Sounds are made: a glass drops to the floor, muscles push air from one’s body to create the voice, feet thud on the pavement. Whether jarring or soothing, dissonant or melodic, sound results from action. The artists in Smack use distinct actions, like scratching, stomping, or dragging, to explore specific sounds. These sounds come from performance-based gestures, whether they are choreographed or left to chance.
Bruce Nauman bounces a rubber ball in his studio, literally playing with notions of rhythm and control, while the noise of pencil on paper — and perhaps the memory of chainsaw buzzes and rumbling bulldozers — guides the staccato marks and scrawled lines that spread across Susan Turcot’s Canadian. The thump of a body hitting a wall is implied in Matthew Antezzo’s painting of a 1970 performance piece by Barry Le Va, part of a series of work appropriated from photographs in Artforum magazine.