Studio Five Beekman and Diapason Sound Art were two galleries devoted to the presentation of multi-channel sound installations, long-duration performances and intermedia artworks. Founded, directed and curated by composer Michael J. Schumacher in collaboration with Ursula Scherrer and Liz Gerring and made possible by the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Kirk Radke, in the their 15 years of existence the galleries presented over 111 artists, at a time when sound art was emerging as a distinct practice in the United States.
• DATES: Aug 28 – Sep 26 2021.
• RUN TIME OF PERFORMANCE: 1 hour
• LOCATION: The Workings of Media [art and artists] at the Harvestworks Art and Technology House. Building 10a, Nolan Park, Governors Island
Studio Five Beekman and Diapason Sound Art were two galleries devoted to the presentation of multi-channel sound installations, long-duration performances and intermedia artworks. Studio Five Beekman was founded in 1996 by composer Michael Schumacher and began public exhibitions in January 1997. It occupied a suite of rooms on the 6th floor of the “Temple Court” building in lower Manhattan, near City Hall Park. The rest of the occupants of the 10 story, “Queen Anne, neo-Grec, and Renaissance Revival style” building, now a designated landmark, were lawyers and accountants, so the gallery was a bit of an anomaly. The idea was to provide a space in which to present multichannel sound work in a setting in which listeners could engage the work on its own terms. At the time, it was the only space devoted exclusively to experimental sound installations and, as Ken Goldsmith noted, there were “few things more relaxing than sitting in Studio Five’s tiny sound room immersed in abstract music and gazing out on the Woolworth Building”.
Diapason Gallery was a continuation of S5B in a better space, made possible by the generosity of art patron Kirk Radke, whose wife, Liz Gerring, collaborated with Schumacher in creating Diapason as a hub for both experimental sound and modern dance. Located in midtown Manhattan, the gallery’s two high quality sound systems and its attention to the details of heightening aural perception made it optimal for creating and experiencing minimalist and process-based work. Over the next 11 years Diapason presented over 100 exhibitions at a time when sound art was emerging as a distinct practice in the United States.Recently, Schumacher discovered a trove of documents – slides, photos, program texts, receipts, correspondence, grant applications, etc. – from Studio Five Beekman. These have been digitized and will be presented on a computer for visitors to view at their own pace. Selections from the S5B and DIapason sound archive, consisting of works by Olivia Block, Douglas Henderson, Catherine Hennix, Tetsu Inoue and many others, will play continuously through Harvestworks multichannel sound system.
Based in Brooklyn, Michael J. Schumacher has worked with spatialized sound, computers and electronics since the 1980s, creating multi-channel, generative “Room Pieces” presented in galleries, museums, concert halls, public and private spaces. XI records has published a DVD set of five sound installations as computer applications, playable on up to eight speakers, which may be installed on a computer to create sound environments in the home. Schumacher’s composition “Grid”, a computer- generated score, has been in exhibitions in New York, Barcelona and Houston. His building-wide installation at EMPAC, in Troy New York, ran 24/7 for one year.
His interest in the relationship of musical form and architecture led to the founding of Diapason Sound Art, a gallery devoted to the presentation of multi-channel sound installations, long-duration performances and intermedia artworks. The gallery’s two high quality sound systems and its attention to the details of heightening aural perception made it an optimal space for creating and experiencing minimalist and process-based work. In its 15 years of existence, made possible by the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Kirk Radke, Diapason presented over 300 artists, at a time when sound art was emerging as a distinct practice in the United States.
Schumacher is the music director of the Liz Gerring Dance Company, with whom he has collaborated on a dozen full-evening length works over the past 20 years, including three large scale pieces produced by the Kasser Theater in Montclair. He also performs regularly with choregrapher Sally Silvers.
He studied music composition with Stanley Applebaum, Bernhard Heiden, John Eaton and Vincent Persichetti and piano with Seymour Bernstein, John Ogdon and Shigeo Neriki, and has degrees from Indiana University and Juilliard. He also worked with La Monte Young, Giampaolo Bracali and Milton Babbit. He has collaborated with choreographers, poets, architects, musicians and filmmakers including Oren Ambarchi, Bruce Andrews, Charles Curtis, Ken Jacobs, Victoria Meyers, Donald Miller, Ursula Scherrer and Stephen Vitiello.
He has received awards and residencies from NYFA, Harvestworks, Rennsellaer , DAAD and others. He’s an adjunct professor at NYU and has guest-lectured at Bard and RPI as well as having recently been the Varèse professor at Berlin’s TU.
• PRESS QUOTES
“I’ve been to Studio Five Beekman a few times before, every installation has been satisfying.”
– David Beardsley, Juxtaposition Ezine 1997
Regarding Ben Manley’s installation of Alvin Lucier’s “The Queen of the South”: “Like everything at this funky little space, it’s a necessary showing of neglected art.”
– McGonigal, NY Press 1998
“The most interesting installations, unfortunately detached from the usual club and bar scenes, are found in studios and galeries, for example at Studio Five Beekman, the workspace of composer Michael J. Schumacher…” – review of the New York electronic music scene by “Traveler”, www.techno.de 1999
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