Paula Cooper Gallery Launches New Record Label “Dog w/a Bone”


Dog w/a Bone

The Paula Cooper Gallery is pleased to announce the creation of its record label “dog w/o bone.” The label will be launched on October 3, 2000, with the simultaneous release of three recordings by the S.E.M. Ensemble: Music by Marcel Duchamp; For Philip Guston by Morton Feldman; and Many Many Women by Petr Kotik.

The new label and releases will be celebrated with a S.E.M. Ensemble concert at the Paula Cooper Gallery on Tuesday, October 3rd. The program will include excerpts from the three new discs.

Music by Marcel Duchamp includes the artist’s complete works, composed for the most part between 1912 and 1921. The disc includes the conceptual piece Sculpture Musicale, with a version conceived and performed by John Cage. The liner notes contain reproductions of Duchamp’s handwritten scores, as well as photographs of the instrumental “apparatus” used to create the chamber ensemble version of La Mariée mise à nu par ses célibataire mêmes: a funnel, seven open top cars and six sets of balls.

Morton Feldman’s For Philip Guston is a monumental five-hour work. On the front cover of the comprehensive 4-CD set is a reproduction of Guston’s portrait of the composer.

Digitally remastered from the original 1981 Labor Record release, Kotik’s Many, Many Women is a polyphonic setting of Gertrude Stein’s entire novella of the same name. Richard Kostelanetz has described the work as “continually austere and yet engaging, realizing a musical reinterpretation of Stein’s text.”

In an interview, Paula Cooper explained that the new label symbolizes the tie that has developed between American music and the visual arts “world.” The first audiences for composers like Philip Glass, Steve Reich, and La Monte Young, she pointed out, came from the art world.

Cooper’s Gallery has played host to numerous music and dance concerts since she opened her doors in 1968. An early event was a performance of the avant-garde theatre troupe Mabou Mines, using a new score by Philip Glass. In 1977, the Gallery held a special benefit concert PASTA MoMA (Professional Administrative staff Association of The Museum of Modern Art in New York City) during the strike of union employees. As it turns out, this was the same year members of the New York Philharmonic went on strike, and some of them played at this concert. The excellent acoustics so impressed these musicians that the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center established a series of Sunday afternoon “cushion concerts” at the gallery, a series that lasted from 1978 to 1989. The Gallery also presented several series of Sunday concerts by raga master Pandit Pran Nath with La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela in the early 1970s, as well as solo recitals by saxophonist Jon Gibson (1979), and trumpeter Ben Neill (1994).

Since 1976, a variety of concerts by the S.E.M. Ensemble, with guest performers John Cage, David Tudor, Jackson MacLow, Dick Higgins, Christian Marclay and Pauline Oliveros, among others. A future release on dog w/a bone, in fact, will be a concert performance of MacLow’s Spoken Music by the Ensemble.

The S.E.M Ensemble, founded by Petr Kotik in 1970, is dedicated to the performance of experimental and avant-garde music. In the last thirty years, S.E.M. has collaborated with an impressive array of composers, including Brown, Cage, Leroy Jenkins, Rhys Chatham, Christian Wolff, David Tudor, Phil Niblock, La Monte Young and Elliott Sharp. In 1992, The Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble, an extension of the chamber music group, debuted at Carnegie Hall with an 86-piece ensemble, performing Cage’s Atlas Eclipticalis with Tudor as soloist. Since then, S.E.M. has performed regularly in major New York concert halls and has appeared in various European and Asian venues, including Tokyo’s Oji Hall in 1997.

Cooper hopes to use the new label to branch further out into new music. Although she professes no strong bent for the work of any particular composer, she feels very strongly that young composers need support because of the “dichotomy” that exists between the new and the old. Cooper pointed to the Pompidou Center in Paris as an example of a cultural institution that has made the same kind of cross-disciplinary commitment to the “new.”

Cooper stated that the Gallery is “still figuring out” what role Internet technology will play in the future of the label. Currently, there are no plans to post the actual music online, but she thinks they will at least use the Internet to promote the label.