|The best kinds of art ephemera not only evoke a specific art event but also capture broader cultural trends. The flyer above announcing an exhibition of hand-notated scores and a series of concerts by composer Steve Reich at a leading Soho gallery, is a reminder that the concept of “minimalism” influenced both visual artists and musicians, and that all these artists regularly intermixed and exchanged ideas in downtown NY in the late 60s and 70s.
Steve Reich, one of the pioneers of minimal music, had particularly strong connections to the art world. He knew Richard Serra and Sol LeWitt, and many of his earliest performances took place in art venues like MoMA in New York (1971), and the Barbican in London (1972). The fact that minimalism existed as a style in both art and music helped legitimize it in both fields, and was an argument frequently repeated and promoted.
The John Weber Gallery’s decision to exhibit Reich’s scores was both innovative and logical. The gallery’s top artists — Carl Andre and Sol LeWitt — also used a limited vocabulary of forms that they animated through repetition and variation. Their exhibition announcement cards even read like music scores, with installation instructions notating the sequence of variation from piece to piece.
Gallery 98 has a large selection of cards, posters and programs connected to minimal music. Visit: Glass, Reich & Young. We also have a full collection of “The Calendar for New Music” covering the 70s and 80s (these have not been posted).