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Skirball Cultural Center

The Sounds of Common Ground

An Afternoon of Rhythm & Art

Public Programs | Special Event

Black and white headshot of the artist Austin Antoine next to a color headshot of the artist Adam Silverman. To the right is a close-up photograph of a vessel from Common Ground.

Courtesy of the artists

An interactive, multimedia exploration featuring sonic improvisation around the Common Ground exhibition, featuring Austin Antoine of Get Lit, Common Ground artist Adam Silverman, and performative artist Shalandrea Renee Houchen, with Def Sound as MC.

This is a past program

This program took place on
Sunday, May 19, 2024

About the Program

Join us for an interactive, multimedia exploration featuring sonic improvisation around Common Ground, an ongoing exhibition at the Skirball. Featuring Austin Antoine of Get Lit, the afternoon will feature collaborative music making using pots from the Common Ground collection, as well as poetry, performance and storytelling. Audiences will also hear from Common Ground artist Adam Silverman, who will share his insights and process into the creation of this community driven work, as well as performative artist Shalandrea Renee Houchen.

Contemporary hip-hop artist, poet, and award-winning academic Def Sound serves as MC.

Common Ground at the Skirball is more than an exhibition—it’s a celebration of American pluralism and testament to the power of shared experiences. Crafted from materials from every inhabited U.S. state and territory, each piece of art symbolizes our nation’s unity and inspires communal gatherings that transcend boundaries. Don’t miss this unique convergence of art, music, and community.

About the Artists

Known for his sculptural vessels, richly expressionistic glazes, and engagement with locally foraged materials, Adam Silverman is among the most thoughtful and dynamic practitioners dedicated to ceramics today. Silverman’s training in architecture is often evident in his ambitious installations and the structural clarity and precarity of his objects. He develops and utilizes personal, exploratory techniques to glaze and fire his works. 

Silverman was born in 1963 in New York, NY, and received a Bachelor of Fine Art and a Bachelor of Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1987 and 1988. He lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. 

Silverman’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum, Kasama, Japan; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, OR; Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX; Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV; Palm Springs Art Museum, CA; Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, RI; Shiga Museum of Art, Otsu City, Japan; Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA; and the Yale Art Gallery, New Haven, CT. 

Throughout the 2024 calendar year, Adam Silverman will be the Skirball’s Artist in Residence, participating in programming with the Skirball team and the broader Los Angeles community.

Austin Antoine is a performance artist that blends music and poetry. All of his passions effortlessly mix with abilities that span from singing soulful solos to conquering an opposing rapper in a contest of improvised wit.

After graduating California Institute of the Arts in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program for theater, Austin has sustained artistic success through touring performances, musical collaborations, and hosting creative workshops. His work can be seen with NBA 2k, Viacom CBS, Sofar Sounds, Guinness Book of World Records, and in the 2021 film Summertime, directed by Carlos López Estrada.

Austin is currently the Head of the Music Department at the Los Angeles-based non-profit, Get Lit. Get Lit ignites student engagement, literacy, and young voices around the globe using the power of Spoken Word, technology, and community.

His latest EP, The Rest is History, is available on all streaming platforms.

Def Sound (pronouns they/them/he/hims) is an Afro-Caribbean artist born and based in South Central LA. Def is a post-binary, GRAMMY Award-considered contemporary hip-hop artist, poet, and award-winning academic. Def is GRAMMY nominated for their work as a producer on Aja Monet’s debut album when the poems do what they do. Def’s music has also been featured in ABC’s Grown-ish.

Def’s work as a poet has been included in Saul Williams' anthology Chorus, while their music has been featured in LA WEEKLY, LA Record, LA Times, The Frieze Art Fair, the Emmy-nominated television series Music Diaries, and the Emmy-winning Artbound on KCET. Def is currently teaching Hip Hop/Black Critical Theory at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).

Def’s song "I Been" made KCRW’s list for Best Songs of 2022. Def synthesizes Hip Hop, poetry, Black critical theory, and storytelling into healing mechanisms decorating time and space.

Shalandrea Renee Houchen is a Los Angeles-born, NYC-raised performative artist who uses everyday objects like braiding hair, palm leaves, and black hair accessories to create visual and audio works. Through poetry, dance, acting, painting, and building installations she invites her authentic self to flow and create work meant to revive viewers' energy, bring humor in spaces and show where we are in our society. She uses her feet, hands, and objects to create beats and vibrations on her work that jump out of the canvas or the ceiling to create interactive experiences. 

After creating and producing the New York Times-mentioned "What's Ya Zodiac?", a twelve-room zodiac art playground, Shalandrea now uses elements of astrology in her work, highlighting our differences and similarities in the world through elements like water and fire.

As a stage and film performer she has appeared in Martin Scorsese’s Vinyl and is theatrically trained (from age five) under Wendy Raquel Robinson and Denise Dowse. She is has also won an NAACP award for playing “Yes, Mistress It's a Pity” from the South African play Sarafina!. As a teaching artist and founder of What’s Ya Vibe? she has worked with youth and adults in Los Angeles and New York City and Salt Lake City. Shalandrea views art as an essential tool for all to connect with themselves, their ancestors, and the community around them.  

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