Site-specific installation and performance by Martha McDonald at Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, Asheville, NC, November 18, 2017. Music for Modernist Shapes reimagined a 1936 performance that Bauhaus alum Xanti Schawinsky made with students at Black Mountain College called Spectodrama. The historic performance included folded paper costumes, light projections and live music. Composer/multi-instrumentalist Laura Baird composed an original score drawing on archival scores from Schawinsky’s performance collaborations with Black Mountain College music teacher John Evarts, avant garde music from 1936 and Appalachian folk songs from the Black Mountain region. McDonald and Baird activated the installation of objects and costumes, conjuring the memory of this little-known work from the experimental college’s rich performance history.
Music for Modernist Shapes was commissioned by Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center as part of ACTIVE ARCHIVE: Martha McDonald, an exhibition of work from the museum’s permanent collection curated by McDonald and an installation and performance she made in response to the collection.