Sound Sculpture at the Pasadena Museum of California Art

Recently my family and I were exploring some of the museums in the LA area and we had the good fortune of visiting the Pasadena Museum of California Art. We happened to visit during the exhibit entitled “Time, Space & Matter: Five Installations Exploring Natural Phenomena”. Right away I noticed elements that are found in music and even before reading about what the artists had in mind, I was struck by the way they had put in front of me the things that composers use to make music, for example, time, sounds, nature, etc. I had never seen an exhibit like this before, even though it’s often easy to draw parallel between visual arts and music. This exhibit is unique because it brings to the viewers’ attention basic forces that are alive in the universe and which are so mysterious and powerful, yet are with us every day.

Several of the art pieces in the museum struck me with an intense energy, but the one by Mineko Grimmer had a different effect. Her work was beautifully meditative. Suspended from the ceiling hung a chunk of pebbles in ice. As the ice melted, the pebbles fell onto the bamboo and metal below to make different sounds. This sound sculpture creates an ongoing musical composition. There are certain elements that the artist has chosen to include, but you never know when and how they will be expressed. It is such a beautiful and immediate experience. On me it had a very calming effect.

Here is a video I found of a similar piece. The one in Pasadena was a single structure, but the sounds were very similar to the ones you will hear on the left. To truly be able to appreciate the beauty of this art, you would want to see it in person.

“The Dialogue” by Mineko Grimmer

Mineko Grimmer is an artist who was born in Japan and studied at the Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design, Los Angeles, CA. To find out more about her, you can visit

This exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of California Art runs from May 4 to August 31, 2014, so you still have time to go check it out it you want to.



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