(Part I-A: Text [version #10])


Anne Tardos

Copyright (c) 1994 by Anne Tardos, New York


Among Men is a verbal and musical performance work for speakers and instrumentalists drawing its materials from the lives and works of woman painters, sculptors, and composers. Insofar as it "deals with them," it does so obliquely.

It comprises two moderately long collage poems, each of which exists in several quite different versions, and a seventeen-page score for instrumentalists.

The poems were made by a complex group of procedures involving both choice and nonintentionbal determinations. One of the poems is made by subjecting all of the entries on women composers, painters, and sculptors in two specific reference works to a series of procedures that select, exclude, combine, and separate statements and parts of statements about the lives and works of these women. The other poem comprises the first names of all of the men composers, painters, and sculptors whose entries are found in the reference works between the ones on the women.

Each page of the instrumental score is a reproduction of a painting or sculpture by a woman over which has been superimposed a page or part of a page of music by a woman composer. As Tardos explains, the visual works are all those by women that are available on slides in the stores of two of New York's most prominent museums. The pages of music are from the few scores by women actually available for borrowers at New York's largest public music library.

Tardos has quite consciously limited herself to sources readily accessible to any interested member of the public, not only to specialists and academic researchers.

Her ways of working with these verbal, visual, and musical materials and the ways in which performers make use of her poems and musical score amalgamate and transform the sources into a unique artwork capable of a myriad of possible performance realizations. In those preceded or accompanied by projections of pages of the musical score (musical notations superimposed over reproductions of visual works), an audience may become aware both of the beauty of the pages of the score and of the distance between the sources and the artwork to which they contribute.

Among Men provides both unmistakably evident comments on these women artists' lives and works, as well as the fates of the latterÄÄmost unambiguously in the contrast between the relatively small number of women dealt with in the reference works and the very large number of men (as shown by the poem composed solely of the first names of men composers, painters, and sculptors)ÄÄand very subtle "between the lines" reflections that will be aroused differently in each hearer and viewer.

This is not a didactic work but one of which the "didactic aura" contributes to the total aesthetic form and effect. What we may learn from it about the lives and works of women visual artists and composers is subsumed in a much more extensive and richer composite of sensations, feelings, and ideas over which the figure of metamorphosis might be said to rule.

In this work Tardos's multiple vocations as visual artist, poet, composer, and performer are brought together to contribute to a performative whole in which each speaker, instrumentalist, and hearer/viewer is encouragedÄÄindeed requiredÄÄto function as her own center. Within its didactic aura, it is polysemous to the extreme, and this multiple meaningÄdimension is itself present within a manifold affective and perceptive complex.

While unified by the relatively small number of sources, the ways in which the materials drawn from these sources have been combined, reworked, and transformed have led to a prismatically various and continually changing work of art.

-- Jackson Mac Low, New York: 23 September 1994


Part I: Artists and Composers


AMONG MEN is a multimedia performance piece for one to nine instrumentalists, one to four speaking voices, and 17 slides. The work constitutes an overview of women artists and composers throughout history. The voices read a text-collage drawn from biographical notes on the artists and composers, while the instrumentalists perform scores created by superimposing transparencies of paintings and sculptures over excerpted musical notation. The instrumentalists play the notation as modified by the superimposed artworks. Slides of these scores are projected at the beginning of or during the performances.

The composers whose works are excerpted are Jeanne Demessieux, Vivian Fine, Ruth Crawford-Seeger, and Dame Ethel Smyth.

The painters and sculptors whose works are superimposed over musical notation are Rosa Bonheur, Mary Cassatt, Helen Frankenthaler, Eva Hesse, Frida Kahlo, Marisol, Georgia O'Keeffe, Meret Oppenheim, Bridget Riley, Suzanne Valadon, and Elisabeth Vig‚e-Lebrun.

I used two reference books in our home library as sources: The Oxford Dictionary of Art, eds. Ian Chilvers, Harold Osborne, and Dennis Farr (Oxford, U.K., & New York: Oxford University Press, 1988) and The Norton/Grove Concise Encyclopedia of Music, eds. Stanley Sadie & Alison Latham (New York & London: W.W. Norton, 1988).

