Then & Now: Ten Years of Residencies at the Center for

Black Sound White Cube, Kunstquartier Bethanien / Studio 1,

Book Arts, The Center for Book Arts, New York, April 17–

Berlin, July 10–August 28, 2011

June 27, 2015 Collection in Focus, Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, Waltham, Mass., February 11–June 7, 2015

2014 Variations: Conversations in and around Abstract Painting, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, August 24, 2014– March 22, 2015

Summer Picks, Third Streaming, New York, July 7– August 31, 2011 With Hidden Noise, organized by Independent Curators International, Aspen Art Museum, June 10–July 10, 2011; traveled to MADA Gallery, Monash University, Victoria, March 20–April 16, 2013; Wave Hill, Bronx, N.Y., May 23– July 6, 2014; Katherine E. Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, May 27–July 26, 2014; Henry Art

Ruffneck Constructivists, Institute of Contemporary Art,

Gallery, Seattle, July 19–September 7, 2014; Alyce de Roulet

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, February 12–

Williamson Gallery, Pasadena, Calif., February 24–May 3,

August 17, 2014

2015; USF Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa, Fl., June 5–

Point of View: Contemporary African American Art from the Elliot and Kimberly Perry Collection, Flint Institute of Arts,

July 25, 2015

Flint, Mich., January 26–April 13, 2014

2010

Outside the Lines: Black in the Abstract, Part 2: Hard

September 22–December 4, 2010

Edges/Soft Curves, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, January 25–March 23, 2014

2013 Rehearsals: The Practice and Influence of Sound and Movement, SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Ga., April 12– September 9, 2013 Drawing Line into Form: Works on Paper by Sculptors, Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Wash., February 23–May 26, 2013

Ear to Page, The Center for Book Arts, New York,

Bite: Street Inspired Art and Fashion, Third Streaming, New York, September 8–November 24, 2010

2009 30 Seconds off an Inch, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, November 12, 2009–March 14, 2010 Tone and Temperament, AC Institute [Direct Chapel], New York, June 18–July 18, 2009 Deborah Grant: Bacon, Egg, Toast in Lard (audio collaboration),

2012

University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific

New Prints 2012/Autumn, International Print Center New York

Film Archive, June 8–October 11, 2009

(IPCNY), October 20–November 17, 2012; traveled to Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas at Austin, February 1– March 9, 2013 Coquilles Mécaniques, Centre Rhénan d’Art Contemporain

Elsewhere, Saltworks Gallery, Atlanta, April 25–June 20, 2009 State of the Art: New York, Urbis, Manchester, England, April 9–September 1, 2009

(CRAC) Alsace, Altkirch, France, October 7, 2012–

This-Has-Been, On Stellar Rays, New York, February 17–

January 13, 2013

March 22, 2009

Silence, The Menil Collection, Houston, July 27–October 21, 2012; traveled to University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, January 30–April 21, 2013 The Lower East Side Printshop, New York, May 10– June 15, 2012 Shift: Project | Perspectives | Directions, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, March 29–May 27, 2012 144

2008 (dis)concert, Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles, July 12–August 16, 2008 Same Old/Same New, Monya Rowe Gallery, New York, January 17–February 16, 2008


2007

Freestyle, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, April 24–

Black Light/White Noise: Sound and Light in Contemporary

June 24, 2001; traveled to Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa

Art, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, May 26–

Monica, Calif., September 29–November 18, 2001

August 5, 2007

2000 2006

OK! Survey (performance), Meat Market Art Fair, New York,

Artists in Transit, ArtSpace, Auckland, May 19–June 24, 2006

November 4, 2000

25 Bold Moves, House of Campari, New York, May 5–

Snapshot: An Exhibition of 1000 Artists, Contemporary

May 21, 2006

Museum, Baltimore, November 2, 2000–January 14, 2001;

pa.per.ing, Deutsche Bank Lobby Gallery (in collaboration with Art In General), New York, April 18–August 5, 2006

2005 Found Sound, District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC), Washington, D.C. (a public art project for the City of

traveled to Arcadia University Art Gallery, Glenside, Pa., February 15–March 25, 2001; The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Ct., January 20–May 1, 2002 Yard Sale: Sixty Contemporary Artists Take Over a Chelsea School Yard (a project for Downtown Art Festival), NYC Lab School, New York, September 9, 2000

Washington, D.C.), October 14–November 5, 2005 Harlem Postcards, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, April 27–July 3, 2005 Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art since 1970, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, January 22– April 17, 2005

1999 New York, New York: Big City of Dreams, OpenSpace, Milan, November 3–December 5, 1999 In-visible: Narratives and Abstractions, Galeria Arsenał, Białystok, Poland, September 10–October 17, 1999 Pavement, Martinez Gallery, New York, July–August 1999

2004

Viewing, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Artist Residency,

Low Life, Kustera-Tilton Gallery, New York, September 18–

New York, April–May 1999

October 24, 2004 Sunrise/Sunset, Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, N.Y., June 5–

1997

June 29, 2004

Generations: A.I.R. 25th Anniversary Exhibition, A.I.R. Gallery,

Anthology of Art (online project, publication, and exhibition), Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, April–August 2004

New York, October 21–November 15, 1997 Working in Brooklyn: Current Undercurrents, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, N.Y., July 25, 1997–January 25, 1998

