The Art Guys Light Up Duke Bluebeard's Castle for Houston Symphony

Classic Arts News   The Art Guys Light Up Duke Bluebeard's Castle for Houston Symphony
 
The Houston Symphony's performances on January 15-17 of Bart‹k's Duke Bluebeard's Castle will feature an innovative lighting installation by the art team known as the Art Guys.

Mezzo-soprano Sally Burgess and tenor Fran‹ois LeRoux will sing the roles of Judith and Duke Bluebeard in this staged concert performance.

The Art Guys: artists Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing: have created an installation for the performance made, according to the Houston Chronicle, out of miniature lights, Spandex, and computers. The LEDs are installed under the musicians' chairs, which are wrapped from seat to floor in translucent Spandex skirts, creating, when the LEDs are activated, a box of glowing light.

The lights are choreographed to fit the music and the story line of a woman who discovers her new husband's dark secrets behind a series of locked doors. The artists have been working closely with Hans Graf, the orchestra's music director who will conduct the performances.

According to the Chronicle, Galbreth and Massing thought about using video images projected onto a screen behind the musicians (like the L.A. Philharmonic's Tristan Project), but rejected the idea. "Not interesting, distinctive, cool enough," the artists told the paper. "You see it at every rock concert."

The artists wanted to keep the project indirect. "The concept had to be suggestive rather than being an actual staging," Galbreth added. "After all, it's the Houston Symphony, not Houston Grand Opera."

The Art Guys are best known for their absurd slant on art: sculptures made of short-lived materials such as carrots or cheese; a floor-to-ceiling stack of pennies; a telephone encased in a thousand coats of paint; a giant nose sculpture that sneezes copiously. They have worked in performance art, installation, sculpture, and photography. This is their first project with an orchestra.


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