press release

Drum Listens to Heart
September 1, 2022–March 4, 2023

An exhibition in three parts
Part I: September 1–October 15, 2022
Part II: November 9–December 17, 2022
Part III: January 17–March 4, 2023
Part I: Luke Anguhadluq, Marcos Ávila Forero, Em’kal Eyongakpa, Milford Graves, Barry Le Va, Rose Lowder, Lee Lozano, Harold Mendez, Davina Semo, Michael E. Smith
Part II: Francis Alÿs, Theaster Gates, The Otolith Group, Lucy Raven Part III: Trisha Donnelly, David Hammons, NIC Kay, Guadalupe Maravilla, Rie Nakajima, Consuelo Tupper Hernández, Haegue Yang, David Zink Yi
All parts: Raven Chacon, Susan Howe & David Grubbs

Let’s begin with the drum, but move away from it, bit by bit, until all that is left is the feeling of its presence in the room.
Because percussion reaches far beyond the drum. It relates to music and rhythm, sure, but in a more general sense, the percussive speaks to a wide range of aesthetic, expressive, and political forms.
To percuss means to strike or to hit, but it also means to move or to groove. It means to interrupt or to break. To worship and to heal. To gather and to accompany. To control but also to protest and demand freedom from forms of control. To beat at the speed of the heart.
Drum Listens to Heart weaves different forms of percussion together—physical and sociopolitical, literal and metaphorical. It juxtaposes instances of impact and vibration with forms of control, emancipation, and community-building. It offers a framework and a vocabulary that binds art and politics to each other in percussive ways.
As a physical exhibition, Drum Listens to Heart takes on an unusual but relevant form: it is divided into three successive and separate parts that come together to form the exhibition as a whole.
These three sections form the exhibition‘s polyrhythm, its pattern of beats and breaks, its moments of intensity and moments of rest—its music. Visitors only ever encounter a fragment of the exhibition as its layers build up gradually, over time. Like a heartbeat, the exhibition stays alive by always staying in motion. Drum Listens to Heart is curated by Anthony Huberman and organized by Diego Villalobos, with assistance by Katherine Jemima Hamilton and Meghan Smith.

Live music performances (curated by Diego Villalobos)
October 29, 3pm: Raven Chacon
October 29, 4:30pm: Karen Stackpole and Gino Robair
November 26, 10pm: Nkisi (at The Lab)
December 17, 8pm: Moor Mother Ensemble (at The Lab)
January 21, 8pm: Ikue Mori, William Winant, Valentina Magaletti, and NOMON (at The Lab)
February 25, 8pm: Raven Chacon and Music Research Strategies (at The Lab)

Record shop
The Wattis Bar is transformed into a pop-up record shop with records selected by Bay Area shops and collectors. Whether it’s jazz, techno, rock, salsa, or anything in between, each record is percussive.

An exhibition catalogue, co-published by CCA Wattis Institute and Inventory Press, will be released in November 2022. It includes a new essay by the curator, images by the artists, as well as short texts about specific terms that make up a vocabulary of percussion, such as beats, drumming, rhythm, tempo, and others. Writers include Geeta Dayal, Lê Quan Ninh, Hannah Black, Hypatia Vourloumis, Natasha Ginwala, JJJJJerome Ellis, Will Holder, and Hamza Walker & Anthony Elms.

A further iteration of Drum Listens to Heart, taking place over a series of several days, is being planned with the Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought in New Orleans for some time in 2023. Additional iterations to be announced soon. The exhibition is made possible thanks to generous support from Teiger Foundation, Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, VIA Art Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, Westridge Foundation, Etant donnés, Mondriaan Fund, Michael Asher Foundation, Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation (EHTF); and from Kaitlyn and Mike Krieger, Diana Nelson and John Atwater, Katie and Matt Paige, Lauren and Jamie Ford, and Robin Wright.