2003

Don’t Try This at Home: Performance Videos by Mike Smith,

Drawing, G Fine Art, Washington, D.C., May 20–June 29, 2003

William Wegman, Guy Richards Smit, and Jennie C. Jones

AV—audiovisual, Triple Candie, New York, May 4–27, 2003

(screening), Knitting Factory Video Lounge, New York,

2002

June 12, 1997

Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, November 4–31, 2002

1996

Americas Remixed: Mostra d’arte contemporanea, Fabbrica

of the Arts, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., May–

del Vapore, Milan, September 24–October 27, 2002 Bounce: An Evening of New Media Art and Music, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, N.Y., March 15, 2002

2001 The Brewster Project (site-specific installation), Brewster, N.Y., July 27–29, 2001

She Stands, Mason Gross Galleries, Mason Gross School June 1996 Art Star—1996 MFA Group Exhibition, Hit & Run Space, New York, March–April 1996

1995 Expo Arte ’95, Ambrosino Gallery, Guadalajara, Mexico, May 31–June 7, 1995 145


Clean Sweep (collaborative installation with Gary Moore and Karen Rifas), Gutierrez Gallery, Miami Beach, May–June 1995

1994

Liguria Study Center for the Arts Fellow, Genoa, 2004 Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, 2002–3 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council World Trade Center

Artist Choose Artist, San Diego Art Walk 1994 (sponsored by

Residency, New York, 1999

the Arts Downtown Council), San Diego, April–May 1994

OMI International Residency, Ghent, N.Y., 1998

Vital Expressions: African American Artists in San Diego, African American Museum of Fine Art, San Diego, February– March 1994 Self/Others, New Portraits, David Zapf Gallery, San Diego, January–February 1994

AWARDS Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, 2013 Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, 2012 William H. Johnson Prize, 2008

1993 Burning/Words (installation of essays by twelve artists

Creative Capital Grant, 2008

and art professionals), Sushi Performance and Visual Art,

New York Community Trust, Pennies from Heaven Grant, 2007

San Diego, October 1993

Rema Hort Mann Foundation, Emerging Artist Grant, 2006

1993 Los Angeles Juried Exhibition, William Grant Still Arts

Pollock-Krasner Grant, 2000

Center, Los Angeles, July–August 1993

Wheeler Foundation Award, 1999

1992 Joint Exhibition of Furniture and Art, Veni, Vidi, Vici Gallery, San Diego, August 1992

VISITING ARTIST FACULTY Yale University, Visiting Critic, Spring 2016 (forthcoming)

1991

Brandeis University, The Rose Museum of Art, Waltham,

Revelations: Artists Look at Religion, School of the Art

Mass., Collection in Focus, 2015

Institute of Chicago, September–October 1991

Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan,

Roots of Inner Space, South Shore Cultural Center, Chicago,

Me., Resident Faculty, 2014

March–April 1991

Montclair State University, Montclair, N.J., Visiting Artist MFA Faculty, Fall 2012–13

1989 A Part of the Whole, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, November 2–30, 1989

COLLECTIONS BNY Mellon, Pittsburgh, Pa.

RESIDENCIES AND FELLOWSHIPS

Deutsche Bank Collection, New York

Rauschenberg Residency, Captiva, Fl., 2014

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian

Lower East Side Printshop, New York, Special Editions

Institution, Washington, D.C.

Resident, 2011

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The Center for Book Arts New York, Artist in Residence, 2010

The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study Center, Bellagio, Italy,

The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York

2008 American Academy in Rome, Visiting Artist, 2008 Smack Mellon Studio Program Resident, Brooklyn, N.Y., 2008

146

Weil, Gotshal & Manges, New York Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

BOOKS, EXHIBITION CATALOGUES, AND BROCHURES Arning, Bill, Valerie Cassel Oliver, and Dean Daderko. Outside the Lines. Houston: Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2014. Arratia, Euridice, Jen Budney, and Franklin Sirmans. Americas Remixed: Aacdeeei Immrrsx. Cinisello Balsamo, Italy: Silvana, 2002. Beckwith, Naomi. 30 Seconds off an Inch. New York: The Studio Museum in Harlem, 2009. Beckwith, Naomi, and Dieter Roelstraete. The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. Cassel Oliver, Valerie. Black Light/White Noise: Sound and Light in Contemporary Art. Houston: Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2007. ———, ed. Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art since

Kocache, Moukhtar, and Erin Shirreff, eds. Site Matters: The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s World Trade Center Artists Residency, 1997–2001. New York: Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, 2004. Lerner, Adam. Snapshots: An Exhibition of 1000 Artists. Baltimore: Contemporary Museum, 2000. Lesage, Dieter, and Ina Wudtke. Black Sound White Cube. Vienna, Austria: Löcker, 2010. Lew, Christopher Y., ed. Clifford Owens: Anthology. Long Island City, N.Y.: MoMA PS1, 2012. Ligon, Glenn, Alex Farquharson, and Francesco Manacorda, eds. Glenn Ligon: Encounters and Collisions. Nottingham: Nottingham Contemporary; London: Tate, 2015. Lott, Jessica, and Samir S. Patel, eds. The Bearden Project. New York: The Studio Museum in Harlem, 2012. Perry, Elliot, Jacqueline Francis, and Erica Moiah James.

