Sound technologies — inventions like the telephone, tape recorder, loudspeaker, radio, and computer-synthesized speech — have fostered a reconfiguration of acoustic space and a desire for artistic inquiry into the idea of sound in a new electronic universe. S.O.S.: Scenes of Sound presented an exploration of sound through contemporary art, focusing on the immediate visceral responses made possible by sound. Historically a realm of esoteric experimentation by the twentieth-century avant-garde, sound can break down barriers that limit our broader understanding of contemporary art by combining the familiar with the unknown. This show hosted a wide range of media, including installations, sculptures, paintings, photography, and multimedia and interactive works. The resulting, thoroughly engaging exhibition encouraged visitors to lose themselves in sound. As one of the Tang’s inaugural exhibitions, S.O.S.: Scenes of Sound also gave visitors a vivid sense of the kinds of exhibition envisioned for the museum — ones that bring together seemingly disparate disciplines and extend our concept of visual and other arts through innovative experiences.
Artists included in S.O.S.: Scenes of Sound were Laurie Anderson, Robert Arneson, Alan Berliner, Wallace Berman, Nick Cave, Rafe Churchill, Alex Gregory, Joseph Grigely, Ann Hamilton, Rebecca Horn, Thomas David Kehoe, Martin Kersels, Barbara Kruger, Annette Lemieux, Christian Marclay, Beverly Mastrianni, Gordon Monahan, Bruce Nauman, Nam June Paik, Alan Rath, David Rokeby, Stephanie Rowden, Gebhard Sengmuller, Laurie Simmons, Jeff Talman, Javier Tellez, Stephen Vitiello, and Andy Warhol.
A catalogue with an introduction by Charles Stainback is available from the Museum Store.