I copied all biographical entries on woman painters and sculptors from The Oxford Dictionary of Art. Then I copied all biographical entries on woman composers from The Norton/Grove Encyclopedia of Music. (I decided to leave out singers and instrumentalists for space reasons.)

During the copying of these biographies I copied down, on a separate list, the first names of all the men for whom there are biographical entries in the two source books. Now I had three lists: two long lists of biographies and a list of men's first names. I alternated the biographies of the composers with those of the artists. Then I shortened the lists by simplifying language, removing many pronouns, most of the very many references to male "influences" and husbands, etc., e.g. "her work resembled that of . . . ," etc.

In the remaining text, I arranged and spaced the phrases in different patterns on the page to build in irregularities and blank areas to guide the reading of the text in performances.

Then I sorted the lines of the text--each comprising one or more fragments of entries--in alphabetical or reverse alphabetical order. Because of the spacings in these broken lines, the text was now completely scrambled. I sorted then a few more times in both directions. The text changed radically with each sorting. I kept ten numbered versions.

Then I edited the text somewhat to please my musical sense. At this point I visited two New York museums, The Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and bought ALL the available slides of women's works. In the two museums I found slides of works by only 11 women: 17 images in all.

I had these slides copied and enlarged on 8 x 10" transparent acetate sheets.

Taking my list of composers to the Lincoln Center Library, I went digging for scores by some of the women composers. I found only a few more than four, but though there were more, I stopped at four because by then I had more than enough music for the 17 transparencies.

I copied the music, and then carefully selected each sheet to fit under each of the transperencies. Parts of the music, clefs, entire lines, etc. had to be cropped to fit the images. I mounted them together and returned to the copy shop. There I made laser copies of each "sandwich."

Having made nine of each, I put together nine scores (each consisting of two sets: five horizontal and twelve vertical images). I mounted the 17 sheets of scores in nine different orders, thereby making nine different 17-page scores. (The number of instrumental scores may be expanded to 18 by giving separate horizontal or vertical scores to different instrumentalists.)

I determined that in performances the instrumentalist(s) would play the music superimposed on the reproductions of artworks while the speaker(s) read the interleaved biographical text collage and the men's first names poem.

For the S.E.M. Ensemble performance with nine instrumentalists I made a conductor's score which indicated that the instrumentalists should play only at certain specific times and not play at others.

Guidelines for Instrumentalists

Because these scores were made by superimposing transparent color reproductions of artworks over fragments of musical scores, in some cases parts of the paintings partly or completely obliterate the notes. In general, the more legible a note is, the louder it should be played--occasional fortes being the loudest--the less legible the softer, barely visible notes being played very softly, and stave areas covered by black being expressed as silences of comparable length.

Clefs, registers, tempi, timbres, and attacks will vary according to the performers' choices. They choose durations of silence between pages in accordance with real-time judgments of allover texture, etc. Legible pitches (relative to performers' clef choices), note values, phrasing, and manners of performance (staccato, etc.) should be played as written. Their relation to each other should be kept constant within each page.

The line of music near the top of Kahlo's painting must be played exactly as written.

Summary for instrumentalists:

Ignore signatures. Choose clefs and tempi for each page and keep to them. Keep note values and phrasing exact.

Guidelines for Speakers

One speaker:

Read the biographical text collage (Part I-A: Text) alternating with the names poem (Part I-B: Names). Pay attention to the layout of the text on the pages, the blank spaces, the meaning of the words, phrases. Listen to the music and the silences of the instrumentalists. The speaker decides for herself when to read and when to fall silent. The text is the only score. It is recommended to interleaf a page of name poem with a page of biographical text collage poem, but it is not obligatory. The speaker may decide to read the name poem for a while and then switch to the other when it feels right. Unlike the instrumentalists, who must follow a specific score that tells them when to play and when to fall silent, the speaker is free to make these desicisions during the performance.

Two (or more) speakers:

The same applies as to one speaker, with the addition that the two speakers must listen intently to each other and all the sounds around them and only occasionally speak at the same time, but mostly let each other be heard. They are not to read at all until "it feels right." Until it feels as if the reader has something to constructive to contribute to the whole. That doesn't mean that one has to wait until there is some sort of a hiatus to speak, rather to listen intently to the whole sound until one feels that one's own contribution will be an improvement to what is already being heard. Not unlike jazz musicians, who listen and wait and jump in when they feel that the "door is open."

