There are few Minnesota summer traditions as cherished as the Walker Art Center’s annual Music and Movies series, pairing live musical performances with movie screenings—all open to the public and free of charge. The Walker’s just announced this year’s lineup, under the theme Playing With Time.
Each of the first three weeks (August 4, 11, and 18) will be business as usual, presenting three films loosely tied to the common theme of time along with performances by the Cloak Ox, ZuluZuluu, and the Handsome Family—all in Loring Park, with DJs from the Current spinning tunes between sets. The fourth week (August 25) takes a different tack, featuring an appearance by the artist whose work inspired this year’s theme. Music begins each night at 7:00 p.m.; movies begin at dusk—around 8:45.
Christian Marclay is an artist whose internationally acclaimed piece The Clock—a 24-hour work created by piecing together portions of movies set at specific times corresponding to the actual times the work is being screened throughout the day, so you can follow an entire day through film scenes—will be at the Walker from June 14 through August 25. On August 25, Marclay will present two pieces on the Walker’s lawn, in association with musicians Laurent Estoppey, Ikue Mori, and Anthony Coleman.
The first Marclay piece, Graffiti Composition, was originally created from graffiti collected in Berlin. What? As Pitchfork explains, “In 1996, Marclay posted blank music sheets around the streets of Berlin, then returned to photograph them after they had been torn, smudged, and covered with graffiti. 150 of those photos were selected to form an open-ended graphical ‘score’—the kind without any traditional notes or time signatures.” Needless to say, some creative interpretation by the musicians is necessary.
The second piece to be presented on August 25 is Screen Play. The New York Times describes that piece as “a continuously playing, 29-minute silent video of spliced-together found-film footage embellished with colored shapes and animated lines not unlike those used by John Baldessari. When various performers improvise to this montage, it is a movie that is also a score for its own soundtrack.” Here’s how it looked when performed at the Whitney Museum in New York in 2010.
If this all sounds a little abstract and weird, it’s worth remembering that Marclay is considered a pioneering artist in his integration of sound and vision. In the late 1970s, he was one of the first musicians—along with members of the hip-hop community—to manipulate a turntable as a musical instrument in and of itself. The Clock (2010) has been a sensation, with patrons forming long lines to enter galleries where it was playing in London and New York. The whole 24-hour shebang will be screened in full four times, the first of which will coincide with Northern Spark on June 14-15.
The complete Summer Music and Movies lineup is below. In the meantime, if you’re looking to hang out and enjoy some tunes on the Walker’s lawn, there’s always this li’l party we’re throwing with them next month.
Monday, August 4, Loring Park
Music: The Cloak Ox are a smart, hard-hitting rock band who have won critical acclaim. Hear their 2011 session in our studios.
Movie: High Noon is an iconic 1952 Western starring Gary Cooper as a town marshal who has to defend against a gang of killers. It’s the all-time most popular movie in the White House viewing room.
Monday, August 11, Loring Park
Music: ZuluZuluu are a soulful psychedelic hip-hop band project featuring local artist Greg Grease. They’re very new as a group, so it will be interesting to see what they come up with by August—but it’s sure to be interesting. Hear their song “Let It Go” on SoundCloud.
Movie: D.O.A. is a 1950 film noir about a man who’s been fatally poisoned and must find his killer in the few days he has left to live. (It’s also a 2006 ninja movie based on the video game Dead or Alive, but that one is perhaps for a different summer series.)
Monday, August 18, Loring Park
Music: The Handsome Family are an alt-country duo who are often described as “gothic.” Expect a rocking but appropriately foreboding prelude to…
Movie: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 classic dark satire about the Cold War.
Monday, August 25, Walker Open Field
Music + Film: Christian Marclay’s Graffiti Composition and Screen Play with Laurent Estoppey, Ikue Mori, and Anthony Coleman
Introduction by Christian Marclay, in person