16 May, 2017Print
Brooklyn’s Pioneer Works Presents Performative Exhibition ‘Grand Ole Opera’ – Opening 6/9, Feat Concerts From Lightning Bolt, Wolf Eyes, Sleep + More
Pioneer Works is pleased to present ‘Grand Ole Opera,’ a performative exhibition by Tennessee-born artists Willie Stewart and Brent Stewart, opening June 9th and remaining on view through July 30th. The truly singular project combines art with musical performances, and will host Lightning Bolt, Sleep, Wolf Eyes + more throughout June and July. Complete performance schedule below, ticketing info here: http://bit.ly/2rnbNLG
6/11: Angel Deradoorian (free)
6/23: Lightning Bolt
7/7: Wolf Eyes, Circuit des Yeux performing as Jackie Lynn, Dreamcrusher
7/14 & 7/15: Sleep
7/19 & 7/20: Fushitsusha (co-presented by Blank Forms)
7/21: Hank Wood and the Hammerheads
7/28: Bob Bellerue, Pedestrian Deposit
7/29: The Body, Author & Punisher, Moor Mother
'Grand Ole Opera' is inspired by a 1944 incident in which country star Bob Wills appalled traditionalists when he performed with a drum kit on the Grand Ole Opry, and a marks the Stewarts’ institutional debut in the United States. With Willis’ iconoclastic break with tradition in mind, The Stewarts’ ‘Grand Ole Opera’ stages immersive theatrical installations that recreate their Southern heritage and childhood experiences, paying homage while complicating and transgressing the clichés of the American South.
Within ‘Grand Ole Opera,’ cinematic tableaus reveal a scorched truck tuned to AM radio, a nomadic biker bar, an endless burning sun projected inside a Revival tent, flickering television monitors and bizarre trailer-homes containing surreal sculptural landscapes and visual ephemera of both artists’ works. Adopting the role of twin brothers Romulus and Remus from the Roman Myth, the Stewarts are subjects of a video piece staged as a bar fight that casts Southern alienation in a mythological light. Finally, by transforming a traditional Southern evangelical revival tent into a venue for noise, metal and rock music performances, ‘Grand Ole Opera’ evokes Dan Graham’s influential film ‘Rock My Religion’ (1982-84).
Together, these installations and musical performances evoke an America that is both violent and sublime, defined less by prescribed decorum but is rather constantly mutating through a simultaneous appropriation and dissemination of culture. Objects and movements resonate with a peculiar tone and timbre: a U.S. toy soldier manufactured in China for children abroad who may later kill or be killed; relief agencies making air-drops in Haiti of Guns N’ Roses T-shirts supplied by a sweatshop in Manila; psychics selling fantasies roadside or on TV; millions of bottles of Coca-Cola floating in the trash gyre of the Pacific Northwest. The soundtrack of this America is Doom and Sludge Metal, Japanese noise music, rock and psychedelic punk.
More info on The Stewarts
Willie Stewart was born in Gallatin, Tennessee, on December 30, 1982. His family belonged to an outlaw motorcycle club. Willie was raised by his great-grandmother, Doris, a seamstress, and he was homeschooled by his grandmother, Susan, a truck-stop waitress. On weekdays, Willie went to the truck- stop with his grandmother and played Dungeons & Dragons with the other waitresses' children. On weekends, when Willie's mother, Heidi, had free time, she brought him to concerts, including The Melvins and Kiss at The Pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee.
As a teenager, Willie got into underground music and films of the 80s and 90s. After high-school, Willie took a ten-year break from academics and studied analog electronics, played guitar professionally with Yoko Ono, and was a commercial display artist for four years before he returned to the Cooper Union to complete his Bachelor's of Fine Art degree.
Brent Stewart is native to Nashville, and is a multi-media artist. His works range from painting, photography, and video installation to feature films. He received his MFA in 2003 from Goldsmiths College, London. In 2010, his work was included in the LA-based Robert & Tiltons gallery show: “Projections: 31 of the most influential filmmakers of our time” and that same year was profiled in Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film”. His photography appears in the Nike- sponsored exhibition and published edition: Being True, “22 Years of American Youth”. His short film, The Dirty Ones, produced by film auteur Harmony Korine and French fashion designer agnés b, premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
More info on Pioneer Works
Pioneer Works is a non-profit arts center for research and experimentation in contemporary culture. Through a broad range of exhibitions, performances, arts and science residencies, and educational programs, Pioneer Works seeks to transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries, foster community, and provide a space to tangibly support and bring to life alternative modes of thought. Founded in 2012 by artist Dustin Yellin, the center is located in a 25,000-square-foot former manufacturing warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn.