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Burchfield Penney launches four-day music and art festival

In Buffalo, the border between experimental visual art and music has long been blurry.

The territory between those two nominally separate disciplines has proven especially fertile here, fostering and supporting artistic and musical minds on the order of John Cage, Morton Feldman and Tony Conrad.

That’s the focus of a four-day celebration opening May 12 in the Burchfield Penney Art Center (1300 Elmwood Ave.) featuring an array of musical performances and panel discussions. The festival, which crosses over with Squeaky Wheel’s multiday 30th anniversary celebration, is inspired by the Burchfield Penney’s current exhibition “Andrew Deutsch: Object as Energy.”

“The Deutsch exhibition on view at The Center is an assemblage of loudspeakers, transducers and metaphors for speakers,” Burchfield Penney curator Don Metz wrote in a release. “A ‘crossover’ is the brain of a loudspeaker system which sends high frequency information to the tweeter and removes this same band of high frequencies from the woofer. This festival will celebrate the community-wide crossover of electronic visualization and electronic sound in creating media art.”

“Crossover: Between Time, Space and Electronics” kicks off at 7 p.m. May 12 with a performance titled “Listening in Nature,” which features music by Cage and many others. On May 13, the affair continues with a 5:30 p.m. happy hour, followed by performances from Wooden Cities, Buffluxus and Carrier Band at 6 p.m. and an eclectic program by A Musical Feast at 8 p.m.

On May 14, the event will feature panel discussions on art and labor at 11 a.m., media archives at 12:30 p.m. and media dialects at 3:30 p.m. Meanwhile, at 8 p.m. May 14 in Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center (341 Delaware Ave.), artist and writer Ron Ehmke will present a program honoring the late artist Fred Bacher, an important figure in the local art scene. More activities follow on May 15, with a complete schedule at burchfieldpenney.org.

- Colin Dabkowski