Tonight at EMPAC: Peter Matthaes talks about art fraud

Tonight, EMPAC has Peter Matthaes giving a talk about the very interesting topic of authenticity of art. Matthaes has worked at the Museo D’Arte e Scienza, which was founded by his father and ee has spent a serious amount of time in the lab, where he conducts scientific analyses to assess the authenticity of art.


Recognizing the authenticity of an art object is as fascinating as it is complex. The classic approach, which studies style, is supported by numerous new methods of scientific investigation and by the ability to use our senses: sight, touch, smell, hearing, and to a much lesser extent, taste, substituted by our “sixth sense.”

An overview will be given on the methods used by the Museo d’Arte e Scienza of Milan in its day-to-day activities to ascertain authenticity, illustrated by an ample number of cases studies. The lecture will demonstrate how such investigations are based on intuition, logic, and the results of rigorous scientific and sensorial analyses.

The Observer Effects series invites thinkers to present their highly integrative work in dialogue with the fields of art and science. This lecture series takes its title from a popularized principle in physics that holds that the act of observation transforms the observed. Outside the natural sciences, the idea that the observer and the observed are linked in a web of reciprocal modification has been deeply influential in philosophy, aesthetics, psychology, and politics.

The talk begins at 6pm. I highly recommend showing up early and grabbing a drink and a snack before hand and checking out the other exhibits they have around the building!

Recap: Tim Hecker at EMPAC

It’s not everyday that attending a concert entails sitting in a pitch black auditorium. This past Friday at EMPAC felt like a rare listening opportunity featuring the unveiling of the aural result of a weeklong residency from Tim Hecker.

Tim Hecker is one of the leading figures in ambient and experimental music, whose work is very structured with intentional and conscious composition, while also creating room for the individual listener to have a different emotional response and listening experience to the abstract waves of sound presented.

The concert hall at EMPAC, whose high fabric ceilings and sound-deafening walls help assist in providing the best sound available in the upstate region, was bustling prior to the performance with much excitement abound. Upon “curtain call,” the lights faded off, and a book light was the only source of light visible on the stage. Tim Hecker came onto stage and began his performance.

Hecker played collected samples of organic instruments such as piano, organ and string synthesizers and created, well, an ambiance all his own and one specific to the site. This was a listening experience that would fail at a normal venue, and if you haven’t experienced the sound quality that EMPAC offers, you seriously need to attend the very next event you can. (Check out their Fall calendar on their website).

For an hour, Hecker was our guide, with no other interaction with the audience save for the performance itself. I found myself unable to keep my eyes open and drifted in and out of my state of consciousness. I’m somewhat certain I fell asleep, but this wasn’t like falling asleep to looping ocean noises via an alarm clock. This composition was dramatic at times and soothing at others, all while washing sub-bass, appropriate static and building melodies over the crowd. Once the performance came to a halt and the lights turned on, with Hecker disappearing out of sight, it was hard to shake off the daze we were in and I didn’t realize how much time had actually gone by.

All in all, it was quite the enjoyable listening experience, and one that no recording of the performance would do the artist any justice in recreating what he presented to us.

Announcing The Charles F. Lucas Confectionery

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Many of you have been quite interested in keeping up to date with this project that’s happening at 12 Second Street in Troy. I’ve posted up two galleries earlier in the year and the response has been insane. On Monday, I stopped in once again takes some photos and chat, as the space is essentially done and just waiting on permits.

Vic and I sat down and talked a bit about what’s been done since I was last there, such as the plan for drinks and food and much more. After a little while, Vic mentioned that this space still didn’t have an official name. Vic didn’t want to name it another hip, single-word name since he felt that those places are easily forgotten and disposable. Instead, he’s opted to name his business The Charles F. Lucas Confectionery in tribute to the confectioner that once occupied the same space.

Info on Charles F. Lucas is as follows:

Charles F. Lucas was born in 1827 in Austria & arrived in Troy NY in 1855.

He quickly became a popular caterer and community leader, helping to organize grand events such as the RPI Semi-Centennial celebration and Watervliet’s annual Oswald Club Excursion.

In 1863, eight years after arriving in America, he founded the confectionery at Nº 12 Second Street in Troy.

