Chris Forsyth

2011 Pew Fellow

Chris Forsyth, 2011 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.

“Because I am attracted to traditional and radical approaches, I like to explore the zones where different ideas rub up against each other and make sparks.”

Chris Forsyth (b. 1973) seeks out and articulates intersections of various musical traditions, including free jazz, American folk, blues, and 20th-century electronic music. Drawn to rock music while growing up in New Jersey, Forsyth immersed himself in improvisational music in the mid-’90s, hearing and learning from many important experimental artists, including Richard Lloyd, a founding member of the influential punk band Television, and jazz guitarist Joe Morris. Since then, he has embarked on a musical career that remains devoted to his rock roots while questioning and expanding them. “I like to explore the zones where different ideas rub up against each other and make sparks,” says Forsyth. Like 2011 Pew Fellow Charles Cohen, Forsyth finds himself especially attracted to the dynamism and singularity of improvisational music. “Improvisation involves the chance of failure as much as invention, but when it works, it is, for me, the best kind of music—living, evolving music.”

Forsyth has performed throughout Europe and the United States with various ensembles and collaborators, and has over 30 releases available on independent record labels, including his own, Evolving Ear. An album inspired by his Kensington Neighborhood in Philadelphia, Kenzo Deluxe, was released in July 2012 by the Northern Spy label; the CD and vinyl editions include cover art by 2012 Pew Fellow Dan Murphy. In October 2013, the Paradise of Bachelors label released his most ambitious full-band recording yet: the immersive, four-part suite Solar Motel. According to critic Tony Rettman, “[Solar Motel] serves as a perfect example of what Forsyth calls his music: Cosmic Americana.” In the fall of 2014, Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band released Intensity Ghost on No Quarter Records.


Chris Forsyth, “Solar Motel,” from Solar Motel (Paradise of Bachelors, 2013).

References

Grants & Grantees

Michael Grothusen is a visual artist and a 1998 Pew Fellow.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Jan Howard was appointed curator of prints, drawings, and photographs at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2000.

This month in Fellows Friday news: Uri Caine receives rave reviews for his Philadelphia Freedom Festival commission, Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib’s exhibition at Locks Gallery is a Critics’ Pick on Artforum, and much more.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Alma Ruiz is a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, where she has curated numerous exhibitions.

Grants & Grantees

Tina Davidson is a composer and a 1992 Pew Fellow.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Ruth Estévez is a curator, writer, and stage designer. She is currently gallery director and curator of REDCAT at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

Informed by personal experiences with tinnitus, this collaborative performance series and electroacoustic installation will explore hearing damage, anchored by a handcrafted 20-foot long instrument of piano strings, amplifiers, and a mixer.

Grants & Grantees

Martha Clark’s dance-theater work was inspired by photographs by Diane Arbus, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, and Helen Levitt.

Over its 18-year history, Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) Lively Arts Series has engaged local and national artists to share their work with the college and surrounding Blue Bell community.

September 2015 Pew Fellows news highlights: The New York Times features exhibitions from Alex da Corte and Pepón Osorio in its “New Season” picks; Fellows such as Anthony Campuzano and Gabriel Martinez open new installations, and more.

We speak to choreographer and dancer Jumatatu Poe who has produced such provocative, experimental dance works as the Center-funded Private Places.

Grants & Grantees

The Crossing commissioned composers Chris Jonas, Gene Coleman, and Gabriel Jackson to write new choral works based on poems by French-American writer Pierre Joris.