POSTPONED: Jamal Cyrus—Texas Fried Tenor Performance
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Blaffer Art Museum
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On the opening weekend of the first career survey exhibition of Jamal Cyrus at Blaffer Art Museum, join us in the museum parking lot for a live performance of Texas Fried Tenor by the artist. Cyrus has performed this work multiple times since 2012, producing a sculpture that will be subsequently on view at the Blaffer as part of The End of My Beginning (June 5–September 19, 2021).
This performance of Texas Fried Tenor creates a dynamic, sensorial, and unpredictable soundscape as Cyrus deep-fries a saxophone while reciting a poem based on the Texas tenor saxophone tradition. Though the symphony of the sizzling brass instrument mimics the improvisatory nature of blues and jazz music, the sound produced (and magnified through microphones) is quite alien. Cyrus’ choice to deep-fry the instrument also recalls his father’s past work as a short-order cook, as well as the stereotype of a southern cuisine characterized by fried foods.
This performance is part of a larger series by Cyrus, Learning to Work the Saxophone, which takes its name from the refrain of the Steely Dan song “Deacon Blues.” After listening to the song 1000 times on a road trip from Philadelphia to Houston, Cyrus became interested in the importance of the saxophone in American music–especially blues and jazz–which are celebrated as one of this country’s defining musical forms. In so doing, the saxophone is not only an instrument of artistic expression, but also one of cultural and political significance.
Learn more about Jamal Cyrus: The End of My Beginning.
Image: Jamal Cyrus, Texas Fried Tenor, High Line, 2013; Photo by Liz Ligon.