Jason Moran
Born in Houston, USA , in 1975.
He lives and works in Harlem, New York, USA .

Jason Moran is a performance artist, pianist, and composer, and currently serves as Artistic Director for Jazz at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. He has been lauded for innovating and revitalizing the musical genre of jazz, adding an interdisciplinary edge through his use of digital sampling, his appropriation of other musical genres such as rap and hip hop, and his collaborations with artists from outside of the field of music. His album Artist in Residence (2005), for instance, features conceptual artist Adrian Piper reading aloud selections from her doctoral dissertation A New Model of Rationality (1981); in the track Break Down, Piper’s words are transformed into a dynamic manifesto, accompanied by steady, upbeat percussion and Moran’s elegant improvisations on piano.
Moran has also collaborated with other established artists, including Kara Walker, Lorna Simpson, Glenn Ligon, and Joan Jonas, as well as with such musicians and vocalists as Me’Shell Ndegeocello and Alicia Hall Moran, the artist’s wife. In 2014, he worked with artist Theaster Gates on a commission for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in which the duo reflected on the Quaker phrase “speak truth to power,” by illustrating the city’s history through music, art, and storytelling.
Moran’s project for the Biennale di Venezia, STAGED, concerns the architecture of two famous music halls, the Savoy Ballroom and the Three Deuces Club in New York. Focusing on the historical contexts that are reflected in their spatial identities, he explores how each venue either brought performers and audiences closer, or enabled a more intimate, almost claustrophobic experience for musicians. Given that both clubs operated during America’s Jim Crow era (1865–1965), Moran acknowledges the symbolism of stifling black voices in such spaces, even as the popularity of jazz reached its peak. At the Biennale, architectural elements representing each venue are restaged alongside instruments and props that are occasionally “activated” by performers. In the interim, Moran presents a series of Work Songs inspired by those traditionally sung by prisoners or workers engaged in repetitive manual labor. The simultaneity of 1930s chain-gang songs in the South and swinging jazz clubs in the North sheds light on the complex and fragmented formation of black cultural identity in America.


  • Title: STAGED: Three Deuces
  • Creator: Jason Moran
  • Date Created: 2015
  • Rights: Courtesy the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York, Photo by Alessandra Chemollo; Courtesy: la Biennale di Venezia, with the support of Ford Foundation; the Woodner Foundation, New York; Steinway & Sons, New York; The Vinyl Factory; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, In collaboration with Harlem Stage, New York
  • Medium: mixed media installation, pre-recorded sound

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