press release

Rehearsal at the Astoria is British artist Graham Hudson’s first solo institutional exhibition in the United States. The exhibition features an enormous installation created especially for Arthouse’s main gallery which aims to collapse time and space and connect London’s past with Austin’s present through a multi-layered sculptural and musical experience. The form of the installation references the architecture of London’s iconic Astoria Theatre, which was demolished in 2009. The architectural history of the Astoria parallels that of Arthouse’s building, both of which were once movie theaters. First opened in 1929, the Astoria underwent several renovations before becoming one of the most highly-desired music venues in London for both up-and-coming bands and well-established rock ‘n roll acts, including David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, U2, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, and The White Stripes, among many others. As part of an ongoing transformation of London’s West End, the Astoria closed its doors in 2009 and is currently being redeveloped as the Tottenham Court Road Underground station. With his project, Hudson brings the Astoria back to life by reconstructing a portion of its historic architectural plan in ghost-like scaffolding. Replete with performance stage and audience seating, Hudson’s Astoria is offered up to musicians from Austin and beyond to use as a free rehearsal space during its ten-week reincarnation. Continuously activated by musicians throughout the course of the exhibition, Hudson’s installation is essentially a living, breathing sculpture. Musicians are intrinsic to its existence and their performances are part of the artwork. Hudson’s caveat, however, is that this Astoria’s stage only be used for rehearsals, not formal concerts or performances. Furthermore, all rehearsals are open to the public, which allows for a new perspective on the creative process and plays with the dynamic between the audience and performer. For Hudson, the rehearsal is infinitely more interesting than the finished performance. He says, “It is music with the wires hanging out, fragile and with chance, more open. It’s risky and of course should not be on display. That’s something I try and do with my work, put the ‘making of’ on display.” Hudson’s aim is to reveal how all artistic disciplines—from sculpture to music—share a common creative process characterized by experimentation, trial and error, and practice. The environment he has created is a space where mistakes—the unexpected and the beautiful—can be transformed into art, both literally and figuratively. Celebrated for its live music scene, Austin has no shortage of bands and musicians. Hudson capitalizes on that fact by inviting musicians to become his collaborators in this cross-disciplinary artwork. Following an open call for participants, more than 150 musical artists will be selected as collaborators. Musicians and bands of ALL experience levels are genres—from indie, pop, country, electro, hip hop, punk, folk, blues, soul, metal, bounce, jazz, bluegrass, experimental, classical, and everything in between—will participate, ensuring a diversity of artistic expression that not only reflects the colorful Austin music scene, but also parallels the wide range and interconnectedness of artistic expression that has been shown in the Astoria and Arthouse over the years.

Graham Hudson
Rehearsal at the Astoria