Period & Style


Esperanza Spalding, a portrait. By Bo Gehring, 2014.

Esperanza's chosen music "Tarde" (1974) used with the kind permission of Wayne Shorter.

This work, commissioned for the museum from 2013 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition winner Bo Gehring, will be exhibited in the museum in May 2015.

"This commission of Esperanza Spalding by Bo Gehring is the fifth
digital video portrait to enter into the National Portrait Gallery's growing collection of time-based media art" said Kim Sajet, director of the museum.

To create a work,Gehring plays a piece of music of his sitter's choosing while he or she lies on a low table. A camera, suspended overhead on a track, begins at the feet and slowly moves up the body to reveal the subject's face. The motion of the computer-controlled camera is exactly synchronized to the person'sheight and the duration of his or her chosen music. The integral role of music in his portraits made Spalding, a bassist, vocalist and composer,an ideal candidate for the commissioned work.

Spalding chose Wayne Shorter's "Tarde" from the 1974 album Native Dancer to be part of her portrait.In the track, Shorter plays tenor saxophone, vocals are by Milton Nascimento, Herbie Hancock is on the electric piano, David Amaro is on guitar, David McDaniel plays bass, and Roberto Silva plays the drums. Spalding says this piece of music is important because, "Herbie, Wayne and
Milton are part of me."


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