Members of the four-time Grammy-winning contemporary music sextet Eighth Blackbird present a series of musical love letters to masterworks from the Art Institute collection. Performances take place in the galleries throughout the museum.
With Love Letters, Eighth Blackbird introduces an intimate new perspective on the relationships between music and visual arts. Rather than explore their shared aesthetics, we seek to empathize with specific works in the Art Institute collection, asking, “What would this work of art like to hear?” We wonder what a painting thinks about as it hangs on a gallery wall day after day. What kind of performance would be meaningful to the artwork? This is a fun way for us to reconsider what a work of art communicates, which of its characteristics are distinctive attributes of the work in a personal sense. What if a work had a sense of humor? What if it was self-consciousness, or proud of some particular part of itself?
We’ll be popping up in selected galleries, sending our “love letters” to specific works in the collection—performing for the works themselves. In so doing we seek to deepen our relationships with the works through a personal offering, the gift of an intentional performance. The public is invited to eavesdrop.
—Matthew Duvall of Eighth Blackbird
Nathalie Joachim, flutes
Matt Albert, violin
Matthew Duvall, percussion
Zachary Good, clarinets
Nick Photinos, cello
Lisa Kaplan, piano
Elisabeth de La Guerre, harpsichord prelude (arr. Good) (~1687) for Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Woman at the Piano (1875–76)
Performer: Zach Good (Clarinet)
Thomas Kotcheff, All Roads are Near (2013) for the Andō Gallery
Performers: Matthew Duvall (vibraphone) and Nick Photinos (cello)
Nina Shekhar, Adrift (2014) for Gustave Moreau’s Hercules and the Lernaean Monster (1875/76)
Performer: Nathalie Joachim (flute)
“Dare to come near me and I will swallow your ship.”
P.S. Thanks for the dinner
Gerard Grisey, Anubis Nout (1990) for Field Armor
Performer: Zach Good (clarinet)
Ken Ueno, Age of Aircraft (2002) for Georgia O’Keeffe, Sky above Clouds IV (1965)
Performer: Nick Photinos (cello)
Kristin Kuster, Axon (2019) for the Alsdorf Galleries of Indian, Southeast Asian, Himalayan, and Islamic Art
Performer: Matt Albert (violin)
Allison Loggins-Hull, Homeland (2018) for Randolph Rogers’s Nydia, the Blind Flower Girl of Pompeii (1855–56)
Jacob T.V., The Body of Your Dreams, for Roy Lichtenstein’s Woman III (1982)
Performer: Lisa Kaplan (piano)
Richard Reed Perry, Duo for Heart and Breath (2014) for Pablo Picasso’s Mother and Child (1921)
Performers: Matt Albert (violin) and Matthew Duvall (vibraphone)
About Eighth Blackbird
Hailed as “one of the smartest, most dynamic contemporary classical ensembles on the planet” by the Chicago Tribune, Eighth Blackbird began in 1996 as a group of six entrepreneurial Oberlin Conservatory students and quickly became “a brand-name defined by adventure, vibrancy and quality” (Detroit Free Press). Over the course of more than two decades, Eighth Blackbird has continually pushed at the edges of what it means to be a contemporary chamber ensemble, presenting distinct programs in Chicago, nationally, and internationally, reaching audiences totaling tens of thousands.
About Artists Connect
Artists Connect is a series of in-gallery programs that highlight the creative process. Artists, poets, dancers, and musicians engage with works of art, making connections to their own practice and inspiring new ways of understanding the Art Institute’s collection.
Persons with disabilities who would like to request an accessibility accommodation for an Art Institute program are encouraged to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org two weeks in advance of the program.
Support for public programs is provided in part by the Woman’s Board of the Art Institute of Chicago.