1970. Houston: Contemporary Arts Museum Houston,

Point of View: African American Art from the Elliot and

2005.

Kimberly Perry Collection. Detroit: Charles H. Wright

Citron, Charles, and Wojciech Łazarczyk. In-visible. Białystok, Poland: Galeria Arsenał, 1999. Golden, Thelma, Christine Y. Kim, Hamza Walker, and Franklin Sirmans. Freestyle. New York: The Studio Museum in Harlem, 2001. Hankins, Evelyn. Directions: Jennie C. Jones—Higher Resonance (exh. brochure). Washington, D.C.: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, 2013. Haynes, Lauren, Naima J. Keith, and Thomas J. Lax. Shift: Project | Perspectives | Directions (exh. brochure). New York: The Studio Museum in Harlem, 2012. Hoff, James, and Alan Licht. Ear to the Page. New York: The Center for Book Arts, 2010.

Museum of African American History; Flint, Mich.: Flint Institute of Arts, 2014. Smit, Guy Richards, Sander Hicks, David Greenberg, and Jennie C. Jones. Survival Is Also a Way Out: DEK Guide to Empty Catalogue. Berkeley, Calif.: Soft Skull Press, 1995. 25 Bold Moves. Venice Beach, Calif.: House of Campari, 2006. Vital Expressions: African American Artists in San Diego. San Diego: African American Museum of Fine Art, 1994. Waddell, Roberta. Editions ’12. New York: Lower East Side Printshop, 2012. Walker, Kara, and Craig L. Wilkins. Ruffneck Constructivists. Philadelphia: Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania; Brooklyn, N.Y.: Dancing Foxes Press, 2014.

Horodner, Stuart. The Art Life: On Creativity and Career. Atlanta: Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, 2012. Hushka, Rock. Drawing Line into Form: Works on Paper by Sculptors—From the Collection of BNY Mellon. Tacoma, Wash.: Tacoma Art Museum, 2012. Kamps, Toby, and Steve Seid. Silence. Houston: Menil Foundation; Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2012.

PRINT AND ONLINE PERIODICALS “Artscape Spotlight: Jennie C. Jones.” San Diego Home/ Garden Lifestyles, May 1994, p. 146. Asfour, Nana. “Jennie C. Jones, ‘Electric’.” Time Out New York, August 5–11, 2010, p. 37. Bourland, Ian. “Jennie C. Jones.” Artforum, October 2013, p. 301.

147


Coates, Jennifer. “Jennie C. Jones and Joe Winter: Review ‘Absorb/Diffuse’ at The Kitchen.” Art in America, June 2012, p. 98. Cotter, Holland. “Art in Review: Jennie C. Jones.” New York Times, February 10, 2006. ———. “A Full Studio Museum Show Starts with 28 Young Artists and a Shoehorn.” New York Times, May 11, 2001. Frank, Priscilla. “HuffPost Art Interviews Jennie C. Jones.” The Huffington Post, January 21, 2012, http://www

A Conversation with Jennie C. Jones.” db artmag, no. 39, November–December 2006, pp. 14–17. Landres, Sophie. “Jennie C. Jones: ‘Electric.’” Brooklyn Rail, September 2010, p. 63. Lewis, George E. “Jennie C. Jones: Higher Resonance.” Artforum, May 2013. Moss, Ceci. “On Site: Jennie C Jones: Absorb/Diffuse.” The Wire, November 2011, p. 81.

.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/18/jennie-c-jones_n

“The New Masters.” Vibe, May 2001, pp. 138–43.

_1214474.html.

O’Sullivan, Michael. “Art Review: ‘Directions: Jennie C. Jones:

Fullerton, Elizabeth. “Playing a Different Tune.” ARTnews, April 2014, pp. 82–89. Johnson, Ken. “Jennie C. Jones: ‘Electric’.” New York Times, July 30, 2010. Jones, Jennie C. “Artist Statement.” Callaloo 37, no. 4 (2014), pp. 899–902. Katz, Jamie. “How Do You Make a Painting out of Sounds?” Smithsonian, May 2013, pp. 84ff. Kendrick, Neil. “Review: Family Album Stories.” ArtWeek, June 1994, p. 17. Koerner von Gustorf, Oliver, “Baseball, Jazz, and the Anticipation of Happiness: pa.per.ing in the Lobby Gallery at Deutsche Bank New York.” db artmag, no. 38, October– November 2006, p. 19. ———. “Watchlist.” Monopol, August–September 2006, p. 71.

148

———. “You Make Me Feel like 100 Billie Holiday Songs:

Higher Resonance.’” Washington Post, May 31, 2013. Sheets, Hillarie M. “Black Abstraction: Not a Contradiction.” ARTnews, June 2014, pp. 62–71. Sigler, Jeremy. “Emerging Artists: 19 to Watch in 09: Jennie C. Jones + Deborah Grant.” Modern Painters, December 2008–January 2009, p. 50. Sirmans, Franklin. “Remixing the Art World: Art in the Global Marketplace.” Flash Art, June 1997, p. 71. “Talent: All Roads Lead to Harlem.” New York, May 2001, p. 93. Vitiello, Stephen. “Jennie C. Jones.” BOMB, Winter 2012, pp. 84–85. Young, Allison. “With Hidden Noise.” Artforum.com, June 24, 2014, http://artforum.com/picks/id=47324.


