The Heart of the Matter: Drummer Milford Graves exhibit on the science of heartbeats
By Peter Crimmins
September 25, 2020
While it may seem unusual that the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania should give all of its gallery rooms to an exhibit about a musician, the life and mind of drummer Milford Graves more than fills them.
One of the rooms is crammed with sculptures made of plywood that look scientific, flickering computer screens, anatomical skeletons, and African drums. Another features Graves’ hand-painted drum kit and African-inspired garb he designed and wore for performances. Yet another is filled with video monitors running loops of footage showing Graves practicing Yara, a martial arts practice of his own invention.
Graves is known in the music world as a groundbreaking free jazz drummer. While Milford Graves: A Mind-Body Deal gives an overview of his musical career, it also presents the wide range of interests that inform his creative practice.
It all starts with the heart.
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