Copper in the Arts

December 2019

David Tudor Sound Sculpture Comes to MOMA

News_Moma_Tudor.jpgDavid Tudor's Rainforest V, on view at MOMA through Jan. 5, 2020. 
Photograph courtesy of Museum of Modern Art.

Rainforest V, a new mixed media exhibition on view at The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) through Jan. 5, 2020 is an impactful sound installation that elevates everyday objects through the addition of copper and sonic transducers. Created by artist David Tudor, the work incorporates metal barrels, vintage computer hard discs, and plastic tubing, along with copper connectors to add the artist’s signature gestalt to the overall piece. 

Tudor’s first Rainforest, from 1968, served as the musical score for choreographer Merce Cunningham’s dance of the same name. In 1973, working together with a group of young artists and musicians, Tudor expanded the work from a musical composition to a performance installation titled Rainforest IV. Composer Gordon Mumma described their collective artistic process as “a garden of shared ideas with minimal fences.”

The group would later be named Composers Inside Electronics (CIE), and to this day includes John Driscoll and Phil Edelstein, among others. Tudor continued to work with CIE on multiple iterations of Rainforest over the next several decades. This last evolution of the work, Rainforest V (variation 1), transforms an installation once activated by performers into a rich visual environment animated by a computer program.

To inaugurate the Studio, MoMA’s dedicated space for live art, CIE will create a new realization of Tudor’s rarely performed Forest Speech (1978/79) through a collaborative workshop of musicians and artists working across generations and approaches.


Museum of Modern Art, 11 W. 53rd St., New York, NY, (212) 708-9400

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