Kunsthalle for Music was a live exhibition composed by Ari Benjamin Meyers that ran from 25 January to 3 March 2018 at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art. From 5 March until 8 April, traces of the project remain on-site. These traces include audio recordings, musical instruments, experimental scores, and the ensemble’s costumes. Alongside this, a selection of source material underpinning the exhibition is presented: the Kunsthalle for Music Reader, featuring texts that expand on the project’s foundational aims, and, the Kunsthalle for Music Songbook, comprising the scores of the 34 pieces enacted by the ensemble during the period of the exhibition.

At Kunsthalle for Music, an ensemble performed on-site a four-hour musical score of artworks drawn from a “repertoire” or collection, which included existing and newly commissioned solos, duets, and group pieces. While the artworks included in the score are signaled with wall object-labels throughout the galleries, there is no fixed timetable as to when one or the other will be activated. Composed by Ari Benjamin Meyers, the exhibition score is open to variations, and so offers a unique interpretation and experience every day. We encourage you to visit the Kunsthalle for Music more than once.

Even when the ensemble is not present or performing at all times, the Kunsthalle for Music keeps its doors open to the public. If you visit during these times, you may then encounter other kinds of activation of the gallery spaces. For example, ensemble members may be found using the space to rehearse or may have left a recorded trace in their absence. You may also find school groups learning and performing an especially commissioned score by Andre Heuvelman.


The Kunsthalle for Music ensemble forms the heart of the Kunsthalle for Music, consisting of eight musician-performers. An open-call for musicians of all types, backgrounds and skill-levels resulted in the following ensemble: Bergur Thomas Anderson (guitar), Billy Bultheel (piano), Sandhya Daemgen (violin and voice), Sara Hamadeh (violin), Alexander Iezzi (drums and percussion), Nanna Ikonen (saxophone and electronics), Jackson Moore (saxophone), and Pau Marquès i Oleo (cello).


The ensemble performs newly commissioned works by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Jonathan Bepler, Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson, and The Residents. Over the course of the exhibition each of the commissioned artists work on-site, activating their scores directly with the ensemble in both rehearsals and performances open to the public. Each commission is incorporated as part of Kunsthalle for Music’s evolving repertoire. For secondary school groups, Andre Heuvelman develops a special education commission.


Kunsthalle for Music repertoire comprises a diverse range of existing and adapted pieces contributed by artists and composers including Bergur Thomas Anderson, Ei Arakawa & Christian Naujoks, Cory Arcangel, John Baldessari, Jonathan Bepler, Wojtek Blecharz, Billy Bultheel, Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson, Sandhya Daemgen, David Michael DiGregorio & Sung Hwan Kim, Marcel Duchamp, Julius Eastman, Tim Etchells, Peter Fengler, Philip Glass, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Andreas Greiner & Tyler Friedman, Sofia Gubaidulina, Charles E. Ives, Hassan Khan, Sora Kim, Lea Letzel, Ranjana Leyendecker, Christian Marclay, Jonathan Monk, Jackson Moore, Pauline Oliveros, Yoko Ono, Laure Prouvost, Steve Reich, The Residents, Terry Riley, Anri Sala with Franz Ferdinand, Erik Satie, Superflex, Andre Vida, Guido van der Werve. The exhibition also includes a number of Ari Benjamin Meyers’ performance-based music works.


Artistic Director: Ari Benjamin Meyers
Co-Founders: Ari Benjamin Meyers and Defne Ayas in partnership with Mimi Brown
Key Production team: Sandhya Daemgen, Rosa de Graaf, Patrick C. Haas, Christina Li, Anja Lindner, Samuel Saelemakers

Founding of the Kunsthalle for Music

The Kunsthalle for Music is commissioned by Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (Rotterdam) together with Spring Workshop (Hong Kong). An exposition, not an exhibition by Ari Benjamin Meyers unfolded the Kunsthalle’s foundational themes at Spring Workshop (11 March - 1 April 2017), taken up by Music is Not! A Symposium On and Around the Kunsthalle for Music at Witte de With (26-27 May 2017), with contributions by Peter Osborne (Professor of Modern European Philosophy), Armen Avanessian (Philosopher, Literary & Political Theorist), Victoria Ivanova (Writer and Curator), Jörn Schafaff (Art Historian), Marie-France Rafael (Art Historian), Francois Quintin (Director, Lafayette Anticipations), and Lisette Smits (Curator), amongst others, culminating with this inaugural take-over at Witte de With.

—Supported by

Goethe-Institut, Institut français, Mondriaan Fund