By Erin Riley | July 17, 2015 | Culture
Ed Potokar has built a career from his love of sound—he has composed for MTV, fashioned his own line of high-tech microphones called Potofones, and toured the world performing his unique, self-fashioned instruments—to name but a few of his accomplishments.
In 2013 the artist decided to merge his passions for sound design and architecture to launch Soundwall, a commission-based company created in partnership with furniture designer John Houshmand, which incorporates sound into everyday designs and public spaces. So when Houshmand was invited last year to participate in LongHouse Reserve’s annual Summer Benefit, the designer enlisted Potokar to create an interactive musical element. The result? Drum Wall, a wooden room divider embedded with drums of varying sizes; its one of the Reserve’s most popular pieces to date.
On July 18 Potokar and Houshmand return to LongHouse Reserve’s Summer Benefit with a similarly playful installation that will become part of the Reserve’s permanent collection. Named after the popular Saturday Night Live skit starring Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell, More Cowbell is a 15-foot sculpture that wraps around an existing tree and suspends 16 cowbells that can be shimmied, shaken, or simply blow in the wind. “I’m humbled,” Potokar says about being in such esteemed artistic company. “[More Cowbell] sits beside Sol LeWitt’s concrete ziggurat [Irregular Progression High No. 7] and Alexander Calder’s Six Planes Escarpé.”
After leaving commercial pursuits to build his house on a 10-acre property in the Catskills, Potokar was drawn to the beauty of the black walnut and cherry wood he accrued from clearing the land and began creating unique instruments out of it. The instruments, which were exhibited last year at the “Art or Sound” exposition in Venice, Italy, will be used in a performance at this year’s benefit. “We’ll be doing some type of marauding noisemaking,” explains the artist, who, along with Houshmand, will roam across the Reserve’s 16 acres, playing his handmade instruments and stopping occasionally at More Cowbell. “I’m sure everyone could use a little more cowbell,” he jests. LongHouse Reserve’s Summer Benefit, July 18, 133 Hands Creek Road, East Hampton, 604-5330
photography courtesy of longhouse reserve