Monday, March 26, 2007

Anthony Luensman - Paavo's Hands

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Arts center, hotel house previous works

In 2003, Anthony Luensman created a musically inspired suite of six sculptures for the opening of the Contemporary Arts Center.
He called it Zeloso (dzeh-loh-soh), a word meaning enthusiastically or zealously and that sometimes is scribbled on a score by a conductor to signal the mood to the performers.
The pieces were made for the UnMuseum on the sixth floor. While this is the designated children's space and the sculptures are playful, they also are quite sophisticated and have cross-generational appeal.
They were not intended to be permanent fixtures but two of the originals remain - "Paavo's Hands" and "BicycleHornSpeaker." A third one, the raucous "Singin' & Ringin' Chandelier" doorbell featuring soprano Blythe Walker, is now in the collection of Louisville's 21C Hotel but was replaced by a new Luensman piece, "Platterbell."
It's a door bell whose ring is the late James Brown's album "It's A New Day - Let A Man Come In." The album, recorded at Cincinnati's King Records, spins in full view overhead. On the wall, there is an explanation of what a record is for those too young to have come across one.
Inside, "Paavo's Hands" allows visitors to play at conducting. A step up onto a small, red-carpeted platform and a wave of the arms through a wooden proscenium, triggers the sound of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra warming up. Within seconds you're conducting excerpts from Igor Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite." The finale is an ego-boosting round of applause just like the one that the piece's namesake, CSO conductor Paavo Järvi, so often receives.
Dangling from the ceiling nearby is "BicycleHornSpeaker." Push a button and the horn turns toward you and plays a series of guitar licks written for the piece by Grammy-winning rock guitarist Peter Frampton.
The UnMuseum is on the sixth floor of the center, which is open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 513-721-0390,

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