Quad Suite: Richard Landry
Sep 06, 2019 — Dec 07, 2019
Richard Landry’s 1973 video Quad Suite explores the performative nature of both video and music. As a musician and composer, Landry pushes the
boundaries of music, exploring new ways to use the acoustics of physical spaces and electronic delays. In Quad Suite, he explores the material
qualities of video, revealing an entrancing relationship between sound and image through meditative repetition.
The title, Quad Suite, refers to Landry’s use of a quadraphonic delay. Landry uses four speakers, each playing the same output with a 400 millisecond
delay between each of them. The first speaker is delayed 400ms, the second plays with an 800ms delay, and so on. Therefore, as Landry plays new sounds,
the speakers are still playing his previous notes, allowing him to play in a quartet with himself. The effect is both haunting and reflective.
Richard Landry was born in Cecelia, Louisiana in 1938. His musical journey began at the age of six, singing Gregorian chants at St. Joseph Catholic Church, and truly took off when, at the age of 10, his older brother gave him a saxophone. In 1957, a three-week stay in New York with this same brother shaped Landry into the musician he is today. While in New York, Landry frequented the prominent jazz club, Birdland, and was exposed to some of the best jazz musicians the city had to offer. After graduating in 1963 from the University of Southwest Louisiana with a degree in Music Education, Landry briefly studied the flute under Arthur Lora in New York, and eventually made the move to the city in 1969.
Landry’s time in New York proved to be of great importance to his career and development as an artist. While working on sculpture, videography, and photography projects with friend and fellow artist Keith Sonnier, they looked for a film camera. One evening Robert Rauschenberg came to a party at Landry’s apartment and cameras were discussed. When asked by Landry if he could borrow his 16mm camera, Rauschenberg, a Texas native, responded, “I really don’t know who you are, and you’re borrowing my $12,000.00 camera, but since you’re from Lafayette you must be okay.” Landry proved himself a skilled photographer and documented the New York art world in the 1970’s, providing invaluable records of artists’ lives and work. In 1969, Landry was introduced to Philip Glass by Sonnier. The two began working together, and Landry played with the Philip Glass Ensemble from 1969 – 1981. A connection with Leo Castelli, the prominent contemporary art dealer launched Landry’s solo career, giving him access to a portable tape deck and camera to record and document his musical performances. It was during this time, Landry created the seminal works Divided Alto; One, Two, Three, Four; and Quad Suite. Castelli also gave Landry his first concert in 1972 at his 420 West Broadway gallery and his first photographic exhibition in 1975 at Castelli’s 4 E. 77th Street gallery.
While he is an important musician and photographer, this exhibition celebrates Landry’s invaluable contributions to video as an art form. With respect to acknowledging his varied and successful career, he was a member of the group Swamp Pop supergroup , Lil Band O’ Gold. Over the course of his career, Richard Landry has collaborated or performed with the Talking Heads , Clifton Chenier, Paul Simon, Laurie Anderson, Robert Plant, Bob Dylan, Terrence Simien, Steve Reich, Tom Tom Club, True Man Posse and Lost Bayou Ramblers. He has collaborated with artist Keith Sonnier, Richard Serra, Robert Rauschenberg, Gordon Matta-Clark. He has exhibited and performed at venues around the world including Castelli Gallery, New York; The Chinati Foundation, Texas; the Great Theatre of Epidaurus, Greece; Museo Nacional, Havana, Cuba; The Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Menil Collection, Texas; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico; and the Stedelijk Museum, Netherlands. Last year he composed performed music for Robert Wilson’s production of “Oedipus Rex.” Landry currently resides in Lafayette, Louisiana. He owns and manages an 80-acre pecan farm in Cecilia, Louisiana.