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MoMA honors the legacy of Terry Adkins's multidisciplinary performance collective
erformance still from Facets: A Recital Compilation by Terry Adkins, November 8, 2012 at the Arthur Zankel Music Center, Skidmore College. Photo: Patrick O’Rourke.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Museum of Modern Art presents Projects 107: Lone Wolf Recital Corps, featuring the multidisciplinary performance collective founded in 1986 by artist and musician Terry Adkins (American, 1953–2014). On view at the Museum of Modern Art from August 19 through October 9, 2017, Projects 107 is the first museum exhibition to reunite the Corps since Adkins’s death; the exhibition will feature a display of Adkins’s sculptures and a set of five live performances by the reconstituted Corps, in which a changing group of multigenerational artists will present new work and reprise selections from the group’s repertoire. Projects 107: Lone Wolf Recital Corps is organized by Akili Tommasino, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture.

Consisting of an accumulative, rotating membership of collaborators hailing from various musical and visual-arts disciplines, the Lone Wolf Recital Corps performed within and in conjunction with Adkins’s exhibitions during his lifetime. Described by Adkins as “recitals,” these performances incorporated spoken word, live music, video projection, and costumed, choreographed movement. For Adkins, recitals were part of an ongoing quest to reinsert the legacies of unheralded immortal figures into their rightful place within the panorama of history. Lone Wolf Recital Corps performances have commemorated and celebrated such figures as abolitionist John Brown, jazz musician John Coltrane, explorer Matthew Henson, and blues singer Bessie Smith. Orchestrated by Adkins, recitals featured the collaborative improvisation of the Corps.

The selection of sculptures included in Projects 107 traces the history of the Corps, from Dark Night (1987–88), a work Adkins created while on the residency in Zurich during which he founded the Corps, to Upperville (2009) and Methane Sea (2013), assemblages featured in the last exhibition of Adkins’s work organized during his lifetime. The exhibition also features a new acquisition, Last Trumpet (1995), comprising four 18-foot-long horns—which Adkins called Akrhaphones—that serve as both monumental sculptures and functional musical instruments. Adkins retained this seminal work until his death, including it in several of his exhibitions, where he would conduct various brass players in the Corps in activating it.

The works in Projects 107 also encompass the implicit and explicit ways music features in Adkins’s sculptures, and demonstratehis concept of a synestheticexchange between sculpture and sound. To the extent possible, the works are installed in a manner consistent with their historical modes of display. Projects 107 features looping video documentation of the collective’s past recitals, including horn players Vincent Chancey, Dick Griffin, Marashall Sealy, and Kiane Zawadi’s performance of Last Trumpet under Adkins conduction at the Performa biennial in 2013—as well as performance props and costumes.

The exhibition culminates in a series of five live performances and one lecture and panel discussion spearheaded by original members of the Corps. Comprised of an intergenerational group of artists and musicians, this iteration of recitals will include Sanford Biggers, Blanche Bruce, Vincent Chancey, Arthur Flowers, Charles Gaines, Dick Griffin, Tyehimba Jess, Rashid Johnson, Jason Moran, Demetrius Oliver, Cavassa Nickens, Clifford Owens, Kamau Amu Patton, Marshall Sealy, Dread Scott, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Kiane Zawadi, Tukufu Zuberi, and others. The installation of sculptures serves as the set for the performances in the gallery; the other recitals will occur in The Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters.

Terry Adkins: Recital, a monograph about Adkins’s work and the history of the Lone Wolf Recital Corps, will be available in the MoMA Design Store. It is published by the Tang Museum and DelMonico-Prestel, and features an essay by Projects 107 curator Akili Tommasino.

Initiated by MoMA in 1971 as a platform for new and experimental art, The Elaine Dannheisser Projects Series, now presented at both The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1, provides a forum for the most urgent international voices in contemporary art. Projects 107: Lone Wolf Recital Corps will be accompanied by an illustrated brochure.

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