FURTHER READING

Cooke, Lynne, Karen Kelly, and Barbara Schroder, eds. Agnes Martin. New York: Dia Art Foundation; New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2011. Doy, Gen. Materializing Art History. Oxford and New York: Berg, 1998. English, Darby. How to See a Work of Art in Total Darkness. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2007. Epley, Bradford, and Michelle White. Barnett Newman: The Late Work. Exh. cat., The Menil Collection, Houston. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2015. Gaines, Charles, ed. Theatre of Refusal: Black Art and Mainstream Criticism. Exh. cat. Irvine: Fine Arts Gallery, University of California, Irvine, 1993. Gayle, Addison, Jr. The Black Aesthetic. New York: Doubleday and Company, 1971. Godfrey, Tony. Conceptual Art. London: Phaidon, 1998. Jones, Kellie. Energy/Experimentation: Black Artists and

Moten, Fred. In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003. Rorimer, Anne. New Art in the 60s and 70s: Redefining Reality. London: Thames and Hudson, 2001. Rosenthal, Stephanie. Black Paintings. Exh. cat. Munich: Haus der Kunst, 2006. Siegel, Katy. High Times/Hard Times: New York Painting 1967–1975. Exh. cat. New York: Independent Curators International, 2006. Stallings, Tyler. Whiteness: A Wayward Construction. Exh. cat. Laguna Beach, Calif.: Laguna Art Museum, 2003. Temkin, Ann. Barnett Newman. Exh. cat. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2002. ———. Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to Today. Exh. cat. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2008. Varnedoe, Kirk. Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since

Abstraction. Exh. cat. New York: The Studio Museum in

Pollock. The A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts,

Harlem, 2006.

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Princeton and

Jones, LeRoi (Amiri Baraka). Blues People: The Negro Experience in White America. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1963. Kahn, Ashley. The House That TRANE Built: The Story of Impulse Records. London: Granta Books, 2006. Lewis, George E. A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2006. Walker, Kara. Ruffneck Constructivists. Exh. cat. Philadelphia: Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, 2014. Zabunyan, Elvan. Black Is a Color. Paris: Éditions Dis Voir, 2004. Zuckerman Jacobson, Heidi. David Hammons/Yves Klein. Exh. cat. Aspen, Colo.: Aspen Art Museum, 2014.

Marwick, Arthur. The Sixties: Cultural Revolution in Britian, France, Italy, and the United States, C. 1958–C. 1974. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

149


NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS

HILTON ALS became a staff writer at The New Yorker in 1996,

VALERIE CASSEL OLIVER is Senior Curator at the Contem-

a theater critic for the magazine in 2002, and chief theater

porary Arts Museum Houston. Prior to her tenure at CAMH,

critic in 2013. He began contributing to the magazine in

she was Director of the Visiting Artists Program at the School

1989, writing pieces for the “Talk of the Town” section. Before

of the Art Institute of Chicago and a program specialist at the

joining The New Yorker, Als was a staff writer for the Village

National Endowment for the Arts. In 2000, she was one of

Voice and an editor at large for Vibe. He has also contributed

six curators selected to organize the Whitney Biennial at the

articles to The Nation, The Believer, and The New York Review

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. At CAMH, she

of Books and collaborated on scripts for the films Swoon

has organized numerous exhibitions, including the acclaimed

(1992) and Looking for Langston (1989). His first book, The

Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art since 1970 (2005);

Women, a meditation on gender, race, and personal identity,

Black Light/White Noise: Sound and Light in Contemporary

was published in 1996 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. His most

Art (2007); Cinema Remixed and Reloaded: Black Women Art-

recent book, White Girls (McSweeney’s), discusses various

ists and the Moving Image (2009), with Dr. Andrea Barnwell

narratives around race and gender and was nominated for a

Brownlee; Hand + Made: The Performative Impulse in Art and

2013 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism. Als has

Craft and a major retrospective of Benjamin Patterson’s work

received numerous honors, including the first prize awarded

entitled Born in the State of Flux/us (both 2010); and the sur-

by the New York Association of Black Journalists for Maga-

vey Donald Moffett: The Extravagant Vein (2011). In 2012, she

zine Critique/Review and Magazine Arts/Entertainment, a

mounted the project Radical Presence: Black Performance in

Guggenheim Fellowship for General Nonfiction, a George

Contemporary Art, currently touring through 2016. Her major

Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, and the American

survey of drawings by the Houston-based and internationally

Academy’s Berlin Prize. He has taught at Wesleyan Univer-

recognized artist Trenton Doyle Hancock, entitled Trenton

sity, Wellesley College, Smith College, and the Yale School of

Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones—20 Years of Drawing, opened

Drama. He lives in New York City.

at CAMH in 2014 and is also on tour until 2016. Cassel Oliver has lectured widely and published extensively. In 2007, she received a Getty Curatorial Research Fellowship for initial research for her Benjamin Patterson exhibition and was a fellow at the Center for Curatorial Leadership in 2009. In 2011, she was awarded the prestigious David C. Driskell Prize for her scholarly excellence and contributions to the field of African American art and culture.

