Art Insider: Instruments in gallery walls, ceramics in the garden, and art in a plumbing store

Lindsay Preston Zappas, KCRW Art Insider, February 4, 2020

An artist collaborates with musicians to perform her sculptures; ceramic sculptures are made with radio antennas and air filters; and three brothers exhibit in their family's former plumbing supply store.

At Shulamit Nazarian Gallery in Hollywood, large monochrome felt wall works are not as they seem. They appear to be austere, minimal color field works, but they are in fact instruments embedded with mics and attached to amplifiers, awaiting musicians or curious gallery-goers to activate them.

Inversion #1 take this one further, embedding one of Tsabar's custom instruments (culled from guitar, banjo, harp, and violin parts) directly into the gallery wall. A set of tuning pegs protrudes from the wall next to two cavities that invite brave participants to blindly feel around for strings to strum (like Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday tentatively sticking her hand into the Mouth of Truth).

This week, Tsabar and her five collaborators are holding a closed workshop in the gallery, together experimenting and uncovering the potential of her staged instruments, which will culminate in a set of performances in the gallery where the six will activate the sculpture- cum-instruments.

Space is limited, so RSVP is necessary, or you can check out the gallery another time, and play the musical sculptures for yourself. ---
Going into this week's workshop with her performers, Tsabar admits that she really doesn't know what the destination will look like.

"It's such a learning curve for me," Tsabar explained to me recently. "It's nerve-wracking, but I learn a lot about the work. ... I'm more interested in forms and the relationship to the performer's body rather than the sound it makes. The visual predates the sonic. And then when its done, that's when we explore. Every form that's [in the exhibition] has not been performed on - we haven't figured it out yet."

As Tsabar talks about the process of the workshop, she uses words like "uncover, discover, learn."

Although the performance is under the umbrella of her artwork, she does not direct the performers towards a predetermined outcome.

She explains, "It's all-female and gender non-conforming musicians, so it's sort of about mastering and learning, but not in the obvious gender when it comes to mastering an instrument. For me, the fragmentation is key. It's many sources of power rather than one central one."