The first audio document ever published by Fluxus artist Geoffrey Hendricks (1931-2018). There is a romanticism found in Geoffrey, that, in my mind, sets his work aside from his Fluxfriends. Known for his timeless sky paintings, applied to canvas, cars, clothes, and so on, the conceptual married the majestic. He was a master painter, whose work could have filled cathedral ceilings. Instead, he chartered his bow alongside George Maciunas, John Cage, Dick Higgins, etc. in the 1950s. Hendricks became a prominent member of Fluxus, shown in exhibitions around the world for over 60 years.
In the 1970s, composer Charlie Morrow approached Hendricks about recording an album for the New Wilderness Audiographics cassette series. This became a 40 year dance of orbiting schedules and slipping dates. Their skies aligned in 2014, and a recording session at Ear Up Studios in New York manifested. Geoffrey’s connection to nature not only focused upwards at the sky, but also downwards to stones. “Rock Music” consists of a box of rocks being cast across a room. Pounded on wood, soft and hard, the sonar-like snapping echo mapping the dimensions of the room. Small bells hover over the rubbing of stones humming to each other. You can tell that this was a therapeutic ritual he practiced for years, not merely an improvised recording concept. With the LP is a booklet that includes diaries of his stone collecting on Cape Breton island in 1973, beautifully infused with dream recollection.
The cassette of “Music for Sky Slate Wall” was discovered by chance earlier this year in the vast archive Hendricks left behind. It holds Geoff’s close friend Philip Corner performing at an Emily Harvey Foundation exhibition in 1999. Corner responds to the Hendricks installation, interpreting the wall adorned with watercolors of day and night skies, grey slate, and a ladder hanging more paintings and golden ornaments. Philip Corner performs with prongs, Korean shaman cymbals, his voice, and a shoe. Their charming friendship can be heard in the interplay.
This project was made possible by Geoff’s widow, Sur Rodney (Sur), his children, Tyche and Bracken Hendricks, Philip Corner, & Charlie Morrow.
-Sean McCann, August 2019