Candy and ice cream were produced at Nº 12 Second, including the sugar castle on display at the Rensselaer County Historical Society.

Charles F. Lucas quickly expanded the confectionery business to include a restaurant, and in 1870 launched the “Charles F. Lucas Confectionery & Ladies Restaurant” (‘Ladies Restaurant’ was terminology for ‘fancy’ in the 1800’s).

Charles F. Lucas passed away in 1887, leaving behind 7 children and his wife Louisa.

Lucas Confectionery remained in business until 1951.

There’s so much rich history in that building and Vic, his wife Heather and their team have done so much to preserve the feeling and space of the Lucas Confectionery that the name they have chosen makes complete sense and fits perfectly. The attention to detail that the place has is also beyond belief. A quick example of the detailing is as follows: they want to encourage people to linger and relax with a book or a computer or whatever, but realized when sitting at the bar there was nowhere to plug a computer in, so they ran a group outlets under the bar. Not ordinary outlets though, these have two USB ports and one standard wall outlet (see photo 35), so you can charge up your phone, iPad, kindle, whatever, even if you forgot the charger itself. All the other nooks and crannies have spots to plug in that are so intelligently placed that you wouldn’t even think for an extra second about their placement unless someone brought it up. And this carries over to everything about the space as well. The way the tables and chairs are placed, the way the bar is set up, the window tables, everything.

You can see how insanely far this project has come (from drywall and drop ceiling to what you see above) via photos on Vic’s flickr and what’s in store at the official website.

Hit the jump or click the photo above to launch the gallery. Continue reading…

Ticket Giveaway: Tim Hecker at EMPAC 9/28

Ambient musician Tim Hecker was recently announced to be playing EMPAC on the 28th of September and lots of people are excited about it, including me!

From EMPAC’s copy:

Tim Hecker is a Canadian-based musician and sound artist. Since 1996, he has produced a range of audio works for Kranky, Alien8, Mille Plateaux, Room40, Force Inc., Staalplaat, and Fat Cat. His works have been described as “structured ambient,” “tectonic color plates,” and “cathedral electronic music.” He has focused on exploring the intersection of noise, dissonance, and melody, fostering an approach to songcraft that is both physical and emotive. The New York Times has described his work as “foreboding, abstract pieces in which static and sub-bass rumbles open up around slow moving notes and chords, like fissures in the earth waiting to swallow them whole.” His Harmony in Ultraviolet received critical acclaim, including being recognized by Pitchfork as a top recording of 2006. Radio Amor was also recognized as a key recording of 2003 by Wire Magazine. His work has included commissions for contemporary dance, sound-art installations, as well as various writings. He currently resides in Montreal.

If you are unfamiliar with Hecker but it seems like this might be your kinda thing, you can see reviews of Hecker’s work on Pitchfork, read up on him on his Wikipedia page, and check out some of his tunes on YouTube.

To enter, hit the jump and fill out the form! You’ll need to respond quickly if you win so don’t sleep on it. Good luck! And if you’re not the contest type, you can purchase your tickets through EMPAC.

Continue reading…

Triptych 0811 at EMPAC

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Today I got to sit in on a run through of Ella Fiskum Danz’s Triptych 0811. The performance is Tuesday at 7:30pm at EMPAC and I highly recommend you go. It’s also free.

From the copy:

The Norwegian dance company journeys into the inner life of fantastic aspirations flanked by the obstacles of real life. Using classical ballet vocabulary in stark contrast to aspects of contemporary life, Fiskum culls together a theatrical dreamscape: a woman in a burqa, a ballerina turned nightclub dancer, a Hollywood starlet played by a man, and a prima ballerina. With a live performance by Norwegian rock guitar legend Ronni Le Tekrø and innovative stage design by Serge von Arx, the audience is invited to view multiple realities through the lives of the characters on stage.

During the performance, I made myself leave as to not spoil it for the real thing. The whole thing is really surreal and the performers are incredible. Not to mention that EMPAC is probably the nicest and best sounding venue on the east coast for this sort of thing. EMPAC was gracious enough to let me grab a few photos so click the photo above or hit the jump for the full gallery!