Renowned DJ Jace Clayton transformed the Annenberg Court at the Barnes Foundation into a living crossfade. Under his orchestration, musicians traipsed through the museum’s grand living room, mingling with the attendees. Violas and fiddles came in and out of earshot as the performers solemnly passed from one end of the venue to the next—all of us entwined in a formless huddle of intrigue.
Draped in white gowns adorned with odd looking glyphs, they migrated through our ranks as if part of some invisible baptismal procession only they could perceive. All the while a disembodied voice read the names of the eclectic works of art housed in The Barnes’ mysterious ROOM 21—a pleasantly disorienting and immersive marriage of sound that would’ve been at home in a Stanley Kubrick film. It was a night of chamber music, as varied as the works of art hung in hallowed halls of the Barnes—the concert (lack of a better term strongly applies here) seemed to amuse some, confuse others, and lull many into a narcotic faerie dream—their bodies sprawled across the cold masonry floor, taking in the music, which filled the Annenberg’s tall, majestically ceilinged room like a drug. The music and musicianship all were stellar, on par with the best live music I have experienced.
I feel lucky to have been in attendance for ROOM 21’s only performance—one as unique and undying in our minds as the Barnes itself. [Annenberg Court at The Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway] September 9, 2016; fringearts.com/room-21.