Robert Arneson’s painting “Bye Bye Huey P.” is a portrait of 24-year old Tyrone “Double R” Robinson, who murdered Huey P. Newton (co-founder of the Black Panther Party) in 1989. Robinson, a member of the Black Guerrilla Family, is painted with a giant praying mantis superimposed over his face, its wings circling Robinson’s bloodshot eyes. When I saw this work at the Frankel Gallery, my guide told me Arneson included the mantis in the portrait because “they eat their own.”
Like Arneson’s painting, my piece By-By Huey memorializes the (self-)destructive. The piano leads, with aggressive and unhinged music that forces the other instruments to follow or be left behind, but its strings are muted for much of the piece, leaving its voice muzzled and growling.
This piece is a part of Sleeping Giant’s evening length collection of works for eighth blackbird, called Hand Eye.
About Ted Hearne
TED HEARNE (b.1982, Chicago) is a composer, singer, bandleader and recording artist noted for his “pan-stylistic freedom” (Pitchfork), “wildness of spirit” and “fresh and muscular” music (The New York Times),…