artist / participant

press release

For three weeks, beginning today, midtown Manhattan will be the stage for Musical, a series of spontaneous actions orchestrated by artist and filmmaker Dara Friedman. From dawn to dusk, and occasionally even in the middle of the night, office workers, mothers, schoolchildren, taxi drivers, doormen, tourists, divas, and grandparents will break into song, creating unexpected musical events and serendipitous urban moments for all who encounter them. Throughout the course of the project, nearly one hundred individual actions will take place throughout the day and night, weekdays only, in the blocks between Grand Central Station and Central Park South, and between Broadway and Park Avenue.

Dara Friedman, who lives and works in Miami, is best known for her film and video installations, in which she uses the techniques of structuralist filmmaking to depict the lushness, ecstasy, and energy of everyday life. She often distills, syncopates, reverses, loops, or otherwise alters familiar sounds and sights, drawing attention to the distinct sensory acts of hearing and seeing. Whether her work portrays a series of narrative fragments or a single evocative scene repeated over and over, Friedman heightens the emotional impact by cutting directly to the film’s climax in order to, as she puts it, "get to the part you really care about."

In Musical--her first live, performance-based work--Friedman continues her exploration of universal human experience, focusing on the emotional power of sound and, in particular, its capacity to instantly transform one's mood or sense of reality. The project plays upon the vitality of city life, especially on the crowded streets of midtown Manhattan, where unexpected and memorable encounters can be a daily occurrence. Friedman, who notes that she wants to "turn the volume up on the song that's going on in your head as you're walking down the street," is interested in blurring the traditional separation between art and life, and between artist and audience. She envisions the project like a series of pebbles thrown into a glassy lake--each performance will cause a ripple effect that lasts for a while, and then the city will return to business as usual.

Over the course of several weeks, the nearly one hundred performances that constitute Musical will tap into and add to the spirit of the streetscape, entering into the city's collective consciousness. The locations and times of the performances will be unannounced, and each one will appear to be unplanned; most passersby will not know that what they are seeing is part of something larger.

Born in 1968 in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, Dara Friedman now lives and works in Miami. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York (2007, 2002); The Kitchen, New York (2005); The Wrong Gallery, New York (2004); Kunstmuseum, Thun, Switzerland (2002); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2002); Miami Art Museum (2001); and SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico (2001). Friedman attended University of Miami, School of Motion Pictures (MFA); The Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London; Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; and Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York.

Location and Information Musical will take place from September 17 to October 5 throughout midtown Manhattan, in locations between Grand Central Station and Central Park South, and Broadway and Park Avenue. Performances are unannounced and will take place throughout the day and night.

Dara Friedman
A Series of Singing Performances in Midtown Manhattan