MARCH 19 & 20, 2005

Consent To Gravity
RISD Auditorium
South Main Street
Providence RI
March 19 at 8pm
March 20 at 3pm
Price $20.00 general
$15.00 for seniors & children
$10.00 for RISD students wt ID
& at the door
Information 401-847-4470

Consent To Gravity
The RISD Museum
224 Benefit Street
Providence, RI 02903
January 28-May 22, 2005
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm
Third Thursday monthly until 9pm
Admission: Adults $8
senior citizens (age 62+) $5
youths (ages 5-18) $2
college students with valid ID $3
FREE!!: Sunday, 10am-1pm
5-9pm on 3rd Thursday
Friday, 12noon-1:30pm
& Free-For-All Saturdays (last Saturday of the month)
Sunday, February 27
At 2:30pm
Admission: Free
Information: 401-454-6500

Frederick Sommer
RISD Museum

Frederick Sommer's Photographs and Musical Scores An exhibition at The RISD Museum of Art
A lecture by RISD curator & Danny McCusker
A performance by Island Moving Co.

"In dance, as well as in paintings, drawings or musical scores, empathy is given to the gravity-related distribution of leverages across the visual field. A dancer's elegant articulation of structure is display of inventive consent to gravity which mirrors our own need to honor gravity on all occasions." - Frederick Sommer

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Sommer, the RISD Museum is mounting an exhibit of his photographs and musical scores.

Sommer taught in RISD's photography department in 1973 and returned to lecture and exhibit in 1984. Consent to Gravity, on view at The RISD Museum from January 28 through May 22, 2005, highlights his photographs from the 1940s through the 1960s - the work for which he is best known - along with a selection of his unusual musical scores. Eleven photographs from the Museum's permanent collection will be exhibited along with three photographs and three musical scores generously loaned by the Frederick and Frances Sommer Foundation.

The RISD Museum is collaborating with the Newport contemporary ballet company Island Moving Co. to celebrate the artist's inventive and haunting work through movement. The exhibition will be complemented by a landmark choreographic interpretation of Mr. Sommer's scores, also titled Consent to Gravity, which will be performed by Island Moving Co. at the RISD Auditorium on Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20.

Frederick Sommer began studying the graphic quality of musical scores in the 1930s and experimented with the genre into the 1970s. Fascinated by the pictorial logic and structure of scores, he created his own, asserting that "where a thing is, is more important than what a thing is." The resulting paintings and drawings are not notated in terms of standard musical values, so Sommer's markings require interpretive translation to take form as sound and movement. How does one play or dance a wide, black brushstroke, for instance? Such was the mission of the musicians and choreographers Island Moving Co. has gathered to bring Sommer's scores to life.

Choreographers Daniel McCusker and Carol Somers, the Providence String Quartet, composer Christopher Eastburn under the direction of Miki Ohlsen and Project Director Thomas Palmer, and the eight dancers of the Island Moving Co. have responded to Sommer's scores (and equally evocative texts) under various sets of improvisational structures to create a performance that is as original as their source material. An interdisciplinary feat drawing visual art, music, and dance together, Consent to Gravity honors Sommer's legacy, especially his exceptional sense of the interconnectedness of art forms.

Hailed as an "extraordinary collaboration" by the Frederick and Frances Sommer Foundation, Island Moving Co.'s Consent to Gravity will premiere at RISD before traveling to The Getty Museum in Los Angeles, which is also hosting a centennial exhibition of Sommer's work. For a full listing of Sommer centennial events, go to the Foundation's website,, and click on 'current info'.

Consent to Gravity will be performed on Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday at 3 pm. Tickets for the performances are $20; $15 for seniors and children; $10 for RISD students with ID. RISD Museum members receive a 10% on tickets purchased at the box office. The RISD Auditorium is located in Providence on North Main Street at Market Square. Tickets will be available at and at the door. For more information about the performance, call 401-847-4470.

Jan Howard, Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at The RISD Museum will present a Gallery Talk about Sommer's work on Sunday, February 27, at 2:30 pm in the Museum, where she will be joined by members of Island Moving Co. and choreographer Daniel McCusker. The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, please call 401-454-6500.

Deborah Nash at
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Photographs courtesy of Island Moving Co.
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