The Showroom

In conversation: Vijay Iyer, Andrea Giunta, Brinda Kumar & Kevin LeGendre

Jazz Musician Vijay Iyer and Art Historians Andrea Giunta & Brinda Kumar in-conversation with IN·FLO·RES·CENCE host Kevin Le Gendre about the inspiration of art, modernism, and minimalism in jazz expression.


This discussion includes an introduction to IN·FLO·RES·CENCE’s focus on the cross-modality of art and sound and the three speakers: American jazz pianist Vijay Iyer and Curators Brinda Kumar hailing from New York City and Andrea Giunta who’s based in Buenos Aires. Journalist Kevin Le Gendre (Broadcaster and Writer of Don't Stop the Carnival: Black British Music, 2019) proceeds to moderate a conversation around Vijay’s ground-breaking album with trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, A cosmic rhythm with each stroke, that was deeply inspired by artist Nasreen Mohamedi's artist practice and journals, which Vijay studied during his artist-in-residence at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2016.

Image: Nasreen Mohamedi , New Delhi, c. 1980. © Photo: Richard Bartholemew


While Vijay Iyer was an Artist in Residence at The Met Breuer in 2016 he was greatly inspired by the coinciding inaugural exhibition Nasreen Mohamedi and presented two events during its run: a Durational Performance and a MetLiveArts Commission.

Nasreen Mohamedi was an Indian artist well-known for her modernist work full of minimal linear gestures creating infinity imaginary landscapes. She had a travelling retrospective in 2016 at The Met Breuer in NYC, Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid, Kiran Nadar Museum in New Dehli. The two participating art historians have both engaged deeply with Mohamedi’s practice: Brinda Kumar, an Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Met worked on this retrospective, and Andrea Giunta, an Art History Professor at the University of Buenos Aires wrote an essay Simultaneous Abstractions for the catalogue of this exhibition.

This hour long conversation is led by Kevin Le Gendre who was engaged in this unique constellation of guests as he was actually in conversation with Vijay Iyer and his collaborator Wadada Leo Smith when they presented the A cosmic rhythm with each stroke in London at Wigmore Hall in 2017.

'A cosmic rhythm with each stroke features pianist Vijay Iyer and the musician he has described as his “hero, friend and teacher”, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith. Vijay has previously played extensively with Wadada in Smith’s Golden Quartet, but the present album is the first documentation of their duo work, produced by Manfred Eicher at New York’s Avatar Studios in October 2015. The centre-piece of the album is the spellbinding title suite, dedicated to Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990), the innovative Indian artist whose improvisatory imagery evokes abstracted rhythms. Trumpet and piano interact here with a creative sensitivity to tone, texture, and space.

Vijay and Wadada premiered A cosmic rhythm with each stroke at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in March 2016 in the context of a major exhibition dedicated to Mohamedi’s art and writings. The “suite for Nasreen” is framed on the album by Iyer’s composition “Passage” and Smith’s concluding piece “Marian Anderson”, inspired by the great US contralto.' – ECM Records

A cosmic rhythm with each stroke

Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet
Vijay Iyer: piano, Fender Rhodes piano, electronics

Released in March 2016 – Available on CD / Download

Listen via YouTube Music

Find below two videos including a preview of the exhibition Nasreen Mohamedi (The Met Breuer, New York, 2016) and conversation The Maximum out of the Minimum: Reconsidering Nasreen Mohamedi from August 3rd, 2016 including Speakers:

Sonal Khullar, Associate Professor, School of Art, Art History, and Design, University of Washington
Brinda Kumar, Assistant Curator, Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, The Met
Sheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chairman, Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, The Met
Seher Shah, artist

For more information about Nasreen Mohamedi (The Met Breuer, New York, 2016) enjoy the exhibition website here

This exhibition was organised by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in collaboration with the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi.

Purchase the exhibition catalogue Waiting Is a Part of Intense Living featuring texts by Roobina Karode, Geeta Kapur, Deepak Ananth, and Andrea Giunta – here

  1. Kernodle2018headshot
    Event In conversation: Dr. Tammy Kernodle with Elaine Mitchener, Siya Makuzeni & Thandi Ntuli

  2. 7_ythlaf_single-channel_video_17mins_58secs_loop
    Event In conversation: Phoebe Boswell, Laura Lima, Nduduzo Makhathini & Elvira Dyangani Ose

  3. Sweet_tooth_copy
    Event In conversation: Elaine Mitchener, Kodwo Eshun, Temi Odumosu & Elvira Dyangani Ose

  4. Cromwell-jazz12
    Event Introducing Composer Leyanis Valdés Reyes

  5. Gps_2020-july-22_tiwani-35_copy
    Event In conversation: Andrew Pierre Hart, Charmaine Watkiss, Nduduzo Makhathini & Katherine Finerty

  6. Copy_of_lcp_foto_press_kit_3_(1)
    Event Introducing Luis Carlos Pérez

  7. Dsc_9128
    Event Introducing Nduduzo Makhathini

  8. J.d._allen._photo_courtesy_of_the_artist_(2)
    Event Introducing J.D. Allen

  9. Elio_villafranca__2018._photo__jerry_lacay._courtesy_of_the_artist_and_the_showroom__london_2
    Event Introducing Artist-in-Residence Elio Villafranca

  10. Thandi_ntuli_portraits10_
    Event Introducing Composer Thandi Ntuli

  11. Corey_mwamba._courtesy_of_the_artist
    Event Introducing Composer Corey Mwamba

  12. Sarathy_korwar_by_rishabah_sood_4_(1)
    Event Introducing Composer Sarathy Korwar