Footsteps ping from floor to ceiling in Gallery 175 of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but they aren’t distracting King Britt. He is focused on the artwork in his line of sight, and the musical gear at his fingertips.
The Philadelphia electronic artist, producer and DJ is composing a new piece in the museum, stationed at a long table covered in an array of gadgetry – synthesizers, samplers, and a laptop plugged into a mixing console. Stereo speakers are set up on the floor, and a cascade of warm electronic notes and slight rhythms bubbles out of them. The texture is appropriate, given the artwork facing Britt on the other side of the table: Seine by American minimalist painter Ellsworth Kelly.
At first glance, the piece is a grid of pixels: black and white squares of oil paint strewn across the wood surface, concentrating with a thick vertical line in the center. Upon further reflection, it becomes clear that the scene is not entirely abstract, but topographical – this image is Kelly’s rendering of the Seine River in Paris.
“It looks digital, right?” King asks me. “But this is from 1951, man. Pre-digital.” Continue reading →