American Art in Music

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Jacob Lawrence, The Migration Series (1940-41) Panel no. 1 “During World War I there was a great migration north by southern African Americans.” Casein tempera on hardboard, 12 x 18 in. Acquired 1942. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

What song would you pair with Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series? As part of last year’s Vocal Colors, Wolf Trap Opera Company soprano Andrea Carroll chose Troubled Woman, part of a cycle called ‘Genius Child’ written by American composer Ricky Ian Gordon. Below is our newest audio tour stop: an excerpt from the performance, preceeded by an introduction by Lee Anne Myslewski, the Director of Artistic Administration for Wolf Trap Opera & Classical Programming.

“This is the fifth year that Wolf Trap and The Phillips Collection have collaborated on Vocal Colors, a recital series that uses the thought-provoking works of The Phillips Collection as a springboard for a varied musical evening. Curated by musicians from the Wolf Trap Opera Company, the musical offerings cross genres and time periods, offering new aural perspectives on the respected visual works.”

This year, singers will be responding to works from Made in the USA. Hear from soprano Tracy Cox and tenor Robert Watson on June 19, and soprano Melinda Whittington and mezzo-soprano Carolyn Sproule on July 31.

On June 16 at 12 pm EST, Tracy Cox will lead our first-ever guest #breakforart Twitter chat! We’ll be discussing John Marin’s Pertaining to Fifth AvenueHave questions about her process or song selection? Leave them as comments here, or join us on Twitter @PhillipsMuseum to participate.

This Painting Sounds Like…

Allen Tucker The Rise

What does Allen Tucker’s The Rise sound like to you? Image: Allen Tucker, The Rise, not dated. Oil on canvas, 30 1/2 x 36 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1927

An upcoming performance by singers from Vocal Arts DC got me thinking about not just the thoughts, but the soundtrack that goes through my head as I’m wandering the museum’s galleries. On April 17, co-winners of the Art Song Discovery Competition Natalie Conte and Matthew Morris (read about and hear them perform on SoundCloud) pair artworks in Made in the USA with music of similar moods. I wonder if, like me, they hear Travis Tritt’s “It’s a Great Day To Be Alive” when they see Allen Tucker’s The Rise. Here are a few other pairings I’ve unwittingly made:

Gifford Beal The Fish Bucket and Edward Hopper Sunday

“A Hard Day’s Night” by The Beatles comes to mind for Gifford Beal’s The Fish Bucket, and Edward Hopper’s Sunday sounds like Phantom Planet’s “Lonely Day”.
Images: (left) Gifford Beal, The Fish Bucket, 1924. Oil on canvas, 24 1/8 x 24 1/8 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC. Acquired 1925 © The Estate of Gifford Beal, courtesy of Kraushaar Galleries, New York (right) Edward Hopper, Sunday, 1926. Oil on canvas, 29 x 34 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC. Acquired 1926

Elizabeth Murray The Sun and the Moon, Milton Avery Black Sea

Elizabeth Murray’s The Sun and the Moon sends me into a Skrillex “Bangarang” frenzy, and Milton Avery’s Black Sea makes me think of the Jaws theme song.
Images: (left) Elizabeth Murray, The Sun and the Moon, between 2004 and 2005. Oil on panel mounted on wood, 117 x 107 1/2 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC. Gift of Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro and Gifford and Joann Phillips, 2006. (right) Milton Avery, Black Sea, 1959, Oil on canvas, 50 x 67 3/4 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1965 © 2014 Milton Avery Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Lee Gatch Industrial Night

And for no discernible reason, Billy Joel’s “Allentown” comes to mind when I see Lee Gatch’s Industrial Night.
Image: Lee Gatch, Industrial Night, 1948. Oil on canvas, 17 7/8 x 39 7/8 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1949

What do you hear when you wander the galleries at The Phillips Collection?

Amy Wike, Marketing Manager