The Sound of Art, Celebrating Five Years of Art Sounds in New York


Order the Art Fag City-curated The Sound of Art LP today! The LP is a DJ battle record filled with the sounds of art heard across the city over the past five years, acting as a period document, a tool for art-making, and an art object in itself. Plus, check out our limited edition Michael Smith prints and T-shirts below!



The Sound of Art!


REDISCOVER VINYL: Receive inbox speciality plus the whole shebangin’ LP plus an mp3! Don’t have a record player? The object itself will be a limited edition work of art worthy of display. $40 or more


The AFC T-shirt in use!

REDISCOVER VINYL WHILE WEARING A T-SHIRT: The aforementioned shebangin’ LP, plus an mp3, plus a Sound of Art t-shirt with which to proudly display your incredible taste. $60 or more

SIGNED VINYL: Get an LP signed by the inimitable Paddy Johnson, plus the t-shirt and mp3. $100 or more

Michael Smith, Untitled 2010, 11 x 11 inches, screenprint, edition of 50

SOUND OF ART-INSPIRED ART! The record plus one custom screen print made in response to the record by famed artist Michael Smith. No joke people. Michael Smith of solo shows and screenings at The Whitney, MoMA, New Museum, Met Museum and Sculpture Center. Edition of Fifty. $300 or more


For the past five years I’ve been looking at art and writing about what I see. But I’ve also been listening. Does art have a distinctive sound? Sometimes I think I could be in a remote cabin in Maine, and still instantly recognize the sound of an art video or a performance piece. Yet the things I hear in galleries and performance spaces don’t seem to share any formal qualities — they run the gamut from noise to melody, recitation to wordless grunts. I wanted to produce an album full of the sounds art makes in order to document and investigate this range, but I also wanted to take such sounds and set them free in the world, to be remixed and reused — sampled, mashed up, Auto-tuned, chopped and screwed. More people than ever are engaged in this kind of cultural recycling, though they rarely draw their sources from the field of fine art. Frankly, the art world doesn’t make it easy — it’s a profession invested in its own scarcity. More than anything, I wanted to make a record of the Sound of Art because I wanted to see what people will do with it. It’s a project guided by Jasper Johns’ description of the art-making process: “Do something, do something to that, and then do something to that.”

WHAT IS IT? The Sound of Art is a limited edition vinyl LP composed of sounds heard in New York galleries, museums, and project spaces over the last five years. Inspired by classic DJ battle records, it features forty tracks of diverse sounds culled from art video, performance footage, and kinetic sculptures. This is not an easy listening record. It’s an audio document and a tool to create new sounds and new work.

WHAT IS ON IT? Work by artists well-known and not-so-well-known. Difficult electronics. Sounds of stampeding animals, Hebrew prayer, a transformer fire, a children’s carousel. One hundred carpenters pounding 10,000 nails. Field recordings of recordings by guitar genius John Fahey, and archival sound pieces by the pioneering conceptualist Lawrence Weiner. An iPod drum circle and thoughts on nostalgia. Also, yes, a toy monkey with cymbals. Sounds have been donated by a large spectrum of artists and venues throughout New York City — everywhere from big fancy museums to odd little project spaces. We’ve also introduced Internet artists, as “wild cards” on this album.

WHO’S INVOLVED? This is a collaborative project, with dozens of people donating their work and their services. Project Manager Michelle Halabura has been working from Art Fag City headquarters since last spring to make Sound of Art a reality. Matt Madly Azzarto at Think Tank Studio produced the record. Phillip Niemeyer of Double Triple designed the album cover, and offers a limited edition offset lithograph to 10 lucky donors at the $200 level. Edition of 60, see the print HERE. Celebrated performance and video artist Michael Smith created a limited edition screen print of 50 in response to the sounds on the album, available to donor at the $300 level. Artist Ben Coonley of Valentine for Perfect Stranger and NYUFF Dr. Zizmor Trailor fame produced our promotional videos.


MANHATTAN: Petra Cortright (Internet), Jennie C. Jones (Sikemma Jenkins), Moyra Davey, (Orchard47), Eli Hansen (Maccarone), Ted Riederer (Marianne Boesky), Cliff Evans (Luxe Gallery), LoVid (LMCC), Marcin Ramocki (MOMA), Shannon Plumb (Sarah Melzer Gallery), Cardiff and Miller (Luhring Augustine), John Fahey (AVA), Miriam Stern (Yeshiva University), Jennifer Schmidt (Elizabeth Foundation Project Space), Carolina A. Miranda (Armory Show), Tyler Jacobson and Chris Anderson (Canada), Tom Thayer (White Columns), Luke Murphy (Canada), Joel Holmberg (New Museum), Lawrence Weiner (Whitney Museum)

BROOKLYN: Andre Avelas, (Abrons Art Center), Aron Namenwirth (artMovingProjects), Damien Catera (Hogar Collection), Andy Graydon (LMAK Projects), Sonny Smith (Cinders Gallery), Paul Slocum (artMovingProjects), Heidi Neubauer-Winterburn (Louis V. E.S.P.), Eric Laska (Diapason), Elena Wen (AIR Gallery), Joe McKay (Vertexlist), Laura Parnes (Internet), Heather Dewey (Issue Project Room), Peter Doble (English Kills), Douglas Henderson (Pierogi), Robert McNeil (MonkeyTown), Erick Zuenskes (Real Fine Arts), Wayne Hodge (Fivemyles), Ranjit Bhatnagar and Nick Yulman (Coney Island Museum), Lara Kohl (PS.1), Mike Koller and MTAA (McCarren Park), Brainstormers (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Center).