Ken Butler ‘Instrumental Desire: Strings Attached’
Opening July 4, 2014
Instrumental Desire: Strings Attached will showcase the extraordinarily innovative work of musical instrument maker Ken Butler who fashions various types of instruments out of virtually anything from sporting equipment to household objects, wooden chairs to violin cases. The exhibit will consist of a miniscule sample of Ken’s tremendous body of work over the last 35 years including collages, drawings, sculptural pieces, string instruments incorporating hatchets, turntables, and a metal detector, and the Styrotone Grand Piano – a piano constructed of Styrofoam packaging materials.
His art work explores the interaction and transformation of objects, sounds, and altered images as function and form collide in the intersection of art and music. A spirit of re-invention and hyper-utility attempts to reveal hidden meanings and associations, momentarily creating a striking and re-animated cultural identity for common objects. Laurence Libbin, curator of musical instruments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, remarked “Ken Butler’s work is enormously interesting, particularly his idea of recycling and giving voice to found objects.”
Yet these whimsical and eccentric pieces are not merely ornamental or conceptual but wholly functional as Ken will demonstrate in a performance at the gallery on August 9th.