Charlotte Moorman was a bold, barrier-breaking musician and performance artist and a tireless champion of experimental art, whose avant-garde festivals in New York City brought new art forms to a broad public. To date, recognition of Moorman has been limited mostly to her collaborations with other artists, including composer John Cage and pioneering multimedia artist Nam June Paik, and to her 1967 performance of Paik's Opera Sextronique, for which she became known as the topless cellist after being arrested on indecency charges. A Feast of Astonishments looks deeper to portray Moorman as a leading international figure in her own right.
With more than 150 color images and essays by art historians, curators, and musicologists, this catalog will offer a fresh perspective and complement an exhibition that opens at Northwestern University's Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art in January 2016 before traveling to New York University's Grey Art Gallery in Manhattan and the Museum der Moderne in Salzburg, Austria. The exhibition will feature original sculptures, photographs, video, props and costumes, annotated music scores, archival materials, film clips, and audio recordings, many drawn from the Charlotte Moorman Archive at the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, Northwestern University Library. The exhibition is a partnership between the Block Museum and the Northwestern University Libraries.