150


HUEY COPELAND is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at

GEORGE E. LEWIS is the Edwin H. Case Professor of American

The Graduate School as well as Associate Professor of Art

Music at Columbia University, a 2002 MacArthur Fellow, and

History and affiliated faculty in African American Studies and

a member of the Association for the Advancement of Crea-

Gender and Sexuality Studies at Northwestern University.

tive Musicians (AACM) since 1971. His 2008 book, A Power

His work focuses on modern and contemporary art from an

Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental

intersectional perspective with a particular emphasis on

Music (University of Chicago Press) received an American

articulations of blackness in the Western visual field. A regular

Book Award and the American Musicological Society’s first

contributor to Artforum and a coeditor of special issues of Nka,

Music in American Culture Award. Lewis’s work in electronic

Qui Parle, and Representations, Copeland has also published

and computer music, computer-based multimedia installa-

in Art Journal, Callaloo, Camera Obscura, Parkett, and Small

tions, and notated and improvisative forms is documented

Axe in addition to numerous international exhibition cata-

on more than 140 recordings and has been performed by the

logues, including the award-winning Modern Women: Women

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonia

Artists at the Museum of Modern Art, edited by Cornelia Butler

Orchestra, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, International

and Alexandra Schwartz (2010). He is the author of Bound to

Contemporary Ensemble, and others. Lewis is the coeditor

Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural

of the forthcoming two-volume Oxford Handbook of Critical

America (University of Chicago Press, 2013).

Improvisation Studies.

151


ARTIST’S ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Dedicated to

I am grateful to the following people for their mentorship,

Sylvia G. Jones (1934–2004) a.k.a “Mitzi”

friendship, guidance, and support:

Byron Paul Jones (1939–2008) Hilton Als I want to express a special note of gratitude to Franklin

Yona Backer

Sirmans for his friendship, dialogue, and support during

Naomi Beckwith

my early years in New York City. I also want to convey deep

Elizabeth Beer

respect and appreciation to Valerie Cassel Oliver—thank you

Scott Briscoe

for filling in the missing pieces and connecting generations.

Liz Christensen

Heartfelt thanks to Evelyn Hankins and the Hirshhorn

Drew Conrad

Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution,

Lynn Cooke

Washington, D.C. And to Thelma Golden, thank you for

Huey Copeland

who you are and what you do.

Sean Elwood Bill Goldson Alexander Gray Conrad Hamather Joyce Haupt Lauren Olivia Haynes Stuart Horodner Michael Jenkins Bennie F. Johnson and Family Byron Todd Jones Jolie Jones Nina C. Jones Tony Jones Pamela J. Joyner Toby Kamps Sophie Landers Nancy Lane Scott Lawrimore

152


Thomas Lax

“ The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but

Arthur Lewis

don’t tell you what to see.”

George E. Lewis

Alexandra K. Trenfor

Matthew Lyons Meg Malloy

I am extremely grateful to the following teachers—in order

Courtney J. Martin

of life appearance:

Miko McGinty Inc. Barbara Hunt McLanahan

Mitzi Jones

Gregory R. Miller

Jack Walthers

Donald Moffett

Cynthia Briggs

Mike Moore

Stephanie Rose Bird

Hau Nguyen

Paul A. Hinchliffe (d. 1991)

Lorraine O’Grady

Mark Pascal

Clifford Owens

Dawoud Bey

Andrew Porter

Melvin Edwards

Renaud Proch

Emma Amos

Yvonne Puffer

Martha Rosler

Christian Rattemeyer Em Rooney

Special thanks to all the kind people at the

Jason Frank Rothenberg

Contemporary Art Museum Houston.

Amy Sadao Keris Salmon Brent Sikkema The Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Staff Stephen Vitiello Kara Walker Francis H. Williams Sarah Workneh Kevin Young

153


INDEX

Titles of works in the exhibition appear

Bastard Blues (2015), 42, 44

in boldface. Page numbers in italics

Berger, John, 34

refer to illustrations.

black-and-white drawings, 33–35 “Black Earth” (Moore poem), 35

Dark Gray Tone with Reverberation #1 (2013), 70–71 Dark Gray Tone with Reverberation #2 (2013), 72–73

blackness, 17, 24–25, 35

Dark Gray with 1/2 Measure, 56, 58–59

Abrams, Muhal Richard, 27

Black Tone, Red Bar (2014), 82–83

Dark Tone with Hidden Reverberation

Absorb/Diffuse (installation, The

Blanks (2010), 85

Kitchen, 2011), 17, 19, 20, 29 absorption. See also diffusion and absorption literal (of light or sound), 16, 17, 19–20, 27 metaphorical, 20, 27, 30 abstraction

Davis, Miles, 21, 24, 26

blues (genre), 14, 17

Deep Gradient, Left Resonance (2014),

Blue Serge (2015), 42, 45 Blues for Smoke (2013 MOCA exhibition), 19 Blues in C Sharp Minor (for Teddy Wilson) (2015), 46–47

black traditions and, 24–25

Blues People (Leroi Jones), 13–14

parallels with jazz, 18–23

Blue Turning Gray over You (for Fats

political resonances and, 12 Acoustic Painting series (2011), 19–20 acoustic panel paintings, 16–17, 30 acoustics, as model and metaphor, 19–20 African American avant-garde artists

