Beginner’s Trumpet Solo

performance at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Museums are historically places for the mastery of art. Contemporarily, it is important to reconsider the function of art and its social values. The Now Speak! sculpture is a good example of such ideology of replacing the notion of mastery and embracing art’s social functions. However, by displacing the podium from being outside to being inside the museum, it unavoidably attaches to the sculpture a heavier institutional context. Being invited to speak and activate the sculpture therefore becomes less of a social event.

The idea of learning to play the trumpet is a response to this situation. As an instrument associated with classical and jazz mastery of music, or the military (all very masculine situations, if I may add), placing a trumpet in a museum creates a certain expectation of the function of the instrument and the skill of the player. As I try to teach myself the instrument and likely fail at it, I attempt to question the expectation of mastery as well as the role of the voice in an institutional setting such as this.