Constructing Jazz Inside Fine Art, And Vice-Versa

The jazz pianist has pulled the curtain off his polymathic abilities, bringing his fine art exhibition — which includes video, installations and performance — home to New York.
Jason Moran, Slugs' Saloon, 2018. Source: Farzad Owrang

For many observers of modern jazz, pianist Jason Moran became a known entity 20 years ago, with the release of his debut album. For Adrienne Edwards, curator of performance at the Whitney Museum of American Art, his name first circulated more recently, as a kind of rumor.

"I have really good friends who are artists — whether it's Adam Pendleton, or Julie Mehretu, or Kara Walker, or Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch — that were all saying, 'I want to work with Jason,' " Edwards reflected this week. "And I kept going, 'What is it about this musician doing things that are much broader than music? What is it about him that they are drawn to?' "

The answers can be found, if not entirely resolved, somewhere in, a pathfinding exhibition that opens this Friday. It's the first full show presented at the Whitney by Edwards, who originated it (with

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