SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

Museum of Conceptual Art (MOCA), 3rd floor, 86 3rd Street

Exhibition: Sound Sculpture As (10th April 1970)



I invited nine sculptors to make sound works for my show, which took place on April 10, 1970. Each artist produced sounds by manipulating a material. Terry Fox hit a bowl of water against against the floor and made a sound like bong. Paul Kos trained eight boom microphones at two twenty-five pound blocks of ice. People listened, trying to hear the inauaible sound of the ice. Mel Henderson fired a thirty-calibre rifle in the room, which had about a hundred people in it. Jim Melchert, who was out of town, gave instructions to one of his students, Jim Pomeroy, to perform his work. Pomeroy went to Breen’s Bar and telephoned my space. He had been instructed to let the phone ring fifteen times, then hang up, then put another nickel in and do it again for fifteen rings. The room was filled with people listening to the telephone ring thirty times. That was a good piece.

My alter ego, Allan Fish was one of the nine artists in the show […] I announced I would be performing Allan Fish’s piece for him. I climbed to the top of a stepladder and, with my back to the audience, peed into a big galvanized tub. (Marioni 2003: 95-6)

Peter McCann laid plastic wrapping material on the floor which popped when arriving visitors walked over it. Me Henderson paced up and down the large loft with a 30-caliber rifle. He took aim and fired a single shot at a film of a tiger being projected on a paper covered saw horse. Just then the telephone rang fifteen times, twice in succession; Jim Melchert had dialed the museum from Breen’s, a famous bar across the street. Alan Fish’s piece was performed by Tom Marioni. Perched atop an eight foot ladder, he pissed into a galvanized washtub. As the tub filled the sound dropped in pitch. He was followed by Terry Fox, who scraped a shovel across the linoleum floor and vibrated a thin plexiglass sheet very fast. Jim McReady paraded four girls wearing shiny nylons down a 3’ by 9’ long rug. As they rubbed their thighs together a swishing sound was heard. Paul Kos, who is known for outdoor works using ice and salt rocks, collaborated wit Richard Beggs, an electronic musician, on a piece in which eleven boom-microphones tried to pick upo the sound of two 25lb blocks of melting ice. For the finale, Arlo Acton distributed several hundred metal crickets and the loft began to ring with chirping sounds. Then he released a polished metal ball hung from the ceiling which smashed into a heavy glass plate. (Anonymous 1970)

Curator(s): Tom Marioni

Participants: Allan Fish (Tom Marioni), Terry Fox, Paul Kos, Mel Henderson, Jim Melchert, Arlo Acton, Peter McCann, Jim Pomeroy, Richard Beggs, Jim McReady (Marioni 2003:100)

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