Conteporary Exhibit: Music Rush

I’ve had music on my mind lately, as I’ve been writing a creative non-fiction work for another class (Eng 471) that centers on music. Music is something I love, that I have an eclectic taste for—a bit like my taste for art I suppose. So I wanted to present a collection that was art and music.

My theme is Musical Rush. An expression of the feeling you get when you hear a fantastic song and can’t help but sing or dance along.

Music is a huge inspiration to artists. Personally, I focus better with music when I’m working. But, more than that, the trill of a lyric or riff of a melody can spark an image, an idea that becomes the next project or a transformation of the current one.

A great example of the synergy between music and art is the Music Inspiring Art show put on by Indy Hall in February of 2013. Indy Hall is a cohort of artists who are “focused on inspiration, participation and learning through doing” (IH). The show was dedicated to the music that inspired and motivated the 25 participating artists (IH). The art shown included painting, textiles, and photography amongst others.

I hope to give you a little taste of how music inspires art with my collection. The collection has three pairs: dance, personification, and performance pieces


Dance is a great way to share artistic expression. And dance, though it can be preformed without accompaniment, is very much an expression of music come to life. It is little wonder then that artists have captured dance, and dancers, in many ways over the years.

fc2dc3791ae8cf45e7b89a174feedefa Tribal_by_CaradelNeil 2

Dancer, 1990
Eric Fischl

Eric Fischl was born in 1948, in NYC. He got his B.F.A. from the California Institute for the Arts in 1972 (EF). He taught painting at Nova Scotia College of Art from 1974-78 (EF). He moved to NYC in 1978, and currently lives in Sag Harbor NY (EF). Fischl is the president, founder and lead curator for America: Now and Here—an exhibition of over 150 “visual artists, musicians, poets, playwrights, and filmmakers” (EF).

Dancer is from Fischl’s India series (1989-1990), which depicts scenes from contemporary India; including a tire store, cattle auction, and temples.

Tribal Dance, 2010
Caradel Neil

Caradel Neil is a Polish model and photographer. She’s been working since 2009 (CN). This photograph is part of a collaborative shoot with M & S Lejman. She was alternately a model and a photographer (CN).

What is interesting about these two pieces is that the dancer is the focus of the work, but there is still something of the music there as well. Both figures are caught mid-movement, and it is easy to imagine the sound of the music they might be dancing too. In my head it is something like Tumse Milke Dil Ka from the Bollywood movie Main Hoon Na—definitely a song I can’t hear without wanting to dance.


We’ve all heard or seen the phrase “music is life” or some iteration thereof (my favorite is “you are the music, while the music lasts”). That is precisely the emotion that drives artist to personify music, or realize themselves as music instead of carbon and water.

music_is_my_life_by_qinni Music_by_Shairin

Music Is My Life, 2010
Qing Han

Qing Han is a Canadian artist. She graduated in 2012 from Sheridan College, Oakville ON (QH). She has worked as a free lance artist for Pixilated Games, and now works as a painter for Titmouse, Inc an animation studio (QH).

Music, 2007

Saara is 25 years old, and a ink and mixed media artist (IT).

Music is an ink drawing over torn sheet music, used much like screentones (IT).

I really like these works for different reasons. Saara’s Music is minimal and clean. It is simple line art but with a quirk. I like that it expresses the idea that music is a part of the figure in a stark way.

Qing Han’s Music Is My Life on the other hand is all about exuberance. It is beautiful vivid blue with the musical heartbeat in a contrasting red that pops.

Both works portray music as something essential, a part of the figure that can’t be easily plucked out and set aside—it is a sentiment that echoes with viewers. The feeling I get from viewing these works is the same feeling I get listening to My Chemical Romance’s SING. That music is a part of myself, a way to express myself, and a way to be part of something bigger than myself simultaneously.


The last two pieces of my collection are performances. Performance is, I think, the pinnacle of balance between art and music. It is art that isn’t just inspired by music it is music, while still being art.