(2013), 50, 51

Blue Moments (2015), 40–41

Waller) (2015), 40–41 Bold, Double, Bar Line (variation #1) (2013), 68–69 Bradford, Mark, 27 Brand, Gail, 21 Braxton, Anthony, 20

92, 94 Deep Tone with Double Bar Line (2014), 92, 95 Delaney, Beauford, 24 Diffuse with Undertone A & B (2011), 124–25 diffusion and absorption, 20, 22 Directions: Jennie C. Jones—Higher Resonance (2013 Hirshhorn exhibition), 14–15, 17, 28, 29, 54–55 The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Buñuel film), 21

color palette and, 17, 33–35

Browning, Barbara, 20

Douglas, Stan, 21

invisibility and, 11–12, 15, 16, 17, 22

Buñuel, Luis, 21

Duchamp, Marcel, 15–16, 29 Duchamp’s Inner Ear (2014–15), 15–16,

Als, Hilton, 33–35, 150

29, 126–27

“alter destiny” concept, 25

Cage, John, 14, 24, 26

Art Ensemble of Chicago, 21, 28

“case of blackness” (Moten term), 24

ArtWorks (blog), 16

Cassel Oliver, Valerie, 11–17, 151

Early Blues (2004–5), 12, 13, 38–39

audience, 26–27

Center, Dark, Tone (2013), 48–49

8 Track (2007), 2, 86

Auto Reverse Suite #1 (2008), 19

Claxton, William, 28, 29

Electric (2010 Sikkema Jenkins

avant-garde and avant-gardism, 11, 12,

collage, 12–14, 16, 25. See also sound

15, 18, 22, 24 Baldwin, James, 35

works

exhibition), 28–29 Ellison, Ralph, 11

Coltrane, John, 22, 28, 29

Emanzipation, 21

conceptual art

erasure. See invisibility

Baraka, Amiri. See Jones, Leroi

paintings, 16–17, 30

Experimentalism Otherwise (Piekut), 18

Barr, Alfred H., 24, 26

sculptural works, 19

experimental jazz. See free jazz

Bass Traps with False Tones # 1 and 2

sound works, 25–26

(2013), 19, 74–75

Copeland, Alice, 27 Copeland, Huey, 24–31, 150

154


free jazz, 12, 14, 20

Last Concert (2010), 99

Parker, Charlie, 20, 25

From the Clusterfuck Bianca Series

layering, 16, 24

Pettway, Lola, 25

Lewis, George E., 15, 18–23, 150–51

Picasso, Pablo, 33

Light Gray with Bright Note #1 and 2

Piekut, Benjamin, 18, 22

(2013), 136 Gee’s Bend quilts, 24, 25 The Gentle Influence of the Bourgeoisie (Trombone

(2013), 55 Light Gray with Middle C (variation #1) Ligon, Glenn, 27, 29, 30

21, 133

listening, act of, 12–15, 25, 26. See also audience

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 34

listening accessories, 15–16, 19, 28–29

Grey Score (for Agnes) (2012), 13–14,

Listening Positions at the Hirshhorn

82–84

Presley, Elvis, 34

(2013), 54–55, 56–57

Improvisation) (2010), 15, Glass, Philip, 22

Piper, Adrian, 26

(2012), 52–53

Quiet Gray with Black Subtone #1 & 2 (2014), 100–101 Quiet Gray with Red Reverberation #2 (2014), 104–5 Quiet Gray with 3/4 Red Reverberation (2014), 10, 102–3

Listen/Record Red (2007), 87 race, 11, 17, 21, 22, 34–35. See also

Hankins, Evelyn, 14–15

Liston, Melba, 20–21, 27

Harris, Eddie, 21

Logan, Wendell, 14

African American avant-garde

Hendrix, Jimi, 21

Lyons, Matthew, 16

artists; invisibility Rauschenberg, Robert, 16

Higher Resonance (2013 Hirshhorn exhibition). See Directions:

Marclay, Christian, 28

readymades, 15–16

Jennie C. Jones—Higher

Martin, Agnes, 13, 33

Reed, Josephine, 16

Resonance

melophobia, 33

Reich, Steve, 22

hip-hop, 27–28

“micro-sampling,” 14–15, 20–21

“Remarks on Color” (Wittgenstein), 34

Holiday, Billie, 14, 20, 25–26

Midnight Blue (Newman painting), 16

repetition, 13, 22

minimalism

repurposing, 15–16, 29

identity politics, 11–12, 20

black culture and, 12, 17, 22

Richter, Gerhard, 16

improvisation, 20–21, 22. See also

conceptual art and, 16, 26, 28–29

Riley, Terry, 22

in general, 12, 15, 26, 30

Roach, Max, 20

free jazz; jazz Infectious Rhythm (Browning), 20

Mitchell, Roscoe, 20

rock music, 19, 21, 28

invisibility, 11, 16, 17, 22. See also

Modern Jazz Quartet, 14, 26

Rothko, Mark, 17

Mondrian, Piet, 24

Rutherford, Paul, 21, 23

silence, spaces of Invisible Man (Ellison), 11

Moore, Marianne, 35

Irwin, Robert, 27

Moran, Jason, 28 Morris, Robert, 29

jazz. See also free jazz abstraction and, 19, 22 27–28 Jennings, Terry, 22

Sandback, Fred, 15

Motherwell, Robert, 33

Scat Pitch and Shatter (2007), 20 Score for Six Measures with Subtone

Newman, Barnett, 16, 24 Newton, Isaac, 34 Noland, Kenneth, 27 Opticks (Newton), 34

