The Chicago Artists Coalition is pleased to present A Rainbow in Curved Air, featuring HATCH Artist Residents Lesley Jackson, Meg Leary, and Matt Mancini.
“And then all wars ended / Arms of every kind were outlawed and the masses gladly contributed them to giant foundries in which they were melted down and the metal poured back into the earth / The Pentagon was turned on its side and painted purple, yellow & green / All boundaries were dissolved / The slaughter of animals was forbidden / The whole of lower Manhattan became a meadow in which unfortunates from the Bowery were allowed to live out their fantasies in the sunshine and were cured …”
This is excerpted from the liner notes of composer Terry Riley’s groundbreaking 1969 album A Rainbow in Curved Air, a masterpiece of both keyboard virtuosity and improvisation. Somewhere in the mix of technical mastery and the free-wheeling, hippy spirit emerges a utopian vision not only of peace but of personal happiness and pleasure. We often find improvisation steeped in utopian idealism. Sun Ra’s revolutionary free jazz, for instance, spawned the Afro-futurist ethos of intergalactic emancipation, but it’s important to remember that Sun Ra valued “precision and discipline” over total freedom. Matt Mancini, Lesley Jackson, and Meg Leary harness the extemporaneity of lived experience and channel it through carefully structured forms to evoke an alternative to the bleak political quagmires of this era.
A Rainbow in Curved Air is curated by Danny Floyd.