Music Box: Dithyrambalina, Live 2012
New Orleans Airlift

Music Box: A Shantytown Sound Laboratory was envisioned by the collaborative group New Orleans Airlift as “village of small shacks and shanties that could act as laboratories for artists to create musical inventions” (NOA). Their first instillation was in New Orleans in 2011-12; made from the remains of a 250 year old house (NOA).

They constructed “invented instruments [that] were embedded into walls, ceilings, and floors of nine small structures” (NOA). The music is odd and interesting. It is one part performance art, one part musical architecture, and one part experimentation.


Sergei Polunin dancing to “Take me to Church” by Hozier, 2015
Directed by David LaChapelle
Choreography by Jade Hale-Christofi

Sergei Polunin, was the youngest principal dancer of the British Royal Ballet at 19 (W). He was born in Ukraine in 1989. He is currently a principal dancer with Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre and the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre (W).

David LaChapelle, born 1963, is an American commercial photographer, fine-art photographer, music video director, film director, and artist (DL). He has won numerous awards and presented his work in several dozen exhibitions in his 35 year career (DL).

Jade Hale-Christofi graduated from the Royal Ballet School, London in 2006 (MA). He has danced with Ballet de Opera National du Rhin in France and the NBA Ballet Japan (MA). He is currently choreographing for David LaChapelle (MA).

Hozier is an Irish musician and singer-songwriter. His debut EP, featuring “Take Me To Church,” released in 2013 (Hoizer).


The Music Box is a really interesting piece; it is like Stomp and John Cage had a love child. I love that they included the squeaky floor boards into the music. I also like the found art quality that the installation has. NOA has recycled bits of a destroyed house amongst other odds and ends and created a peculiar orchestra from it. The architecture of the “shacks” is beautiful in a slightly macabre way, and the costumes of the performers feed into that mood.

I have to say Sergei Polunin dancing to “Take me to Church” is probably my favorite pieces in this collection. I love taking something traditional, like ballet, and juxtaposing it with something unexpected, like Hozier’s bluesy song. Polunin has a reputation for being a bad boy of ballet, probably fed in part by his tattoos, and he performs like he’s struggling with some inner demon. The performance, song, and setting work beautifully together. The dance set to another song might have been nice, but it would have lacked a depth and connection that “Take me to Church” gives it.

Works Cited

“About” David LaChapelle. n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2015.

“Bio” Eric Fishl. Eric Fishl. n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2015.

Caradel Neil “lostcaradelneil” Deviantart. Deviantart.

Hozier. Hozier. n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2015.

Indy Hall. Indy Hall. N.d.Web. 12 Apr. 2015.

“Jade Hale-Christofi” The Movement Talent Agency. The Movement – Dance Talent Agency. n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2015.

“Music Box: A Shantytown Sound Laboratory” New Orleans Airlift. New Orleans Airlift. N.d.Web. 12 Apr. 2015.

Qing Han “Resume” Qinni. n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2015.

Saara. Introspektio. n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2015.

Wikipedia contributors. “Sergei Polunin.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 27 Mar. 2015. Web. 12 Apr. 2015.

2 Comments on “Conteporary Exhibit: Music Rush

  1. I really appreciated the theme of the works you chose, in that you showcased beautiful females as a part of amazing art work. Every piece you chose shows movement and grace, and makes you want to look beyond the painting and past what the artist was feeling while is was made.

  2. A very nice exhibit! Well done!
    I too focus better when I listen to music. I also can be transported to a different world when I listen to some of my favorite songs. The piece that really stood out to me is ‘Music is my life’ by Qing Han. It actually shows the feeling that I get sometimes when I listen to music. Your heartbeat and melds with the beat of the song, becoming one. You fade into a whole different world, but are still attached to the real world. You can drift only so far into this new world, then the song ends or the real world calls you back. You leave knowing that you can return again, even if it just for a shot time, by listening to your favorite music.

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