Artist Kevin Beasley to Debut Black Rocker at the Dallas Museum of Art

Commissioned by the DMA, This Site-Specific Work to Premiere at First Annual SOLUNA: International Music & Arts Festival 

DALLAS, TX – May 4, 2015 – New York–based artist Kevin Beasley will debut a new work titled Black Rocker during the May 15 Late Night at the Dallas Museum of Art. In continuation of the artist’s site-specific performance practice, Black Rocker, commissioned by the DMA, joins the program of the first annual SOLUNA: International Music & Arts Festival, the first Dallas Arts District–wide music-and-more festival, organized by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

The world premiere of Beasley’s Black Rocker, a sound performance piece consisting of interactive sculptural components, will be a one-night-only experience in the Museum’s Atrium. The new work emphasizes the physicality of sound and explores the journey to American-ness through a culture dependent upon notions of blackness while celebrating the history of black music in America. The space will be activated between 6:00 p.m. and midnight with timed performances by Beasley throughout the evening. Black Rocker derives its name from an actual rocking chair that will be used by Beasley during the performance. This chair will be accompanied by twenty-four bespoke seat cushions made by the artist that will be arranged to invite audience participation.

“Through the twenty-four seats that Kevin has equipped with microphones, the audience will be able to interact with the artist in real time during the performance. This bold experiment will harness the energies of the audience and transform them into dynamic aural sensations,” said Gavin Delahunty, the DMA’s Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art.

Prior to the debut of Black Rocker, Beasley will join Delahunty for a discussion on his work and the political economy of music on Thursday, May 14, at 7:00 p.m. in Horchow Auditorium.

Beasley's sculptural installations and performances have been included in recent internationally renowned exhibitions, such as at the 2014 Whitney Biennial, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland; and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York.

The physicality of sound is foundational to Beasley's site-specific practice, which works to expose a location’s historical weight by revealing the invisible aural materiality and protracted moments from both mythical and scientific time. Prior to his residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem, he was an artist-in-residence at the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in Brooklyn. He received his BFA from the College of Creative Studies, Detroit, and an MFA in Sculpture from Yale University in 2012.

The presentation of Black Rocker, as part of SOLUNA, on Friday, May 15, is included in the DMA’s free general admission. The Thursday, May 14, artist talk with Gavin Delahunty and Kevin Beasley requires a lecture ticket of $5. Order online at or by phone during normal business hours at 214-922-1818.

Anchored by DSO performances led by Music Director Jaap van Zweden, SOLUNA: Dallas International Music & Arts Festival will showcase internationally acclaimed guest soloists, visual artists and performing artists alongside leading Dallas-based companies and ensembles. A new annual, three-week multidisciplinary event, SOLUNA will stage performances and exhibitions across such venues as the Meyerson Symphony Center, the AT&T Performing Arts Center, the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Dallas Museum of Art, as well as other prominent galleries and performance spaces in the Dallas Arts District.

Image: Kevin Beasley, I Want My Spot Back, 2012, Museum of Modern Art, New York

About the Dallas Museum of Art
Established in 1903, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) is among the 10 largest art museums in the country and is distinguished by its commitment to research, innovation and public engagement. At the heart of the Museum and its programs is its global collection, which encompasses more than 23,000 works and spans 5,000 years of history, representing a full range of world cultures. Located in the nation’s largest arts district, the Museum welcomes over 650,000 visitors annually and acts as a catalyst for community creativity, engaging people of all ages and backgrounds with a diverse spectrum of programming, from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, literary events, and dramatic and dance presentations. In January 2013, the DMA returned to a free general admission policy and launched DMA Friends, the first free museum membership program in the country, which currently has over 100,000 members. For more information, visit

The Dallas Museum of Art is supported, in part, by the generosity of DMA Partners and donors, the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.