20 April 2014

1968: Nam June Paik, Charlotte Moorman, at New Paltz

So there I was, minding my own business in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. The Gregory Battcock Archive installation by Joseph Grigely was capturing my attention for a variety of reasons and then .... there .... on the wall was a poster for the Intermedia '68 tour by Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman to some SUNY campuses, including New Paltz. It's the lower framed item on the right wall in the picture above, image from the Grigely page on the Whitney Biennial website. Attending that concert is one of the most memorable, still in the mind's eye, occasions of my undergraduate years at New Paltz State.

The concert was so memorable for all the right reasons and for one more. At some point during the concert, a student, thinking this was participatory theater, threw a cymbal back on stage. All stage action stopped, Paik ordered that the student leave the auditorium. It may have seemed like chaos in the spring of 1968 but it was scripted theater and music, aka intermedia.

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