Clocktower Installation, 1979
Max did several installations at the Clocktower. This drawing from his 1979 solo exhibition documents the plan of a room showing standing wave patterns of the work’s four pitches, with yellow dots representing the highest, and blue dots representing the lowest. Neuhaus was both fascinated and despairing of the unusual challenges presented by the exhibition of sound in the Clocktower. He spent over a year testing a variety of pieces, none of which satisfied him, until the final one represented by this drawing. On a more comic note, Max participated in the large Clocktower group show Artists Make Toys by installing a large claw bathtub in one of the space’s two bathrooms. The door to the bathroom was cut in half, with only the upper part remaining to shield the bather/listener from prying eyes. The bathroom became essentially dysfunctional, as listeners getting in and out of the tub splashed water on the floor, and insisted on having privacy to dress. The artistic objective of the installation was to do a miniature version of the artist’s famous Water Whistle, usually installed in large swimming pools with the water heated to match body temperature exactly. Rubber pipes of various lengths were attached to the water feeds of the pool and had whistles attached to them. These would produce a strange, unearthly, unimaginable sound, which one could only hear underwater. Words fail to describe the attraction of this difficult-to-install large piece, but one can try to imagine a gigantic squid, which was in reality an underwater organ, entertaining captain Nemo at the bottom of the sea. The Clocktower tub ended abruptly, when it seriously overflowed and flooded the Health and Hospitals Corporation executive office directly underneath.
- Alanna Heiss, Clocktower Gallery Founder and Director