Students Merge Visual Art and Music in New Exhibit

While art galleries are normally quiet spaces, a new student art exhibition turned a visual display into a musical event. Thursday night marked the opening of “The Art of Sound,” an exhibition at the Student Organization Center at Hilles that combines students’ original visual artwork and musical compositions.

Sarah M. Ngo ’13, the SOCH Art Coordinator, came up with the idea for the exhibition when she noticed a gap between the artistic and musical communities.

“[Composers] and visual artists really would have a lot to say to each other if they were to get together,” Ngo said. “Musical and visual art have so many things in common—color, line, movement, you name it. It goes on and on.”

The exhibit, which will be on view in the SOCH through Dec. 15, includes a display of 11 pieces of visual work that were created in reaction to 11 different musical tracks. Visitors are invited to walk around the display and listen to the different compositions while observing the corresponding artwork.

Ngo worked with the presidents of the Harvard Composers Association, Aviva I. Hakanoglu ’14 and Lydia W. Brindamour ‘13, to find composers whose work would go well with the visual artists participating in the show.

The opening featured live performances of three of the compositions, as well as a video featuring the music and artwork.

Benjamin M. Woo ’13 composed a piano piece entitled, “For the Piano” for the exhibit, which Selena Kim ’15 responded to with a drypoint etching work titled “In Between.” Woo, who performed his composition at the opening, said he thought the exhibit’s incorporation of different kinds of art added value to both mediums.

“Thinking about how different art forms can interact with each other is a great way to look at painting,” Woo said, “because it sees them as more than a craft of a certain material—[it] is something that can really speak.”

James W. Curtin ’16, who attended the opening, said he was impressed by the intricate and professional nature of both the visual art and the compositions in the show.

“[It’s interesting] to see how art can physically represent [musical composition],” Curtin said. “I think they do a really good job of portraying the emotion that the composer is trying to convey.”