The Getty Center

Ever Present is a new series that invites artistic experimenters to stage ephemeral performances amid the permanent collections, architecture, and gardens of the museum.

Walk through the garden created by artist Robert Irwin at the Getty and your feet will cross two stones in the path engraved with this message:
Ever present / Never twice the same / Ever changing / Never less than whole

This series takes Irwin's words as an invitation to explore concepts of temporality and permanence through the work of musicians, artists, dancers, and other cultural vanguards. Featuring innovative and irreverent experiences, Ever Present aims to question the link between what lives and what lasts.

Formerly known as Friday Flights, Ever Present continues to investigate interdisciplinary links in artistic networks, including new voices and those from the orbits of program alumni that include Brendan Fernandes, Geneva Jacuzzi, Dynasty Handbag, Sarah Davachi, Ian Svenonius, Rafa Esparza, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs, John Wiese, Devon Welsh, No)one. Art House, Corey Fogel, Psychic Ills, MPA, YACHT, Tyler Mathew Oyer, How to Dress Well, Jim Drain, Lucky Dragons, No Age, David Horvitz, Shana Moulton, Sun Araw, Liars, and NO SESSO & Kelsey Lu.

Always free and open-ended, Ever Present occurs throughout the year.

Dancers Amelia Heintzelman, Phoebe Berglund, and Julia Antinozzi perform Sky, Stone, Sea, Phoebe Berglund Dance Troupe, 2021. Courtesy the artist.

Meaningless Work, Get To Work

Fluxus Scores with Tashi Wada, Simone Forti, Phoebe Berglund Dance Troupe, and More

Date: Saturday, December 4, 2021
Time: 2:00–5:00 p.m. PT
Location: Getty Center
Admission: Free. No ticketing required, though time-entry reservations to the Getty Center must be made in advance. This event is outdoors.

"The thing to do is to keep the head alert but empty. Things come to pass, arising and disappearing. There can be no consideration of error. Things are always going wrong." —John Cage, An Anthology of Chance Operations
Contemporary experimental musicians, dancers, and artists gather for an afternoon-long exploration of Fluxus scores drawn from the landmark 1963 publication An Anthology of Chance Operations. Edited by minimalist composer La Monte Young and poet Jackson Mac Low, and designed by George Maciunas, this seminal book drew together radical ideas for new forms of art and performance from a coterie of artists who would come to define the Fluxus art movement.

In areas throughout the Getty Center, artists bring new interpretations to open-ended and poetic instructions by George Brecht, Simone Forti, Walter de Maria, Earle Brown, and others. From parked cars played like musical instruments, to rocks mysteriously and methodically moved along a beach, to a graphic music score radically reimagined, these unexpected happenings upend our daily experience of the world.

An Anthology of Chance Operations includes a text by the artist Walter De Maria that calls for an understanding of art as "meaningless work." In it he writes, "Meaningless work can contain all of the best qualities of old art forms such as painting, writing, etc. It can make you feel and think about yourself, the outside world, morality, reality, unconsciousness, nature, history, time, philosophy, nothing at all, politics, etc., without the limitations of the old art forms." This pursuit of activity untethered to demands of productivity, protocols, or profits—:and the expansive potential of that liberation—remains an integral ethos for these contemporary practitioners as it was for the artists of Fluxus.

In addition to the on-site performances, this event will premiere Sky, Stone, Sea, a new choreographic work by the Phoebe Berglund Dance Troupe inspired by Walter De Maria's 1960 score Beach Crawl, featured in An Anthology of Chance Operations. A site-specific work set on the banks of the East River at the Marsha P. Johnson State Park Beach in Brooklyn, New York, a video presentation of the performance will be screened at the Getty Center during the event and online.

Sky, Stone, Sea (2021)
Choreographer: Phoebe Berglund
Sound Composer: Joseph Allan Johnson
Dancers: Julia Antinozzi, Juli Brandano, Wendell Gray II, Leanna Grennan, Amelia Heintzelman, Jordan Demetrius Lloyd, Jade Manns, Leah Samuels, Ella Wasserman-Smith

Check back as more scores and participating artists are announced.

This program is co-presented with the Getty Research Institute and coincides with the exhibition Fluxus Means Change: Jean Brown's Avant-Garde Archive, which runs from September 14, 2021 through January 2, 2022 at the Getty Center.

Recently in the series

September 27, 2021
Moor Mother (Camae Ayewa) designs a unique evening of music, language, and imagery set among the Getty's outdoor architectural spaces that pulls together various aspects of her multidimensional practice as musician, poet, visual artist, and educator, featuring contributions from her network of friends, collaborators and co-conspirators.

