As Below, So Above

The Sandra and Gerald Fineberg Art Wall will transform for the first time since the museum’s opening with a new work by Los Angeles-based artist Dave Muller.  Entitled As Below, So Above, Muller’s first project in Boston builds on his explorations of rock ‘n’ roll’s evolution and contemporary influence, while expanding to new heights in the dynamic vertical space of the ICA lobby.

The work will incorporate a diagrammatic timeline of chart-topping rock hits—found in Reebee Garofalo and Steve Chapple’s book Rock ‘n’ Roll Is Here to Pay (1977)—from the 1950s to 70s, including Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and the Supremes. Reproduced at epic scale, it will be hand-illustrated with rocks, grass, and plants, as if a landscape cut in cross-section. Consecutive years will extend before and after these decades into a timeline horizon. In the “sky” space above, framed paintings resembling stars will radiate the names of music categories—rock’s latest offshoots within the Boston music scene. Below the horizon will be illustrations of albums by “underground” artists of cult, if not commercial, fame.

Adding sonic texture to this visual expanse, a small FM radio station created by Muller will broadcast a non-repeating soundtrack drawn from his personal collection of over 15,000 digital albums. A 1000-page play list, available next to the wall, will allow visitors to trace titles and artists within the soundtrack’s sequence and add their own notes.  Unfolding visually across space and audibly over time, Muller’s As Below, So Above depicts rock within a larger universe of music, vast yet intricate and intimately familiar.