Kierkegaard, Søren, 22

(2014), 13–14, 22, 28, 32, 114– Score in Eight Measures (for Melba Liston) (2014), 20, 21, 88–89,

Kawara, On, 16 Kirk, Rahsaan Roland, 27

(2013), 54, 66–67 Score for Sustained Blackness Set 2 15, 116–17

Jones, Leroi (Amiri Baraka), 13–14, 15

Kelly, Ellsworth, 24, 25

“micro-sampling”

Moten, Fred, 18–19, 24

as source for Jones, 12, 14, 18, types of, 14–15

sampling, 21, 25. See also

painting, Jones’ tension around, 16, 17, 29–30 packaging for music, 12, 13, 15, 19, 29

90–91 Secret Desire to Be Black (Singleton quartet), 22

Palermo, Blinky, 16

155


sound works, 14–15, 20–22, 25–27

26 LPs, 1960–69 (2010), 36–37, 80–81

#14 (2013), 134, 135

Speak (2004), 6, 12, 122–23

Two Attaining (2014), 98

Fragments A & B (2012), 134

spectatorship, 26–27

Tyner, McCoy, 22

The Red Series #1 (2014), 111

Spider Trio (for Louise) (2008), 15, 132

The Red Series #2 (2014), 112

Static Reverberation/String

SHHH series (2013–14), 15, 109, 111–13

The Red Series #3 (2014), 113

Arrangement series (2012), 19

Vertical into Crescendo (light) (2014), 108, 109 Vertical into Decrescendo (dark)

silence, 13, 15, 16, 24, 30

Steinberg, Leo, 27

Silent Clusterfuck (bianca) (2013), 136

Stockhausen, Karlheinz, 21

Singleton, Alvin, 20, 22

studio space, 12, 28–30

Slow Birds (2004 sound work), 20

Sun Ra, 25, 27

Warhol, Andy, 18–19

Slowly, in a Silent Way—Caged

Sustained Black with Broken Time and

West, Cornel, 23

(2010), 21 Snead, James, 22–23 Soft Gray Tone with Reverberation

Undertone (2011), 76, 77

What a Little Moonlight (2007), 14

Sustained Gray Measure with Bar Line

“white box” or “cube,” 15, 26, 27, 30

(2013), 77

60–61 Solid State (2005), 13, 19, 118–19 Solo, Vertical, into Crescendo (light) (2013), 106–7 “Some Notes on Song” (Berger), 34 Song Containers (2011), 15, 128–29 sonic close-up, 21

technology, 13, 14–15, 19, 21. See also listening accessories To Disembark (1993 Ligon exhibition at Hirshhorn), 29, 30 exhibition), 17, 109 tritone series, 17. See also acoustic panel paintings Turrell, James, 27

Sony Walkman Auto Reverse Green

12 from ’74 (2010), 29, 130–31

156

Williams, Anthony, 28 Wilson, Olly, 14 Wittgenstein, Ludwig, 34 Woman Alone (series), 14

TONE (2014 Sikkema Jenkins

Sony Walkman (2008), 13, 78–79 (2008), 120–21

whiteness, 11, 21, 34. See also blackand-white drawings

series (2013), 62–65 Soft Gray with Middle Tone (2013),

(2014), 96–97

You Make Me Feel like 100 Billie Holiday Songs (2003), 20, 25 Young, La Monte, 22 “zips,” 16, 24


LENDERS TO THE EXHIBITION

Charles W. Banta, Buffalo, N.Y. Denise and Gary Gardner, Chicago The Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida Collection, San Francisco Noel Kirnon, New York Arthur Lewis, New York Deborah Ronnen, New York Private collection, Hong Kong Private collection, Houston Private collection, New York Private collection, Upper Saddle River, N.J. Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

157


CONTEMPORARY ARTS MUSEUM HOUSTON

BOARD OF TRUSTEES

STAFF

Jonathan B. Fairbanks, Chairman

Bill Arning, Director

Jereann Chaney, President

Tim Barkley, Registrar

Dillon A. Kyle, Vice President

Quincy Berry, Assistant Gallery Supervisor

Andrew C. Schirrmeister III, Vice President

Amanda Bredbenner, Director of Development

W.G. Griggs III, Treasurer

Valerie Cassel Oliver, Senior Curator

Elizabeth Satel Young, Secretary

Libby Conine, Major Gifts Manager

Vera Baker

Jamal Cyrus, Education Associate and Teen

Elizabeth Crowell

Council Coordinator

Gregory Fourticq

Dean Daderko, Curator

Michael Galbreth

Kenya Evans, Gallery Supervisor

Barbara Gamson

Max Fields, Communications Associate

Dan Gilbane

Ara Griffith, Grants and Gifts Coordinator

Glen Gonzalez

Monica Hoffman, Controller

Melissa Kepke Grobmyer

Connie McAllister, Director of Community Engagement

Leslie Ballard Hull

Beth PerĂŠ, Development Coordinator, Special Events

Madeleine Kades

Shane Platt, Assistant to the Director

J. David Kirkland, Jr.

Sue Pruden, Director of Retail Operations

Mary Hammon Lee

Mike Reed, Assistant Director of Facilities and

Erica Levit Leticia Loya Libbie Masterson

Risk Management Patricia Restrepo, Curatorial Associate and Business Manager

Elisabeth McCabe

Jeff Shore, Head Preparator

Greg McCord

Michael Simmonds, Tour Programs Coordinator

Andrew McFarland

Erin Thigpen, Gift Processing and Development Coordinator

Cabrina Owsley

Amanda Thomas, Graphic Designer

James Rodriguez

Amber Winsor, Deputy Director

Reginald R. Smith Margaret Vaughan David Young

158


Jennie C. Jones: Compilation is generously supported by

The catalogue accompanying the exhibition is made

Deutsche Bank, Arthur Lewis, and Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

possible by a grant from The Brown Foundation, Inc.