August 21 & 22, 2021
The Ever Present series returns with a unique listening experience in Robert Irwin's Central Garden featuring Refuge, an album of new ambient music by Devendra Banhart and Noah Georgeson. Streaming through a custom sound system set up throughout the Central Garden's circular pathways, music will be looping throughout the weekend to make room for meandering and contemplation. Relax on the lawns with a picnic, grab a bench, or wander among the blooming garden beds as the sonic vibrations clear the air for a new era.

August 28–September 1, 2020
Join us online for the premiere of Free Fall for the Camera, a new short film by artist Brendan Fernandes. In this film, an ensemble of dancers create kaleidoscopic moments that serve as remembrances of the lives lost in the tragic 2016 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, which targeted the Latinx and LGBTQ+ community. After the screening, Fernandes discuss the project with Joshua Chambers-Letson, a writer and performance theorist from Northwestern University.

April 4, 2020 (Canceled as part of Getty's response to coronavirus (COVID-19)
Electronic musician Holly Herndon and her ensemble presage a sonic future that connects human and machine to realize new definitions of beauty. Her dance-inflected experimental music investigates the nature of humanity in the digital age–including her 2019 album PROTO, made in part with artificial intelligence. Drawing from folk traditions of East Tennessee, Berlin's radical club culture, and her Stanford graduate studies on machine learning and music, Herndon's complex and riveting music promises a unique sunset performance on the Getty's outdoor stage.

September 7, 2019
Celebrate California plant culture with a special program inspired by 1970s Los Angeles and Plantasia, the iconic album made for plants and the people who love them. Worldwide curiosities guide Atlas Obscura and Brooklyn's Sacred Bones Records teams up with the Getty's Ever Present series to delve into the plant-centric cultural movement behind Mort Garson's cult-classic electronic 1976 album Mother Earth's Plantasia. Join us for a day filled with music, workshops, and presentations that explore the influence of plants on art and culture in Los Angeles.

July 28, 2019
For this Sunday event, New York and Berlin-based composer and artist Colin Self—known for combining voice, body, and digital technologies to explore gender, communication, and our relationships to the biological and the technological—performs on the Tram Arrival Plaza. L.A. native Mandy Kahn is a noted poet and librettist who also collaborates with composers on inventive new works, such as Yuval Sharon's celebrated opera Hopscotch. Kahn presents a selection of immersive pieces that interact with the architecture of the Getty courtyards and feature a cast of singers and performers. Composer Ben Babbitt, known for work with Weyes Blood, Angel Olsen, and How to Dress Well, creates a multi-channel sound installation for Robert Irwin's Central Garden, with live singers and a quadrophonic ambient soundtrack.

July 13, 2019
Inspired by the exhibition The Wondrous Cosmos in Medieval Manuscripts, Ever Present brings together a group of artists who integrate the intergalactic into their varied work. Like their medieval forbearers, they quest for new artistic, analytic, and spiritual ways of understanding our connection to the cosmos. Performances include music by vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and Vedic astrologer Deradoorian (known for her work with Dirty Projectors), choral scores translated from the constellations by experimental artist and composer Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs, an interdimensional ritual by A.S.T.R.A.L.O.R.A.C.L.E.S with live music accompaniment by ambient composer Ana Roxanne, a planetarium-style visual lecture on the multiverse by artists Jennifer Moon and laub, and site-wide energy work by multidimensional artist and Afrofuturist Jordi.

May 25, 2019
Join electronic composer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith in the lush environment of the Central Garden for a unique guided meditation experience set to the sounds of her album Tides: Music For Meditation And Yoga. Raised on Orcas Island off the coast of Washington state, Smith's compositions are surreal yet rooted in nature. A series of breakthrough experimental albums utilizing the Buchla 100 synthesizer—an instrument that allowed her to combine the organic elements of her upbringing with the technological prowess gained from her studies at Berklee College of Music—earned Smith international acclaim by the likes of Pitchfork, NPR, Rolling Stone and SPIN. After several world-wide tours that brought her from major European festivals to the Hollywood Bowl, Smith found inspiration composing music for a more understated context: her mother's yoga practice. Nine tracks of densely layered prismatic tones are interwoven with field recordings of natural sounds for a music that ebbs, flows, and connects the listener to frequencies both environmental and internal.

Designed to be interactive, this hour-long guided meditation to the album is not a performance, but an experience. Feel free to bring your own yoga mat or blanket for the grass surface. A limited number of yoga mats will be provided. Opening set by Cool Maritime and Emily Sprague.

How to Get Here
The Getty Center is located at 1200 Getty Center Drive in Los Angeles, California, approximately 12 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. See Hours, Directions, Parking for maps and driving directions.