Less than a year after the death of its founder, the Issue Project Room is taking one big step toward realizing her ultimate goal of an avant-garde music space firmly rooted in the heart of Brooklyn.
On Sunday, Issue will hold a free show in its new space in the former Board of Education building at 110 Livingston St. — though the offbeat marathon performance will be as much about the music as it is Downtown’s introduction to the group’s unique, and highly praised, artistic sensibility.
“We’re going to introduce the neighborhood to the type of culture that it can soon expect on a daily basis,” said Sarah Garvey of Issue Project Room, founded in 2003 in Manhattan by the late Suzanne Fiol. “We’re trying to connect the artistic community — as well as the artists to the audience.”
And the show should bring a welcome jolt to the normally sober neighborhood. Anyone who swings by during the epic six-hour performance will also get a gander Issue Project Room’s new home, a grand, stylish space built in 1926 as a national headquarters for the Elks Club.
“The designers of the Sydney Opera House said it is designed similar to European chamber halls,” said Garvey. “It has perfect acoustics for a chamber ensemble.”
For the upcoming show visitors will get to enjoy the sound — just don’t expect a “just like new” venue.
Issue still needs to raise a little more than half of the $2.5 million necessary to fully utilize the space by giving it proper lighting, speakers, audio equipment, bathrooms and offices.
And Issue is keen to assemble the funds — the clock is already ticking on the group’s 20-year, rent-free lease, which developer David Walentas gave to the non-profit in 2008.
But the Spartan digs should only add to the candlelit ambience of the show.
The Ne(x)tworks Quartet will be one of the few and proud to dare to perform Morton Feldman’s “Second String Quartet” in its entirety — a six-hour odyssey described by Issue as a prime example of the composer’s experiments with “free rhythms, muted pitches, quiet and slowly unfolding music, and duration.”
The New Yorker described Feldman’s music as “agonizingly beautiful worlds of sound … glacially slow and snowily soft.”
But visitors should not feel obligated to stay for the whole performance, and are encouraged to come and go as they please — a welcoming attitude that would certainly make Fiol proud.
Fiol always dreamed of a permanent location that would encourage artists to venture into more experimental territory while simultaneously embracing the public. That location will soon open its doors for the first time.
“Pre-renovation” performance of Morton Feldman’s “Second String Quartet” at Issue Project Room [110 Livingston St. at Boerum Place in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 330-0313], Sunday, April 11, 11:30 am to 5:30 pm. Admission is free.