Hearing Pictures explores the relationship between seeing and hearing. A recording set-up in the gallery allows visitors to create the sound they imagine in a select work of art. These sounds are archived here on the Tang website every two weeks and will also serve as material for a forthcoming piece in the Tang's Elevator Music series.
Sound is everywhere and nowhere. Intangible and invisible to the human eye, its presence haunts, often creating the impression of imagined sound or auditory hallucinations. Common expressions, such as “That’s just hearsay,” “Am I hearing things?” and “Don’t believe everything you hear,” underscore the elusiveness of auditory perception, particularly in contrast with the seeming assuredness of sight: “Seeing is believing.” In addition to the external sounds we hear with our ears, many of us experience internal sounds—jingles, songs, and any number of noises that play in our heads.
Building on this idea of imagined sound, Hearing Pictures invites visitors to look at but also to listen to artwork from the Tang Collection. Displayed to evoke a musical score, the exhibition features art by artists Romare Bearden, John Christie, Heide Fasnacht, Philip Guston, Grace Hartigan, William Hogarth, Vasily Kandinsky,Nicholas Krushenick, Stanislaw Kubicki, Nicholas Monro, Eduardo Paolozzi, Walter Joseph Phillips, Dieter Roth, W. Eugene Smith, Joan Snyder, Nishikawa Sukenobu, Lois Swirnoff, Davor Vrankić, Carrie Mae Weems, James McNeill Whistler, and Garry Winogrand.