Performance chronology of Among Men Part I

26 February 1994
  • Premiere performance by The Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble, conducted by Petr Kotik, with Anne Tardos and Jackson Mac Low, voices at the Willow Place Auditorium Brooklyn, New York
    9 April 1994
  • Performance for the Schule fuer Dichtung in Wien with Sara Hohenstein, violoncello; Tardos, voice at the Galerie Krinzinger Vienna, Austria
    May 1994
  • St. Marks Church presentation of Among Men by Jackson Mac Low at a Panel Discussion on Text-related Performance. He plays excerpts of a recording of the premiere performance and the performance in Vienna, He shows the scores to the audience and reads an 18-step chronological description of the making of the work.
    19 July 1994
  • at The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa Institute Anne Tardos, voice, Steven Taylor, piano Boulder, Colorado
    23 July 1994
  • The Arkestra Pirata performs with Timm Lenk, synthesizer; Kathy Gilbert, Kevan Brown, voices; Barry Gilbert, electronics; Richard Turco, reeds; Sam Fuqua, bass guitar; and Neil Parker, slides. Theater at Old Main, University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado
    30 July 1994
  • Radio broadcast of recording of the 9 April 1994 Vienna performance KGNU Radio, Boulder, Colorado
    13 August 1994
  • Live broadcast of studio perfomance by the Arkestra Pirata with Kathy Gilbert, Sam Fuqua, voices; Barry Gilbert, electronics; Timm Lenk, synthesizer, Richard Turco, reeds. KGNU Radio, Boulder, Colorado

    A new version of Among Men Part I for a multitrack audio recording is currently in progress.

    Among Men Part II, in progress, will be based on the lives and works of poets, writers, and choreographers. In addition to (or instead of) music there will be material for dancers to perform.



    (Part I-A: Text [version #10])

