Steve Coleman on Music, Language, and Spontaneous Composition

Steve Coleman. Photo © Patrícia Magalhães

“The main part of my journey,” Steve Coleman says, “has been about trying to learn more about how to use music as a language to discuss the things I find compelling in this universe and in nature.” Coleman – a saxophonist, bandleader, and recent MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship recipient from Chicago’s South Side – is a thoughtful musician to say the least. He’s made music his life’s work, evidenced by more than two dozen records and countless performances around the world. “Everything that I have found to be interesting,” he adds, “has had some influence on my music.”

Coleman will take the Scheuer Auditorium stage on November 6 alongside fellow musicians and frequent collaborators Jonathan Finlayson and Anthony Tidd for Bang on a Can: From the Margins, the latest in the Museum’s ongoing concert series produced in partnership with Bang on a Can. The performance will feature Coleman in a rare appearance without percussion accompaniment; Finlayson will be on trumpet, and Tidd will be on bass.

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Questioning the State of Abstract Painting

Bob Nickas, Joanne Greenbaum, Philip Taaffe, and Stanley Whitney. Photo by Roger Kamholz, the Jewish Museum

A capacity crowd packed Scheuer Auditorium Thursday, October 23, for the Museum’s latest Dialogue and Discourse panel, “What’s at Stake for Abstract Painting Today – and Where Do We Go from Here?” Prompted by the inquisitive title, moderator Bob Nickas led a searching and at times acerbic discussion among artists Joanne Greenbaum, Philip Taaffe, and Stanley Whitney that aired frustrations with an art world afflicted by money and its influences, as well as what they felt was a related and dismaying trend toward “unrealized” contemporary abstract painting.  Continue reading