The Lab

The Lab is a nonprofit experimental art and performance space located in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Wadada Leo Smith Exhibition of Scores @ Kadist

Wadada Leo Smith, score sample from a composition that can be heard on "Luminous Axis" (Tzadik)

Wadada Leo Smith, score sample from a composition that can be heard on "Luminous Axis" (Tzadik)

Location: Kadist, 3295 20th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Reception: 6 - 8 pm
Wadada Leo Smith in conversation with Hamza Walker: 7pm

In an interview, David Hammons once cautioned that if you want to write about me, write about Sun Ra and Miles Davis. In fact, he believes that art is three hundred years behind music.

Music is an art of many types of abstractions. It mixes sounds with silences in ways that rarely “represent” or have an “about.“ And yet, it's one of the most powerful languages out there. 

To represent its abstractions, we use notes. Some, however, prefer graphic scores, which keep abstractions abstract. 

For the past fifty years, Wadada Leo Smith (b. 1941) has been developing his own form of graphic musical notation he calls Ankhrasmation. “Ankh” is the Egyptian symbol for life, “Ras” is the Ethiopian word for leader, and “Ma” is a universal term for mother­­. They are compositions of color, line, and shape. 

Our friends at Kadist recently added some of the scores to their collection, and a selection of them are on view.

The artist introduces the works in conversation with curator Hamza Walker.

Wadada Leo Smith was a key member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Music (AACM) In the 1960s and 1970s. He currently performs with the Golden Quartet, Silver Orchestra, and Organic ensembles. He lives in Chicago.

This event is part of Abstract Languages: Three Musical Events, co-organized with Kadist and the Wattis. On December 17, Smith also presents a live performance of his Four Symphonies with Ikue Mori, Anthony Davis, and Hardedge at The Lab.

This is the fourth event in the Wattis' year-long season about and around the work of David Hammons.