Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Trimpin exhibition info (Sept.26, 2006 to Jan.14, 2007)

Here is the press release for the Trimpin exhibition, which is coming to Tacoma Art Museum from Sept. 26, 2006 to Jan. 14, 2007 – as well as info and websites about other Trimpin exhibitions in the area.


This info can also be found on paper in the new, “upcoming exhibitions” binder at the Docent Desk.


The “upcoming exhibitions” binder also includes the New Yorker article on Trimpin, from May 8, 2006.


Beginning in July 2005, several Washington museums are engaged in a two-year-long survey of Trimpin’s work, with installations and/or performances occurring at the Henry Art Gallery, Consolidated Works, the Frye Art Museum and Suyama Space in Seattle; the Museum of Glass in Tacoma; the Washington State University Museum of Art (Pullman); and, across the border, at the Vancouver Jazz Festival in Vancouver, Canada.



This article explains the two-year Trimpin exhibitions in general, and also has a paragraph for each individual exhibition explaining what it consisted of and what it was about:


The Tacoma Art Museum website has many links to online information about Trimpin:

Links include: Conlon Nancarrow biography and an article about Trimpin’s guitar sculpture at the Experience Music Project.


MacArthur Fellows Program Overview:


1701 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98402




August 9, 2006


Tacoma Art Museum Presents Conloninpurple by

 Seattle Sound Artist and MacArthur “Genius” Trimpin

Culminating Exhibition in Year-Long Regional Tribute


(Tacoma, WA) – Tacoma Art Museum will be the final venue for the year-long regional survey celebrating twenty-five years of the remarkable work done by composer and sound sculptor Trimpin. Conloninpurple, a sound-art installation, opens September 26, 2006, and will be on view until January 14, 2007.


Gerhard Trimpin (who legally goes only by his last name) is an independent researcher and experimenter in musical, acoustical, and sound sculpture design. He regularly combines music composition, kinetics, and computer technology in his work. In 1997, he received a substantial award from the MacArthur Fellows Program, more commonly known as the “MacArthur genius grant,” for his exceptional creativity.


The German-born composer and sculptor has lived and worked in Seattle since 1979. He created Conloninpurple in honor of composer Conlon Nancarrow, an avant-garde composer best known for the technical complexity of his music. The installation is a five-octave instrument created from tuned wooden and metal bars. Each instrument is grouped into individual hanging columns and fitted with an electromagnetic mallet system. A magnetic field activates a plunger which shoots upward and strikes the wooden bar.  Sounds range from almost inaudible to full force. The room-sized piece produces natural sounds that can be played by museum visitors or set to pre-composed musical sequences. The Holter Museum of Art in Helena, Montana, originally commissioned the installation in 1997.


“Trimpin is one of Seattle’s most talented and best hidden artists. His sound sculptures have informed a new contemporary art vocabulary and helped define the role of sound in recent art”, said Rock Hushka, Interim Head of the Curatorial Department and Curator of Northwest and Contemporary Art. “His works engage visitors on multiple levels and invite them to participate in the experience, rather than to just be passive observers. He highlights the unexpected importance of sound in the visual experience.”


Conloninpurple is Trimpin’s second installation at Tacoma Art Museum. His first was 1993’s PHFFFT-ARRRGH. One of his best-known pieces in the region is If VI Was IX, housed at the Experience Music Project. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen commissioned the tower of guitars, which can play most any song and can even tune themselves.


                Trimpin was trained as a traditional musician but health issues forced him to refocus on alternative forms of musical expression. His work has earned international acclaim, and he is celebrated as one of the world’s foremost innovators in sound sculpture. In addition to numerous grants and fellowships in Seattle and Washington State, Trimpin has also received a National Endowment for the Arts Artist Grant, a Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Foundation “Artist At Giverny, France” grant, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He was recently featured in the May 8, 2006 issue of The New Yorker.


During 2005 and 2006, a consortium of eleven regional art organizations, including Seattle Art Museum, The Frye Art Museum, Museum of Glass, and The Henry Art Gallery, presented Trimpin’s work through sequential exhibitions of newly commissioned and major past installations. This collaborative project honors his life and the work he created in this region for the past twenty-five years and was organized by independent curator Beth Sellars. Tacoma Art Museum is proud to be the culminating venue.



Heide Fernandez-Llamazares

Assistant Museum Educator and Docent Coordinator



1701 Pacific Avenue

Tacoma, Washington 98402

T: 253.272.4258 x3018

F: 253.627.1898

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