Premiering in the United States, Sonic Blossom by Lee Mingwei invites MFA visitors to receive the personal gift of song from an opera singer. For this participatory installation, Lee will audition and train Boston-area soloists to offer spontaneous one-on-one performances of short Lieder (art songs) by Franz Schubert. Wearing a custom-designed costume, the singer will approach one visitor at a time throughout the galleries. If the visitor chooses to accept a song, he or she will be guided to a special chair and music stand in the William I. Koch Gallery. Performances depend on visitor participation and will occur intermittently throughout the hour (not on a set schedule), with each song lasting approximately four minutes. The first extended exhibition of performance art in MFA history, Sonic Blossom has previously toured South Korea, China, and Japan. Lee is internationally renowned for projects that prompt connections and invite trust, creativity, and self-awareness. He also has a long history with Boston, first exhibiting at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1999. Learn more about the projects that led to Sonic Blossom in the artist’s public lecture Lee Mingwei: The Trust of Strangers on March 25.
Performances were held March 11, 2015–April 9, 2015.
For their collaboration on this presentation, the artist gratefully acknowledges Kelima K. for her custom costume design, Eric Sparks for his furniture fabrication, and Timothy Steele for piano accompaniment. He especially wishes to thank the performing soloists: Teresa Winner Blume, Junhan Choi, James Dargan, Hailey Fuqua, Beibei Guan, Abigail Krawson, Katie O’Reilly, and Christina Pecce.