Mark Garry wants to borrow your album. The Dublin-based artist and musician is in the midst of a two-year residency at the Mattress Factory, where he's both curating and creating. His current project, "A generous act," involves recording an album with a group of musicians from around the globe, holding a performance with those musicians, and producing an exhibit that will, in part, feature locally recorded and produced CDs and LPs.
Garry, whose first contact with Pittsburgh came two years ago when he had an installation at the North Side museum, has become enamored of Pittsburgh music -- mostly the city's storied jazz history, but also the very nature of the music community here. Even the Mattress Factory itself acts as something of a musical microcosm, he notes, pointing out that the staff includes current and former musicians like Slim Cessna and Anathallo's Danny Bracken.
Other galleries have put together album-art shows -- the Andy Warhol Museum presented The LP Show back in 2002, for example. But Garry is looking to use album art as part of a larger examination of the musical process, and how geography shapes it.
"When [the other musicians on the project] come, we'll spend time listening to some of the Pittsburgh music I've been listening to," Garry explains. "I think it definitely will impact the music we make."
The project's producer, Fabien Leseure, a Paris-schooled sound engineer and musician, agrees. "Just being here in the environment, that's something you can't escape," he notes. "Just walking down the street -- it affects the music."
Just what kind of music will come out is, as of yet, a mystery -- even to those directly involved. "We don't know how it'll go," Garry explains. "I think there'll be a lot of live work, and lot of sonic conversations being recorded. I like enabling really open situations."
The live show takes place Sat., July 17. The recording associated with the residency will be available online, and Garry is considering shopping it to labels. (He self-released a similar recording with some of the same musicians, Sending Letters to the Sea, last year.)
Local musicians willing to lend Garry a copy of their album for the exhibit portion can deliver or mail it to the Mattress Factory (to Garry's attention) and will be issued a receipt so they can pick it up when the exhibit ends in late August. The museum is located at 500 Sampsonia Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15212. For more info, visit www.mattress.org.