Brooklyn in the 1970s was home to a unique and culturally fertile Black community, and many people I know from the neighborhood have gone on to have successful or influential careers in the arts. But back then, among ourselves, we were just teens doing our thing.
Entering the music realms, dreaming of running a record label, programming a festival, publishing a magazine, being visually articulate on the graphic design front, operating a record store, spinning records onstageor on a radio stationmost mere mortals would tend to fixate on just one or maybe two of these pursuits. In Helsinki, the polymath audio obsessive Matti Nives has, during quite a short careering spell, managed to fulfill all of these roles.
In his new book, Sounds Beyond: Arvo Pärt and the 1970s Soviet Underground, writer and musicologist Kevin C. Karnes considers several entwined histories within the avant-garde scene of the pre-perestroika USSR.
The year 2021 saw two outstanding polymath artists celebrated for their achievements in what turned out to be the final months of their lives: Lebanese poet-painter-novelist-journalist-playwright Etel Adnan, subject of an exhibition, Lights New Measure, at the Guggenheim, and American percussionist-martial artist-herbalist-sculptor Milford Graves, whose solo show Fundamental Frequency at Artists Space grew out of another one at the ICA in Philadelphia last year.