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Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles to premiere David Hammons performance film of restaged 'Global Fax Festival'
‘Global Fax Festival’ a new performance by David Hammons dedicated to Butch Morris in collaboration with Monday Evening Concerts and pianist Myra Melford. Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 10 May 2021. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Elon Schoenholz Photography © 2021.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Starting 25 May, Hauser & Wirth’s digital art magazine Ursula will present ‘Global Fax Festival’ – a new performance film by David Hammons dedicated to composer/conductor Lawrence D. ‘Butch’ Morris and created in collaboration with Los Angeles’ venerated Monday Evening Concerts and virtuoso pianist Myra Melford.

The film documents Hammons’ first-ever restaging of his noted 2000 project ‘Global Fax Festival’ here conducted in the gallery’s outdoor courtyard in early May 2021. After more than a year of isolation during the pandemic, Hammons conceived this event as a gesture toward the reawakening of Los Angeles, set within the space that two years ago hosted the largest survey of his work ever organized. On view at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles from 18 May through 11 August 2019, the exhibition ‘David Hammons’ was dedicated to Ornette Coleman.

The new ‘Global Fax Festival’ performance film features a solo improvisational piano performance by Myra Melford. A former Butch Morris collaborator, Melford plays in dialogue with projected footage of Morris, who passed away in 2013, performing Conductions®, his trademarked technique that merges conducting and improvisation.

‘Global Fax Festival’

In 2000, Hammons installed nine fax machines in the cathedral-like ceiling of the Crystal Palace in Madrid. Part installation, part performance, ‘Global Fax Festival’ transformed the palace’s vast space through the transmission of paper messages that were sent in from around the world and, upon printing, fluttered down from the machines like a soft winter snow, gradually filling the floor over a five-month period. Five days before the festival’s end, Hammons and composer/conductor Butch Morris collaborated on a concert, one of the improvisational performances that Morris called Conductions, integrating sampled recordings with ambient sounds.

With his new and adapted ‘Global Fax Festival,’ messages no longer pour from fax machines but instead are dispersed on the ground, as if left in the wake of a storm. Morris’ presence is recaptured on screens that display recordings of the conductor gesturing directives during previous Conduction® performances. In turn, Morris’ virtual cues now prompt pianist Myra Melford—a former Butch Morris collaborator and an authority on his music and gestural language—to respond with her own live, improvisational sounds (layered on top of recorded sounds from the original performance), bringing past and present together and animating the festival for a new generation.

Hauser & Wirth’s release of Hammons’ film follows the recent completion of his major permanent public art project ‘Day’s End’ at Hudson River Park in New York City, and also coincides with ‘David Hammons: Body Prints, 1968 – 1979,’ the artist’s first museum exhibition dedicated to works on paper, currently on view at The Drawing Center, New York.

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