SUAL Archives | 2014

Max Neuhaus: American Can — opening performance

Duration:     3‘37“ (excpt)
Type:             Recorded live at SUAL 2014
Credits:        Audio recording by JF, editing by BG

American Can

American Can is a piece in which a large number of any single product manufactured or distributed by the American Can Cp. is distributed on the ground, in a large crowd. The quantity of the product used must be at least enough to completely blanket the area of distribution with one layer. The ground upon which the product is distributed should be hard enough to insure that a sound is made when the product is bounced or slid along it. Each piece is labelled with a version title and the words AMERICAN CAN and Max Neuhaus Sept’ 66.

[Max Neuhaus, A Max Sampler, in: Source. Music of the Avant-garde, 1966-1973, issue 5, January 1969]

American Can was premiered at the Central Park in New York on September 9th, 1966, as part of the 4th Annual New York Avant Garde Festival.

Max Neuhaus

Max Neuhaus was born in 1939 in Texas, and spent his childhood in Fishkill, New York. He began his studies in music at the Manhattan School of Music under Paul Prince’s mentorship. In 1958, he met John Cage, and this encounter determined his decision to become a professional percussionist. After a solo tour in Europe in 1965, Neuhaus started developing projects that went beyond the strictly musical realm; among them were site-specific pieces that he was the first to call “sound installations.” In 1968, as he started a research residency at the Bell Laboratories, Neuhaus ceased performing as a musician and fully devoted himself to sound art. Since then, his work has been exhibited internationally in museums and galleries, including solo shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1978); Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris (1983); and the Kunsthalle Bern (1989). He was also included in Documentas 6 (1977) and 9 (1992), Kassel, Germany; the Whitney Biennial, New York (1983); and the Venice Biennale (1999). In 2008, an exhibition of Neuhaus’s drawings was organized by the Menil Collection, Houston, which coincided with the inauguration of a new installation, Sound Line. Neuhaus passed away in February 2009 in Italy.


[info as of 11/2014]