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Motor Vehicle Sundown
October 27, 2020; 6:00 PM–7:00 PM CDT
Be part of a performance of Motor Vehicle Sundown, written by Fluxus artist George Brecht and dedicated to the American composer John Cage. Motor Vehicle Sundown is written for any number of motor vehicles arranged outdoors. In true Cagean fashion, 22 timed auditory and visual events and 22 pauses written on randomly shuffled instruction cards are performed by each vehicle.
For the Event
The performance will take place in the Museum’s parking lot. Cards will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please enter the Museum’s parking lot from the lakeside in order to receive your vehicle’s instruction cards. Parking spots will be socially distant. The performance will begin promptly at 6 PM; please make sure you arrive, get your card, and are parked by 5:45 PM.
This event is in partnership with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra with special guest conductor Kris Sanchack.
For Your Safety
The event will be configured so that participants can maintain a 6ft distance between each other. Masks or face coverings are required for the duration of the event. In the event of inclement weather, this program will be canceled. Notification will be made by 8 AM on Tuesday, October 27.
About the Art
Motor Vehicle Sundown
For this event, as described above, cars serve as instruments with the drivers creating various sights and sounds according to a set of randomly-selected instructions from a set of 44 cards. Each vehicle will turn on its engine to begin the concert and turn it off at the conclusion. Composed by George Brecht in 1960, Motor Vehicle Sundown is owned by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. To learn more about what will be performed, check out the video below or view the score here.
When Brecht created Motor Vehicle Sundown, copies of the score were mailed to the participants. This both positioned art outside the walls of the gallery and elevated a concept above just the materials that make the art. In this case, that idea is we can make music with something many of us use every day—cars. At the MMFA, we may not have received the score in the post directly from George Brecht, but we are very excited to perform it with you.
Credit: George Brecht, Kunst, Bonn, Motor Vehicle Sundown (Event), 1960, © 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
The Fluxus Art Movement
An international movement with New York at its center, Fluxus pushed the boundaries of the art world and celebrated chance. For example, for this symphony, the set of instructions each car receives is selected by chance. The boundaries between art and music are blurred—people will experience this work in our parking lot rather than in our galleries, and the medium is a motor vehicle. In the 1960s, many, including Fluxus artists, were challenging the perceived elitism of the art world. It seems a timely moment to revisit Fluxus, as many voices are calling for equality in the art world today. The movement encouraged the participatory nature of art—come experience chance with us—as well as the fun and playful. So we hope you find some humor in this event too!
Video: A 1960 performance of Motor Vehicle Sundown
Behind the Music
Special guest conductor Kris Sanchack (left) is an Assistant Professor and Director of Choral Activities at Alabama State University. Dr. Sanchack has served as Director of Youth and Children’s Music at Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, as well as the Keyboard Artist for the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir. Dr. Sanchack has led choral music at several leading universities, including Brevard College, Hollins University, the University of Indianapolis, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and Trine University.
Violinist Yu Wang (center), born in Chongqing, China, began studying violin with her father at the age of three, and she studied with Mingen Zhou and Yang Song while attending the middle school of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music (an elite music institution in China). She entered the Central Conservatory of Music (Beijing) with highest honors, where she earned her Bachelor of Music degree under the tutelage of Yaoji Lin and Liang Chai. After coming to the United States to study with Grigory Kalinovsky, Yu earned her master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music and performer diploma at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree at Michigan State University, where she is a student and teaching assistant with Dmitri Berlinsky. In 2019, Yu was awarded the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra Violin Fellowship.
Beginning his studies at the age of four, cellist Michael Zyzak (right) made his solo debut at the age of nine with the Louisville Orchestra. In 2009, Michael was unanimously awarded the first prize winner of the David Popper International Cello Competition as well as first prize at the Louisville Young Artist, Fox Valley Young Artist, Rising Star Young Artist Southeast Missouri, and Dayton Philharmonic Concerto Competitions. He was also awarded second prize at the 2016 Eisemann International Young Artists Competition and third prize at the 2016 Lynn Harrell Concerto Competition. At the age of 18, Michael won a position as substitute cellist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Michael has also appeared as a soloist with the Blue Ash Orchestra, Southeast Missouri Orchestra, and Fox Valley Orchestra. In addition, he has been invited to perform at the Taos School of Music and the Sarasota Music Festival where he worked with artists such as Robert McDonald and members of the Brentano String Quartet, the Borromeo String Quartet and the Miró Quartet. Michael received his Bachelor’s degree at Chicago College of Performing Arts under Richard Hirschl.