This exhibition has been made possible by the patrons,

Funding for the Museum’s operations through the Fund for

benefactors, and donors to the Museum’s Friends of

the Future is made possible by generous grants from Marita

Steel Exhibitions:

and J.B. Fairbanks, Jo and Jim Furr, Fayez Sarofim, Robin and Andrew Schirrmeister, and David and Marion Young.

DIRECTOR’S CIRCLE Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen

The Museum’s operations and programs are made possible

Fayez Sarofim

through the generosity of the Museum’s trustees, patrons,

Ms. Louisa Stude Sarofim

members, and donors. The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston receives partial operating support from artMRKT

CURATOR’S CIRCLE Dillon Kyle Architecture, Inc. Marita and J.B. Fairbanks Mr. and Mrs. I. H. Kempner III Michael Zilkha

Productions, The Brown Foundation, Inc., Houston Endowment, the City of Houston through the Houston Museum District Association, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Texas Commission on the Arts, the William F. Stern Fund, and The Wortham Foundation, Inc.

MAJOR EXHIBITION CIRCLE A Fare Extraordinaire Bergner and Johnson Design Jereann Chaney Elizabeth Howard Crowell Sara Paschall Dodd Jo and Jim Furr Barbara and Michael Gamson Brenda and William Goldberg Blakely and Trey Griggs George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation Jackson and Company Louise D. Jamail Anne and David Kirkland

CAMH also thanks its artist benefactors for their support, including Michael Bise, Bruce High Quality Foundation, Julia Dault, Keltie Ferris, Mark Flood, Barnaby Furnas, Theaster Gates, Jeffrey Gibson, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Jim Hodges, Joan Jonas, Jennie C. Jones, Maya Lin, Julian Lorber, Robert Mangold, Melissa Miller, Marilyn Minter, Angel Otero, McKay Otto, Enoc Perez, Rob Pruitt, Matthew Ritchie, Dario Robleto, Ed Ruscha, Cindy Sherman, Shinique Smith, John Sparagana, Al Souza, James Surls, Sam Taylor-Johnson, William Wegman, and Brenna Youngblood.

KPMG, LLP Beverly and Howard Robinson Lauren Rottet Robin and Andrew Schirrmeister Leigh and Reggie Smith

United is the official airline of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Yellow Cab Houston Mr. Wallace Wilson

159


Published by Gregory R. Miller & Co. in association with the

Designed by Miko McGinty, Anjali Pala, and Claire Bidwell

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston on the occasion of the

Copyedited by Jennifer Bernstein, Tenacious Editorial

exhibition Jennie C. Jones: Compilation, December 19, 2015–

Index by Marcia Carlson

March 27, 2016.

Separations by Professional Graphics, Inc., Rockford, Illinois Printed by Elcograf S.P.A., Verona, Italy

Copyright © 2015 by Gregory R. Miller & Co. Photographs of works by Jennie C. Jones are by Jason Wyche All artwork © Jennie C. Jones unless otherwise noted

unless otherwise noted.

All texts © 2015 by their respective authors

p. 19: David Allison p. 25 (fig. 10): Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio

All rights reserved. No part of the contents of this publication

pp. 54–55, 66–67: Cathy Carver

may be reproduced in any form without the written

p. 99: Paul Hester

permission of the publisher. Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available from the Library of Congress. Gregory R. Miller & Co. 62 Cooper Square

Endpapers: Photograph from The Death of Analogue series, 2010. Collection of the artist

New York, NY 10003

Frontispieces:

grmandco.com

p. 2: 8 Track, 2007 (see p. 86) p. 6: Speak, 2004 (see p. 122) p. 10: Quiet Gray with 3/4 Red Reverberation, 2014 (detail; see p. 103)

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston 5216 Montrose Boulevard Houston, TX 77006 camh.org Distributed by ARTBOOK | D.A.P. 155 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10013 artbook.com

p. 32: #1 from Score for Sustained Blackness, 2015. Acrylic paint, collage, and Noligraph 5-line staff pen on paper; 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm). Collection of the artist pp. 36–37: 26 LPs 1960–69 (detail; see p. 81)


Profile for Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Jennie C. Jones: Compilation  

Jennie C. Jones: Compilation On View: December 12, 2015 - March 27, 2016 Through exhaustive research and imaginative talent, Jennie C. Jone...

Jennie C. Jones: Compilation  

Jennie C. Jones: Compilation On View: December 12, 2015 - March 27, 2016 Through exhaustive research and imaginative talent, Jennie C. Jone...

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