    Copyright (c) 1994 by Anne Tardos, New York

    Smell the air! 
    How lovely is the horse's sensitive nose,  
         the dog's moving lyrical and dramatic poetry.
    Disciplined,  cogent Donkey's Tail.
      Hildegard of Bingen.   Pall de e marte.
    Wall construction       Vocal techniques. 
    Elisabeth Viege-Lebrun and The Art of Touching the Keyboard 
         for piano. 
    Rita's Rhythms. Reclusive life, introspective subjects. Reclining woman giant
    "environment" fun-fair. 
    Rayonism Russia.        Raffaella Aleotti. 
                   The Tate.    
    Sofonisba Anguisciola: Social protest. Smooth polished goggles.
    Short life. 
    She died in 1943 from an accident with a leaking stove during a visit to
    She died. 
              She abandoned music. 
                   She died in a fire at her studio in St Ives. 
    She was in her nineties. 
    Judith Leyster and a Woman decapitating a man.
    Sexually suggestive Black Iris.
        Rosa Bonheur.
    Hepworth's Pierced Form  Using the "hole," the outside and inside of a figure.
              Human figure.
         Strong moral and social convictions. Strings.
     Rachel Ruysch 
    Western avant-garde d'oiseux.
    Enclosed space. Desert, earth, sky, clouds.Malipiero, Venice.    Magdalena Abaknowicz
    Madrigals, cantatas, avant-garde. 
         Vanessa Bell's Use of the "hole" on Unprimed canvas. 
    Sorrel Hays     Met Arp in Zurich.
         Wrote over 400 piano works.
    Wretched conditions, woven fabrics.
    Worked on four or five paintings simultaneously 
    Women's suffrage March of the Women 
    Want to make a machine which cannot fulfil its essential Orchestra relation of
    masses, a living theatrical figure. How lovely is the horse's sensitive nose, 
    Fantasy Literary things. . . .
    Montmartre, cigarettes, trousers. 
         Choral works. 
              Christchurch.     SMELL THE AIR! 
    Slender insect life. 
    Aboriginal art "situations," 
         the dog's moving lyrical necessity . . . an extension of the telluric
    Conservatory Boulanger Paris.
    Betsy Jolas     Berthe Nature. 
    "Direct carving."  "Carving as a canvas."  "Carving as a biological
    necessity." "Carving" "direct carving" "carving."
    "I should like to exert influences in this excitement 
         of the Orthodox Eye."
    "Sculptured walls."     "Op art."
    "My religion and discovering the nature of carving."  "My religion and my art,
    these are my British people."
    "The Responsive characters."
    Calegari. Santa Ursula at Novara.
    A whole room of flowers and female oratorio composers.
    "The excitement of discovering the nature of A nun"  A nun.
    Over 200 works, solo motets.    Prix de Rome.   Precursor of German music.  
    Mixed media.  A Night at the Chinese Opera.A carver.  20th-century music.   
    "The unconscious feeling that often murmurs so softly and sweetly within
    me."     "The flower pieces. 
    A Christmas Carol, Harriet, the Woman is kept alive, electronic Expressionism.
    Abstract art in Britain. 
    Royal Grendahl Admiration.   Accordion.
    America often murmurs softly and sweetly within me.
    Mary Moser piano Petroushskates.
         Accompanied keyboard Tribute to the British People.
    AMY BEACH,    Alison whole room of Kauffmann    and wit, charm and talent,
    successful career.And Disciplined,  LockwoodAnne Boyd,Anna Mary Robertson
      Amy Beach,    Amy Beach, League.
      An American Tribute to the nudes.
    An extension of the telluric forces which mould Berlin.
    Angelica Kauffmann sweetly within me. 
    and religion. 
      and instruments.
     and Cambridge.
         Angelica Walker: art, these are my life." 
    "I do not want to make a stone     Artemisia Gentileschi, 
    the Art Students League.        Ariadne.        
    Annea Gum Blossoms.     Australian outback.     
    Assemblage Artemisia. 
    Barbara Strozzi Barbara Kolb,   Avant-garde idiom. 
    Australian and in need of help."    Becoming permanently blind in 1749.Beauty 
    Mrs. Mary Beale   Beauty and charm Dame Morisot     Szymanowska
      Agathe Ursula Grndahl, Norwegian Haunted Hills.
         beings are so perplexed expressed in more abstract terms.       Blind
    from composer.Iskusstva.  
    International thing in stone. 
    First Three stage works, cantatas, songs, Lucite, and aluminum compartments.   
      Bloodthirsty Bloomsbury Cook.      Bridget RileyBrazilian Concrete art.
    Female oratorio concerts in FranceBrightly colored Rita Cook.
     Vige-Lebrun: The Art of Touching a monk.      British Op art.        
    Brightly-colored abstract Post-Impressionist spattered gaudily painted female
