Charlotte Moorman, Pine Wood Cello, 1983, Pine wood on canvas, 115 × 80 cm, Edition of 8 plus II AP
Courtesy of Archivio Conz, Berlin
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Series of nine editions of cello shaped wood panels mounted on white canvas. Each edition of eight is differentiated by type of wood: ash, cherry, elm, mahogany, maple, oak, pear, pine, and walnut.
  • Pine wood on canvas
  • 115 × 80 cm
    (45 ¼ × 31 ½ inches)
  • Inquire
  • Charlotte Moorman was an American cellist and performance artist—one of the most relevant figures of the New York avant-garde. Moorman began studying cello at an early age, specializing under the teachings of musician Horace Britt. She then enrolled at the Juilliard School in New York, beginning her professional career as a classical cellist with the American Symphony Orchestra. Drawn to experimentation in the field of music, Moorman’s talent led her to collaborate with artists such as Yoko Ono, Wolf Vostell, Shigeko Kubota, Mieko Shiomi, Carolee Schneemann, and, most frequently, Nam June Paik, considered the founder of video art. Moorman and Paik began collaborating after meeting at the 1964 edition of the New York AvantGarde Festival (1963–80), which Moorman had founded and yearly organized. The festival featured performances, experimental music, compositions, and many of the most remarkable performances by artists associated with Fluxus and Intermedia. Moorman regarded her body as a “living sculpture,” using her cello as a powerful extension. During the infamous interpretation of Nam June Paik’s Opera Sextronique in New York in 1967, she was arrested due to her partial nudity and convicted of obscenity, earning the moniker of “Topless Cellist” by the press. Among the first rare editions curated by Francesco Conz and published by Editions Pari & Dispari, the portfolio Retrospective 1964–1974 (1975) brought together photos, unique works, and documents attesting to Moorman’s performance and the subsequent trial for “acts of pornography.” Paik created some of his best-known pieces for Moorman, including TV Bra for Living Sculpture (1969) and TV Cello (1971). Together, they re-enacted Takehisa Kosugi’s “Chamber Music,” to which the homonymous portfolio published by Edizioni Conz in 1981 is dedicated. The friendship between Conz and Moorman extended into a lasting collaboration centered not only on the creation of multiples but also on considerable unique works now housed at the Archivio Conz. Despite her diagnosis of breast cancer in 1970, Moorman continued to perform. Monumental was her performance Sky Kiss, presented in 1982 as part of the Sky Art Conference in Austria at the invitation of Otto Piene. Charlotte Moorman’s extensive archive is now being studied by several institutions, including the Northwestern University Library. Here, a major retrospective took place in 2016, followed by another comprehensive exhibition in the Museum der Moderne Salzburg in 2017.

Artworks (20)