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Juilliard Unveils Its First New, Commissioned Art Installation Since Its Move to Lincoln Center in 1969

NEW YORK, NY.- On Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 4 PM, Juilliard unveils its first new commissioned art installation since it moved to its Lincoln Center home in 1969, the last of the original Lincoln Center constituents to do so. The new piece by New York-based artist Matthew Brannon will be installed in the School’s June Noble Larkin Lobby to celebrate the completion of Juilliard’s major three-year expansion and renovation, completed at a cost of $200 million. Mr. Brannon was the winner of Juilliard’s inaugural visual arts competition. His work is entitled Last in the Elevator – First Out and will become part of Juilliard’s permanent art collection. The event also includes the premiere of Juilliard composer Evan Fein’s, You Can Get There from Here. Juilliard President Joseph W. Polisi and Juilliard Board Member, Dr. Bernard T. Ferrari and his wife, Linda, will be on hand to offer remarks. The Ferraris generously sponsored the competition for young artists, and donated the work to Juilliard. To find an emerging, contemporary artist to create the inaugural piece of art for Juilliard, the Ferrarris and the School decided on an invitational competition. Both envision continuing the annual visual arts competition with a focus on emerging, contemporary artists. Mr. Brannon was one of five artists invited to submit a proposal for the first competition.

Matthew Brannon, a native of St. Maries, Idaho, now lives and works in New York. His artwork takes many forms including sculpture, printed fabrics, installations, and text pieces. He is best known for his letterpress prints that combine text and image in a seemingly innocuous manner that belies deeper psychological undercurrents. The subject of his art often concerns ideas of tact, the trappings of careerism, the construction of persona, and the pathology of addiction. Mr. Brannon’s work recently has been featured at the 2009 Torino Triennale and the 2008 Whitney Biennial. He has had recent solo exhibitions at The Approach in London, Gio’ Marconi in Milan, the Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria in NYC, and at the Friedrich Petzel Gallery in New York.

Last In is a thirty-foot long wall piece consisting of a twenty-foot ripple-fold drape with Mr. Brannon’s own custom printed fabric alongside a text piece in metallic relief which reads, “last in the elevator, first out.” The curtain hints both that something is being concealed and gestures toward a private space free of distraction. The text is a double entendre that offers not only a literal strategy to entering the nearby elevators, but also advice that success often requires determination beyond immediate reward. Mr. Brannon says that he has created a work for students and professionals with talent, both intuitive and trained, participating in a practice that goes well beyond discipline alone.

American composer Evan Fein, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, is currently a full scholarship student in his first year of the C.V. Starr Doctoral program at Juilliard. He holds a master of music degree from Juilliard and a bachelor of music from the Cleveland Institute of Music. In addition, he studied at the Freie Universität Berlin and L’École Normale de Musique de Paris. His music often blends classical European and vernacular American traditions. Mr. Fein arrived at Juilliard two years ago when the School was in the midst of the massive renovation and expansion project. He was asked by Juilliard President Joseph W. Polisi to compose a work for the unveiling. He met with Matthew Brannon and toured his studio. He found his work to be smart, witty, challenging, and always fascinating. Mr. Brannon’s concept was to transform the June Noble Larkin Lobby at Juilliard into a transitional space, easing the journey from the chaotic world of Manhattan to the calm and creative world of Juilliard. Mr. Fein expanded on this concept through his music. The piece begins with a depiction of the frenzy of daily life in NYC and then segues into a reflective section, evoking an image of Juilliard as a peaceful temple to the arts. Eventually, as every Juilliard student can attest, that image gives way to the frenzy of daily life within Juilliard’s walls, and the opening music returns in an ever more joyful and optimistic fashion. The work is scored for flute, oboe, clarinet in B-flat, horn in F, and bassoon.

Juilliard holds Louise Nevelson’s important piece, Nightsphere-Light (1969), which recently was returned to its Juilliard location after storing and conservation during the extensive Juilliard construction. Juilliard also holds a number of paintings in its teaching studios and offices, and a bronze relief of founder Augustus Juilliard created by early 20th-century sculptor Chester Beach, who also was known for his commemorative medals and coins.

Juilliard. Lincoln Center | Matthew Brannon | New York | Friedrich Petzel Gallery | Whitney Museum of American Art |

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