Pushing the boundaries of each sphere, the works in Synthesize also highlight the numerous ways the visual arts can make music and vice versa. The Conductor, by Newsome, for example, combines clips culled from rap music videos with selections from composer Carl Orff's classical masterpiece Carmina Burana, a piece of music that has itself been widely sampled in pop culture. The music video footage has been edited to isolate and remix shots of the rap artists' hand gestures so they appear to be conducting Orff's orchestra, a juxtaposition that allows Newsome to playfully break down boundaries between seemingly opposed cultural form.
During both the patrons' and members' previews, and with The Conductor as a backdrop, rapper Controverse will perform a rap to reunite the imagery with its original form of music. The performance completes the piece and further establishes the place of hip-hop culture and blackness within a Museum setting.
“It's a really exciting moment to examine cross-disciplinary approaches to art-making,” said Curator Jaime DeSimone. “I hope viewers discover how art and music are equal partners within this larger context.”
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog with an essay by DeSimone, available in the MOCA Shop for purchase.
Throughout the exhibition, the remix attitude takes center stage as it incorporates numerous visual and musical references and challenges our understanding of what each medium can be. Events include lectures by Dr. Nikki Lane on Grammy award-winning rapper Missy Elliot and featured photographer Lyle Owerko. Aligning with the exhibition's concept, MOCA Jacksonville's Book Club has selected Hamilton: The Revolution.