Museum of Contemporary Art

Motor Cocktail: Sound and Movement in Art of the 1960s

02 Jul - 30 Oct 2011

Jean Tinguely
Motor Cocktail, 1965
Collection Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, gift of Joseph and Jory Shapiro; 1992.73 © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. Photo © MCA Chicago
2 July - 30 October, 2011

Motor Cocktail brings together artists from the 1960s in the MCA's Collection who used sound and movement to directly engage individuals within mass consumer society and draw them into an immediate sensual experience with the artworks. Jean Tinguely's Motor Cocktail (1965), fully restored for this exhibition and on view for the first time in 30 years, is one of the exhibition's focal points. Constructed from scrap metal, the sculpture sets a metal rooster in raucous motion, rotating in harmony with movement of the sun's jagged disc. In marked contrast is François and Bernard Baschet's musical sculpture Aluminum Piano (1962), which "plays like a piano and sounds like a glockenspiel." Since the 1950s, the Baschet brothers began systematically inventing new acoustic instruments that defy easy classification as either visual or musical art. But they share with Tinguely a desire to creatively engage the individual. François Baschet writes: "Philosophically, we think that, in our machine-oriented automated society, creativity is the only way to avoid mass ossification. Sound sculpture is a tool as much as an art form. The Sculptor makes something, and musicians or visitors use it to create their own art. It is a double-trigger operation." This statement expresses a sentiment prevalent at the time and provides a framework for the other artists included in the exhibition: Jesus Rafael Soto, Takis (Panayotis Vassilakis), Josef Albers, Julio le Parc, Gregorio Vardanega, and George Rickey. Experimental musicians will be playing and accompanying François and Bernard Baschet's Aluminum Piano (details below).

The exhibition is curated by MCA Marjorie Susman Curatorial Fellow Timothy Grundy.

Crystal Baschet Concerts:
Experimental musicians will play and accompany François and Bernard Baschet's Aluminum Piano in the exhibition's gallery space, 2-3 pm, on the following dates:

July 1: Hal Rammel, Eric Leonardson, and Ed Herrmann
July 29: Jim Dorling and Sam Wagster
Aug 26: Coppice (Noe Cuellar and Joseph Kramer)
Sept 30: Gregory O'Drobinak, Eric Leonardson, and Ed Herrmann
Oct 28: Dan Mohr and Adam Vida

Tags: Josef Albers, Julio Le Parc, George Rickey, Jesús Rafael Soto, Takis, Jean Tinguely, Gregorio Vardanega