Bringing people together is, in and of itself, an art form. You’ve got to select the ingredients, check the temperature, take creative liberties, see what sticks. Brian Chase of indie rock outfit Yeah Yeah Yeahs joined us for a month at Ace Hotel New York as our Artist in Residence and helped curate a motley blend of artist friends to stay with us every Sunday evening, bringing together a cross-pollination of various musical and artistic languages to harmonize sweetly.
As an active and longtime member of New York City’s underground music scene, Brian — who formed the record label Chaikin Records in 2018 — is apt for running a label that turns the spotlight on leading and visionary figures in his community. Here, the fruits of that curatorial eye can be seen: an artist-by-artist round-up of the creative magic and mystery made anew each week in our hotel rooms on 29 Street. Read on, and for more on Chaikin Records, go here.
Keti is a multidisciplinary visual artist, fashion designer and researcher of color theories. Born in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, she now resides in Brooklyn, NY. Keti and Brian Chase have a visual/sound installation called “Correlations” which consists of 60 artworks presented alongside three extended duration soundpieces.
For her residency at Ace Hotel New York, three new works were created. As an introduction, Keti writes, “After grounding myself, exploring the given space and creative vibes of the room, I started practicing my weekend/daily ‘rituals’ of deep seeing, deep listening, deep feeling. Translating it — using language of improvisation for creative process; paper, ink and pencil as the creative medium…”
Composer and vocal artist Samita Sinha combines experiment and visceral energy with deep grounding in North Indian classical music, embodied practices and folk and ritual music in several languages to create a language of voice and body and new forms of sound, performance, and collaboration. Her work has been commissioned by Asia Society, Performance Space 122 and Invisible Dog Art Center, the Rubin Museum and Gibney, and presented at the Kitchen, Wexner Center for the Arts, Danspace, National Sawdust and PICA, among others. Sinha teaches voice extensively, including at Princeton University, Swarthmore College, Centro Nacional de las Artes in Mexico City and Womankind (formerly New York Asian Women’s Center).
For her piece as part of the residency, Samita collaborated with guitarist and electronic musician Grey McMurray in a work labeled simply “sketch from Ace Hotel.” The piece presents various notions of holding “space” — throughout the work a variety of distinct musical themes, each with their own —”character” and “significance,” arise and fade away only after being layered and juxtaposed.
Nick Zinner plays guitar in the three-time Grammy-nominated rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the hardcore band Head Wound City and the atmospheric project 13 million year old ghost. Among his diverse amount of work, including a chamber orchestra piece entitled “41 Strings” and composing for television and film, He has published four books of photography, most recently 131 Different Things (Akashic) and has exhibited internationally.
His piece from his residency at Ace Hotel is a recording of a new song from his solo project 13 million year old ghost. The debut full length album of this project was released on October 18, 2019 by Chaikin Records. Find it here.
Brian Chase is a drummer and composer living in Brooklyn, NY. His diverse range of work includes that with Grammy nominated rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the NYC experimental music community and Drums and Drones, a project focusing on the application of harmonic tuning to drums and percussion. As an educator, Brian has been a visiting professor at Bennington College and workshop presenter at So Percussion’s Summer Institute at Princeton University. His writings have appeared in John Zorn’s Arcana series, Modern Drummer Magazine and Talkhouse.
For his piece as part of his residency at Ace Hotel, Brian writes: “’A graphic score’ is a reference to the music notation method known as graphic notation. In this method, pictures/shapes/color/text/etc. are used to indicate musical instructions as an alternative to the traditional five-line-staff. The inspiration for ‘A graphic score’ came from the idea of uniting opposites. After some consideration, it seemed more intriguing to represent each unit in its respective ‘singularity’ rather than in a conjoined state of ‘union.’ The two core elements depicted in “A graphic score” appealed in three main ways: 1) To a musician, what does the closed line mean relative to an open circle? How would each be interpreted? 2) In these symbols there is a reference to the on-and-off power switch for electronics. How does this binary relationship manifest itself when positioned in parallel? 3) The symbols depicted can be conceived as depicting ‘male’ and ‘female.’ What are the dynamics of their position?”
“A graphic score” was developed at about midnight right before bed, pretty much dividing the day into two halves.
The Beck/Jones Experience
TBJE consists of visual artist Lisa Beck and musician Kevin Bud Jones. In the artist statement on her website, internationally exhibited artist Lisa Beck writes, “My work has always been driven by certain preoccupations and obsessions, that can be seen as divided between the particular and the universal. . . . I tend to be attracted to opposing but related visual phenomena like positive and negative, pattern and randomness, color and grayscale, flatness and depth, representational and abstract imagery.”
Similarly intrigued by the border between representation and abstraction, Kevin Bud Jones entered the NYC club circuit in 1981 in the DIY skronk band Dog Eat Dog — sharing the stage with DNA, Sonic Youth, Mofungo, Live Skull and others. A career in the film industry informed his later and current work using synths, samplers and electronics to lend sound design elements to Collapsible Shoulder, as well as music for dance collaborations with guitarist Chris Cochrane.
For their collaboration, The Beck/Jones Experience teamed up to create their first ever animation. No small task, yet it was accomplished in about a 10-hour period from about 4pm to 2am.
Lisa and I bought the materials we needed to create a short animated film together.We left the preconceived notions at home and found our way to the work presented here. We are leaving an envelope of materials behind in the room.Kevin Bud Jones
Ace Hotel New York | August 19, 2021
Last month in the Gallery, Ace Hotel New York welcomed work from 60+ artists for "OURS" — a group show by and for New York City.