Over the past seven years, the Park Avenue Armory has hosted an impressive series of musical events and art installations. But, none of these presentations has sought to merge the worlds of art and music until Douglas Gordon's current installation, tears become... streams become..., which runs at the Armory through January 4. Gordon floods the cavernous Wade Thompson Drill Hall with water, and places in the center two pianos. One is an vintage player piano which plays throughout the day. The other is a Steinway grand, which is played each night by celebrated concert pianist Hélène Grimaud, who has chosen a program of "water-themed" works by Liszt, Debussy, Ravel and others.
At the press preview I attended on December 8, Gordon was still working out the lighting cues, illuminating various parts of the Drill Hall in plain white light. Grimaud's playing was expectedly entrancing, though came out sounding pretty muddy in the capacious space. In a roundtable discussion afterwards with Armory Artistic Director Alex Poots, Gordon was vague as to the precise meaning of tears become...streams become... other than to say: "When I first saw the space, I wanted to piss on it. I wanted to take the fluid out of here (pointing to his pelvis) and put it into here (pointing to his arms)." Well, ok.
The installation is open through January 4; the final performances with Grimaud are tonight and tomorrow night. Additional info here.