    figures.Buddhist Songs of Space calendar. 
    Ca' Rezzonico, Abstraction-Cration.    Cavalli and Venice. 
    Cassatt-Cantata         Pioneer of modernism in Finland.  Bilthoven.Chamber
    music. Chamber botanist.  First Clarinette.
    Clara Schumann.         Circus acrobat.         Beauty of Constructivism. 
    Compositions for her own performance, circus life in the Convent of San Vito,
    Ferrara.Contemplation bouquet
    Highly Aleotti.  
    Highly Alison Margaret Bauld Dutch flower painting.             Experimental
         experimental artist Natalia Goncharova. 
    Experimental her grandfather.   Naive Arthritis.    Found objects.     
    Formulaic patterns.Formidable personality.    Formidable outspoken Barbara
    Hepworth Dame Ethel SmythDame Elizabeth 19 by Agostino Tassi.Devon designs.   
    Kathe Kollwitz    Decaying old pianos.  Death. 
    Dear Emily.     Dark backgrounds in the sculptures in Dixmuiden,
    Flanders."concerto grande" ears and deep eyes; but to me these are not stone
    forms or Edinburgh 12-note style.
    Earth Maconchy, Failing health, solitary life, simplified style.       
    Elizabeth Poston Experimentation vari‚. Feminine independence. 
    Ela Hiltunen,   her fifties.  Precisionist's and leaves and flowers.  
    family.Failing eyesight in composers.
    Elaine Barkin           Fauvism.    Convent of Saint tigers, wolves.
    Germaine Tailleferre
    Figuratively her new woman since Angelica Kauffmann and Mary Moser.    First
    American,     First woman to conduct orchestral Decisions.     First woman 
    to be
    exhibited in the schematic design.     Natalia Janotha,     First woman 
    to be
     exhibited in the Louvre in her lifetime.
       First woman member of the Prussian Academy
       First woman Pulitzer Prize       Nadia knows that is Louvre in her
    lifetime.     Flower pieces, Teresa Agnesi.
    Jeanne-Louise Farrenc    
    compositions of fruit Academy.  flower pieces in the Dutch
    characterForm.     Fontainebleau . . . Fontainebleau.Flowers. Keeper of 
    Frances Hodgkins' own O'Keeffe. Futurism?          Furlined and furcovered
    teacup, saucer, L‚gion d'honneur. 
    Grace Williams.         Gonch rova's Golden Age gives us the power to project
    into a plastic medium and First opera of Nature as we are perpetually renewed,
    our sense of Toronto.     
    Grazyna Bacewicz:  Grandma Moses Day, a Grand tradition.        Esther Ballou,
    Environmental sound.    Joan La Barbara,  ensemble  Englishness.   Emily Carr  
         Ellen Taaffe Zwilich     
    Elizabeth, drop these off for Vittoria Aleotti. 
    Hepworth's outlook. Her book Unit One: Hepworth, Nicholson, Moore, and
    Harmony.    HelŠne 
    SchjerfbecHelen Margaret GiffordHaunted Hills.Gwen
    John,Groupe des Recherches Musicales.Group of Seven, career. Her work often
    passed as his.  Her work often passed as his.    Her writings.    Her
    Dianda,Highly regarded Royal Academician.    Her successful
    architecture.Hinged pieces "vestiary" sculpture soft materials,Hilda figure.
    Helen Frankenthaler. 
         Horses and riders some universal or  Germaine Richier           
    working . . . in the intervals between labor pains."   
    Theresia compositions.  Impressionism.  Ill health.     London, Cologne, the
    time.     In a Dead Brown Land.    Improvisation.  Improvisation. Quatuor II 
    Lygia Clark  
    Jeanne Demessieux  Jennifer McLeod Italian times when human piano at
    Holofernes.    Judith WeirJoan Tower, idiom.   Personal style.  
     Pelagos.   Peggy
    Glanville-Hicks   Peasants' War was born and I never left my studio at
    Diamonds.   Katherine S. Dreier.   Judith died in 1943 from an accident 
    with a
     Lacerated decomposition.
    La Loge.        Knowledge.   Knave of with only be lyrical Lyrical songs.      
    Lagrime mie.    Lady at the Tea Table. Boulanger
    Farmhand in Senlis.     Fantastic welding technique.    
    The Wreckers. of English verismo.       Leading musical figure in 1655.        
    Landscapes and still lifes are geometrical abstractions.
    Landscape Plexiglass, epoxy, and steel.         Louise Bourgeois        Louise
    London, Berlin, Norway and Switzerland.     Lousie Talma and 
    Ljubica Mari--: Lions, tigers, and wolves.
    Raped at 19. Worked on four or five paintings simultaneously    Women's
    suffrage killed in the First World War and her grandson.
     Wrote over 400 piano works. Lili MacDowell. 
    Lyrical style ariettas. Madrigals to texts by Guarini.   MacDowell Colony
    SutherlandMargaret Preston   Many sacred songs and secular.
    St. Petersburg and Paris: Marguerite Canal 
    Maria Margherita Grimani,   
