November 26, 2010
Who doesn’t love sipping coffee and looking at art while enjoying the sounds of local musicians? Sunday, November 7 marked the beginning of a new Luce Foundation Center Art+Coffee performance series, aka Luce Unplugged, which we hope will encourage visitors to do just that!
Luce Unplugged (wonderfully named by museum staff member Laurel Fehrenbach) features a talk about a particular artwork, given by one of the Luce Center staff, followed by a performance by a local musician (or musicians). The local instrumental trio, Star FK Radium, kicked off the series. Star FK Radium, whose name is a clever play on RFK Stadium, the beloved former home of the Washington Redskins and current home of Washington's soccer team, DC United, chose the artwork for that day’s talk—Il Penseroso by sculptor Joseph Mozier.
The neoclassical marble sculpture is based on the allegorical figure of Melancholy from John Milton's 1632 poem Il Penseroso. Milton's central character, the Thinker, embodies both the black melancholy that afflicts its victims with depression and the golden melancholy that inspires poets. After listening to Star FK Radium’s performance, I understood why they picked this artwork. Their music is both sad and surprisingly uplifting. Band members, Alissa Taylor (violin), Bill Martien (guitar), and Matt Clarke (percussion) favor melodic arrangements that push the boundaries of traditional compositions. To get a better feel for the band's sound, read about Il Penseroso and then listen to their music.
Next up for Luce Unplugged: local songwriter and guitarist Aaron Thompson performs Sunday, January 23. Thompson chose House, by Russell Gillespie, because Thompson said his music is often inspired by the idea of place.
One visitor commented that viewing the art while listening to the music was a "great auditory/visual experience!" We hope you can make it to our second Luce Unplugged.
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