Harrison Haynes once kept two loves separate.
Some of us knew him for his music, as the drummer for the band Les Savy Fav.
Others met him through his art–album cover designs and gallery and museum exhibitions featuring his paintings, photography, mixed-media collages, video and performances (details below).
Art and music ran smack into each other three years ago when Harrison began the Bard College MFA program in New York. In 2010, his two worlds continued to converge as he co-wrote a song with Mac MacCaughan for a work of art by Xaviera Simmons in “The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl” at the Nasher Museum. He also curated a crate of vinyl records for the accompanying installation “Cover to Cover.”
Turns out, Harrison Haynes the Integrated Person is pretty damn appealing!
The two sides of Harrison meet somewhere in the middle with “Acey Deucey,” his new solo show at Gatewood Gallery, at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.
“It’s really referencing this duality in my life,” he told a crowd of about 40 at the opening event on Thursday night. He found out, he said, while studying at Bard, that “you could start skating across those boundaries with really fruitful results.”
The musician-meets-artist narrative of “Acey Deucey” is simple and elegant. One great example is a sextet of photographs that seems at first to be a study in color. Harrison tells us what we figured out subliminally: These well-worn couches are found in backstage green rooms all over the world.
On the floor, two life-sized photographs of Oriental rugs, complete with fringe, are dotted with pink tape marking the spots for Harrison’s drum kit. Anchoring the show, the video “LRLL RLRR” depicts Harrison drumming with artist Casey Cook. In tandem, they play the beat (you know this one!) from Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, which Harrison describes as “sort of the prototypical rock drum beat … the Rosetta Stone of drum language.” Harrison has also performed “LRLL RLRR” live in Durham, Atlanta and Philadelphia.
The simul-drumming, he pointed out, is not as simple as it seems. “There’s potential for all sorts of accidents to happen.”
And that’s a good way to imagine Harrison’s future work.
See a live performance work by Harrison Haynes at Gatewood Gallery on January 24, from 7 to 9:30 p.m.
The artist has shown his work at Lump in Raleigh, the former Branch Gallery in Durham and, more recently, as part of the group show “here.” at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia.
IMAGE: Gallery view by Wendy Hower Livingston.