Adele Crawford documented her time in the Kimball Education Gallery and has put it together in a charming video that highlights the beautiful work and experiences that took place last September.
The Overtone Crown is a wearable instrument. It is made from a modified bicycle helmet and holds eight tuning forks. The listener wears the Crown as the player resonates the forks with a bow. This creates a stereophonic field of shimmering overtones around the listener’s head.
The Overtone Crown uses an octave’s worth of Biosonics tuning forks (C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C) in Pythagorean tuning. When bowed, the third harmonic of each fork resonates most strongly, so it sounds as a G major scale. The forks can easily be switched out for different scales and tunings.
To create the Overtone Crown, I filled the top seven air holes of the helmet with silicone in order to flexibly hold the tuning forks in place. The silicone was covered in shaped polymer clay and epoxy, which was then sanded down. I also drilled an additional hole in the front of the helmet to hold an eighth fork, an octave higher than the central top fork.
I brushed on base layers of silver acrylic paint and transparent acrylic medium. Then thin coats of chrome spray paint were applied.
The Overtone Crown is a companion piece to my drawing, The Auracle. This drawing is a visualization of the resonances from the Crown and how they may connect with the listener’s body. Opportunities to experience the Overtone Crown and the Auracle will be available during my residency at the de Young.
Shawn Feeney has curated a sound series for Friday Nights at the de Young during his residency in June. Join the artist each friday for a musical activity or for his closing reception at the end of the month. The gallery is open from 1-8:30 pm on Fridays, but special performances are as follows:
Friday June 5, 7-8pm: Ambient Soundscape
Join musicians & sound artists Jennifer Hutson, Elise Youssoufian, Gregory Hagan, and Robert Usher as they create a peaceful soundscape for gallery visitors to wade in. Instruments include singing bowls, overtone singing, shruti box, tuning forks, and more.
Friday June 12, 7-8pm: Music Inspired By Art
Composer Gabriela Lena Frank will give a discussion and performance about Ira Arca, an artwork she commissioned from Feeney. Other musicians including Bill Wolter and Wally Scharold will play short vignettes inspired by Feeney’s Musical Anatomy artworks.
Friday June 19, 7-8pm: Raw Shack (Musical Game Piece)
Musicians including Bill Wolter, Ayla Xander Dozier, Shireen Amini, Gregory Hagan, Sheila Bosco, and Tina Fagnani perform Feeney’s fast-paced and fun improvisational game piece, Raw Shack. Musicians have to quickly interpret written instructions on cue cards.
Friday, June 26, 6-8:30 pm: Closing Reception
Celebrate the artist’s installation, “Musical Anatomy” with refreshments.
“Indispensable” is a monthly series that asks the de Young’s Artists in Residence to explain a tool that they find essential to their work and can be found at
Plastered with rock and roll stickers and sporting a needle made for leather, Ben Venom’s Juki F600 has even drawn some blood. “I’ve sewed through my fingers a few times,” says Venom. “It’s not pretty.”
The artist in residence in the Kimball Education Gallery through May 31, visitors can see Venom sewing quilts inspired by tattoo shops, motorcycle gangs, strip clubs and other venues he calls “the fringes of society.” As a quilter, he needs a machine that’s able to wrestle with large amounts of fabric, versatile enough to handle his materials—leather, denim, upholstery fabric—and small enough to fit into his studio.
“I have another machine, but it’s more like a sh—ty Honda Accord. This one is a suped-up Camero,” says Venom. Like a muscle car, the machine starts with a dangerous purr and revs up to a machine gun cadence. And it can take a toll on his body. “It’s like driving a stick shift, and I can spend 14 hours a day on it. It caused an issue with my sciatic nerve and I couldn’t walk for 3 days.”
Venom describes his work as a “collision between different ideas—hard and soft, masculine and feminine, good and evil.” The Juki F600 is ground zero for that collision. Setting aside the automotive metaphor, Venom calls on another mighty machine. “You know the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland? This is like a Sewing Machine Collider for me. It’s where energy is released.”
“It sounds ridiculous when I say ‘You don’t know how dangerous this thing can be man,’ but it’s kind of true. And let’s face it, there’s a lot of ridiculousness in what I do. I hope it’s just ridiculous enough to circle all the way back around to genius.””
Visitors—it’s time to fire up your artistic imaginations! Remember your favorite artwork from the de Young? Think the art historical labels don’t relate enough to your life? See a new meaning in an old work of art? This is your chance to dust off old photos and share your experiences to become part of My Museum, the de Young’s upcoming, month-long project turning the museum inside out and giving the collection over to its visitors. My Museum is Victoria Heilweil and Chris Treggiari’s residency project to reutilize and open up the Kimball Gallery and, through it, the entire on-display collection for the public to make its own.
Using questionnaires and interactive stations, the two artists plan to use the month of July to reconceive the museum through both its architecture and informational handouts. This will include racks of postcards reflecting personal experiences with the collection, alternate walking tours with self-guided maps.
By emulating the framework of the museum but leaving the content open, they’ll swing the doors wide to display your own memories and experiences with works of art at the de Young. Bring along the saga of your first school visit to the museum, last week’s confrontation with an African mask, or the epic story of an early American work’s impact on you. They’ll help refashion it into a crowd-pleasing, blow-by-blow account of the episode. Then, they will attach your stories to a wooden map of the de Young galleries and use your quotes to fashion postcards, tours, and catalogues. During the ongoing archive of these stories, new maps and cards will allow visitors to navigate the museum anew as a tome of experiences collated from both locals’ lazy Sundays and tourists’ treks through our collection of art history.
Victoria and Chris will also serve as a mirror of the museum by focusing on the oiled cogs and mechanisms that make the museum run flawlessly—the physical and intellectual labor, the janitorial work, the various booths and shops throughout the museum. The whole variety of information that is typically simply there, unnoticed, will be highlighted through a photographic and interview-based project celebrating the behind-the-scenes work.
– by Christopher Squier
Sarah Hotchkiss of KQED writes on Antiprism, an exploration of space, time, and perspective.
In the de Young Museum’s Kimball Education Gallery, an investigation of intergalactic proportions is underway. During a month-long residency at the museum, artist, playwright and musician Jon Bernson and collaborators have explored the Vessel XII controversy, described as a series of 12 unexplained broadcasts that interrupted television sets around the world over a period of 23 years. The transmissions mysteriously end in 2009, the year digital conversion rendered our old cathode ray tube sets obsolete.