Bang on a Can to Present Florent Ghys' BONJOUR at The Jewish Museum
On Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 7:30pm, Bang on a Can and the Jewish Museum will present the third concert of their 2016-2017 concert season featuring Bonjour, a low string quartet with drums/percussion founded in 2012 by bassist and composer Florent Ghys.
Bonjour features Ghys as composer and double bassist, as well as Eleonore Oppenheim (double bass), Ashley Bathgate (cello), James Moore (guitars), and Owen Weaver (percussion). Accompanying the Jewish Museum's exhibition, Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design, the concert will feature Bonjour in works from their self-titled album, which was released in August 2016 on Cantaloupe Music. Pierre Chareau, originally from Bordeaux, rose to become a major figure in 20th century design. Ghys, also originally from Bordeaux, is one of New York's most creative composer-performers of the early 21st century.
Combining basses, cello, guitars, percussion, and voices, Ghys creates an unusual sound world that's equal parts groove, melody and meditation. In Ghys's words, Bonjour is comprised of musical snapshots. Performed in no particular order, each one represents a day of the week and its associated mood - with some, like "Friday 3PM," conjuring multiple emotions in a gradually building mosaic of rhythm and sound. The players' voices are alternately treated as additional melodic instruments or as dictaphones spewing nonsensical parallel quotes from a variety of literary, news, and other sources (as in "Monday Morning"). From the jazz-laced, indie-pop lilt of "Thursday Afternoon" to the woozy, off-kilter mood of "Tuesday Noon Around 12:21," the album shimmers with influences that push it beyond the safety net of "new classical" music to something altogether edgy, adventurous, and even slightly art-damaged. Ghys cites his connections to New York's Bang on a Can organization as integral to the formation of Bonjour. "When I moved to New York City at the end of 2011, I knew I'd stay for at least a couple of years," he says. "So I decided to play the same kind of music as in my solo work, but with real human beings. And at the time, I was surrounded by amazing musicians that I met through Bang on a Can."
Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design, on view through March 26, 2017, is the first U.S. exhibition focused on French designer and architect Pierre Chareau (1883-1950). It takes a fresh look at the internationally recognized designer and examines his work in the Parisian cultural context between the wars to highlight his circle of influential patrons, engagement with the period's foremost artists, and designs for the film industry. Together with his wife Dollie, Chareau was an active patron of the arts, and the exhibition reunites several pieces from their collection of paintings, sculptures, and drawings by significant artists such as Piet Mondrian, Amedeo Modigliani, Jacques Lipchitz, and Max Ernst. Showcasing rare furniture, lighting fixtures, and interiors, as well as designs for the extraordinary Maison de Verre, the glass house completed in Paris in 1932, the exhibition brings together over 180 rarely-seen works from major public and private collections in Europe and the United States.
Pierre Chareau rose from modest beginnings in Bordeaux to become one of the most sought-after designers in France. Creating custom furniture and interiors for a distinguished clientele that included leading figures of the French-Jewish intelligentsia, Chareau balanced the opulence of traditional French decorative arts with interior designs that were elegant, functional, and in sync with the requirements of modern life. The exhibition also addresses Chareau's life and work in the New York area, after he left Paris during the German occupation of the city, including the house he designed for Robert Motherwell in 1947 in East Hampton, Long Island.