Performance at the Guggenheim: Blood Makes Noise
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Curated by Nat Trotman
December 2014

In her sculptures, performances, and installations Naama Tsabar examines the behavioral codes and power structures embedded in the culture of popular music. Her hybrid, gallery-based artworks often function dually as sculptures and instruments. Made in muted colors using industrial materials like plywood, felt, and paper, these pieces recall Postminimalist art of the 1970s, but in place of abstract formalism Tsabar infuses her works with the dynamism of live performance. Activating these objects in art contexts, she and her collaborators engage complex relationships between bodies and space, playing music that ranges from experimental noise to more conventional songwriting.

For Blood Makes Noise, Tsabar presents three sculptures that explore ideas of power, collaboration, and interpersonal exchange through the motif of doubling. In Untitled (Double Face) (2010/14) she conjoins two electric guitars so that they can only be played through a couple’s mutual efforts. A trio of performers generates sound with Work on Felt (Variation Three) (2014) by beating, stroking, or plucking the pair of taut piano strings attached to either end of a large felt panel. Closer (2014) is similarly bifurcated: a corner formed by two seemingly austere walls reveals a colorful interior space containing a microphone and guitar strings. In order to function musically, each of these works requires personal negotiation and active, even intimate, physical engagement, adding a strong sense of psychological and emotional tension to Tsabar’s performances.

- Text by Nat Trotman

Collaborating musicians: Kristin Mueller, Lindsay A. Powell (AKA Fielded), Mindy Abovitz, Shahar Yahalom.

*Supported by the Artis Grant Program

Closer, 2014, Wood, metal, microphones, microphone stands, tuners, guitar strings,  54.5'' x 54.5'' x 9'

Work On Felt (Variation 3), 2014, Industrial felt, carbon fiber, epoxy, guitar tuner, piano string, 71'' x 114''

Untitled (Double Face), 2014 (first edition 2010), Mixed media with two guitars, 39.4'' x 12'' x 13''