    Maria Warsaw treatises, hagiography.
         Mary Cassatt,   Mary Martin     Mary Sorrel dejection. 
    Meditation.Medical and scientific Frink
    Court painter with Melodic fluency.     Melbourne. The Transposed Heads.  
    Melancholy teaching.     Meret OppenheimMemoirs: "On the day my daughter
    brevis.   Minute accuracy of music. 
                         Chair legs. 
    Cercle et Carr‚ and before and Child.   
    Morality play Ordo virtutum 82 melodies.        
    Monophonic childhood.     Paula Modersohn-Becker        Bits of
    balustrades.   Biographie Moderne.  Multiphonics.  Multi-media works.   
    Mother church
    modes.   A Guide to the Life Expectancy of a Rose.   A MoserMarion 
    Bauer.  Maria
     Agata Szymanowska 
    Maria Called Moses.     Mus‚e National liturgical clandestine Music-theater.
    Downpath.  Music in all media: Boulanger mystery and our imagination
    detail.   Methods for theory and art.
    New Zealand Miniatures.         Niki de Saint Phalle    Welsh Nursery Tunes
    and Sea Sketches. Nicola LeFanuOld-timey farmlife.Obsessed with visions of the
    end of the world.    Paean.    Numerical systems in Northern Berlin.  The
    Young Kabbarli.
    One Pearl.   Vienna.    Paris, Berlin, Boulanger.       Paris Orphism.  Paris
    Ballet Paris Salon.  PacifistOver-life-size heads. Bronze.Original women.   
    Orchestral Pellegrini. 
    Paris. Paris. Paris. Paris. Paris 
         Pauline Oliveros, .      
              Margaret von Paradis       Philosophy and religion.       
    Petroushskates.Personal works.
    universelle de la  Margaret Bauld  Plastique  Aleksandra Exter Alcestis.
    Ballet. Agathe Expressionism   Post-War Constructivists.  Polish and Asian 
    Queen Marie-Antoinette Revolution purpose,  a Central European tone,  an
    everyday scene.
         Published Rachel Ruysch       Burst and "environment" fun-fair. Rayonism
    Russia.   Raffaella Aleotti vandalism Rosalba Carriera
    Rosa Bonheur    Rome 1766 London.       Rita Angus      Rich
    friends. Rhythms. Reclusive life introspective subjects.    
    Reclining woman giant foundation member.          Royal Liverpool Hospital
    soothing bands and 1953 Russia, Russia.    
    Royal Academy arranged according to the d'Automne Sacrae cantiones.  Vibrant
    colorsthe no. 1.
         Ruth Crawford-Seeger, 1901 to Ursula Hospital, Belfast. Science, Saxony,
    Austria.San Painting Prize, Venice Biennale.Instrumental Franco-American
    20th-century music.
         Independence rare for a woman of Tate.
         Second Rio de Janeiro.    Dame Laura Knight     Dame
    Ethel Sens-Events.  Self-portraits, Self-portraits, Self-portraits: The
    sonatas.   Serial chamber and mixed-media.   S‚raphine de Senlis, Two suggestive
    Black Iris.  Shared a studio, models, and props.  Sexually and male nudes.   She
    Humm. World Rhythms. Human areasSix painter-sisters from Cremona. Sister
    Anguisciola  Smooth polished goggles. Small instrumental pieces. Songs, chamber
    music.  Sofonisba Sophie Elisabeth Sophie Taeuber-Arp Sonia Delaunay for Nancy
     Cunard and Gloria Swanson. 
    Strongly rhythmic, moral and social convictions.        String quartet chamber
    music.Stone, metal, latex.Stern,  dissonant,  contrapuntal style.   
    celestium revelationum in St. Petersburg.   Syllabic style in Switzerland and
    Italy.  Suzanne Valadon Delaunay textile for Nancy Cunard and Gloria
    Swanson.  Target.  Symphonia armonie the Keyboard for piano.  The World War.
    Seascapes.     Script "Screen for Musgrave Park winter.   National art. Marchand
     urban poor.   Armory Show, Soci‚t‚ Anonyme.  
    The Canticle Scots      The Lute Player the White House.        The Horse
    Fair.         lisabeth of the Sun church repertory .The Voice of 
    Ariadne, Mary
    Queen of Boatswain's Mate. The Child's Springday, Ahasverus.Textile for 
    Da Capo
     CHAMBER Players. 
    The Prison.     
    Thea Musgrave and serial. The Alcestiad. 
    to express my awareness and thought of operas, Two symphonies, a piano
    concerto, and CHAMBER music.  Two hemispheres.  Transcendental meditation.Tone
     poemTonal singer.
         Vibration and dazzle.           Violet Archer, Canadian
    composer.Vigorous eclectic style . . . counterpoint.
    Viennese court organist and     Vivian Fine in a Visionary world               
    visiting Switzerland. 
    Wall constructions and  Vocal techniques.       
    Violin her coloratura soprano   which mould the landscape." 
    The French, German, and English, viewing the March of the Women. 
    (end of version #10)

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