Space shapes sound. When installation artist Chris Larson set out to explore the music and ephemera of cult punk band Hüsker Dü, he was soon researching the 7th St. Entry—a musical incubator in the Twin Cities where the band recorded their 1981 album Land Speed Record in a single take.
Inspired by the space, the music, and a collection of objects salvaged from the partially burned home of the group's founder Grant Hart, Larson created Chris Larson: Land Speed Record, a new exhibition opening today at the Walker Art Center composed of two films, sound, a photograph, and a "meticulously reconstructed" replica of 7th St. Entry's drink rail.
When Hart's home caught fire in 2011, Larson offered his warehouse-like studio as a temporary storage space for the musician's charred belongings and created a pair of sweeping films surveying the 85-foot-long pile of objects from above.
"I started to think about what these objects became when removed from their domestic function and relocated to the limbo of my studio," Larson admits. "I began to look at the grotesque wreckage of several of Grant’s kits of percussive instruments, drums, cymbals, and sticks which once moved at ferocious speed, now reduced to stasis."
To further underscore this theme, Larson tapped musician Yousif Del Valle to recreate the percussion of Land Speed Record from within 7th St. Entry, highlighting the breakneck pace of the drums.
7th St. Entry is a cramped venue occupying what was once the cloak room and cafe of Minneapolis' former Northland-Greyhound bus depot. Its interior unchanged in more than 35 years, the space has become an underground icon—one that Larson recreated in the Walker's Gallery.
The artists is known for other architectural reconstructions including a full scale model of a Marcel Breuer-designed home. Built in 2013 on the shore of the Mississippi, Larson set the reconstruction on fire.
Chris Larson: Land Speed Record is on view at the Walker Art Center through January 8,2017.