Yesterday I finished reading the book, "Topless Cellist" - the improbable life of Charlotte Moorman, by Joan Rothfuss.
Everyone interested in contemporary music, the avant-garde, Fluxus, Nam June Paik, John Cage, Yoko Ono (just to name a few of its characters) and of course Charlotte Moorman should get this book. It is awesome! It is a great story, beautifully written and a sensitive, thoughtful response to Charlotte's life and work that Rothfuss researched meticulously.
I was introduced to Joan Rothfuss (then a curator at the Walker) back in 1999 when attending an art opening for the work of Bruce Conner at the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis. On the second floor of the gallery was another exhibit that featured 'TV Bra for Living Sculpture' by Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman. I first encountered Moorman when she was a guest on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show in the late 60's. I was a young girl who had just started playing the cello, so I was fascinated by what I saw and heard. But it wasn't until I left Kronos that I had time to consider some research into her work which was prompted by seeing 'TV Bra' in the gallery.
Rothfuss noted my interest and recommended I contact several people who could give me information into Charlotte's world. Due to Joan's generosity I connected with many of them and started my quest to find a piece from her repertoire I might be able to perform. The result was the remounting of 'Ice Music for London' by Jim McWilliams. A frequent collaborator of Charlotte's, Jim was living in San Diego at the time and agreed to a new interpretation of the piece. Jim suggested updating the work by working with SoCal Ice Productions and Julian Bayley at Ice Culture who fabricated an ice cello based on the measurements of my 1750 acoustic cello.
With the assistance of Alessandro Moruzzi (designer, artistic consultant)), Daniel Collard (technical director) and Greg Kuhn (composer, engineer) 'Ice Cello' was performed on May 20, 2001 at the Walker Art Center.