2018 Tito’s Prize Exhibition
War Tuba Recital


October 19 – November4 18, 2018

Member Preview
Friday, October 19, 2018
6 - 7pm

Exhibition Opening
Friday, October 19, 2018
7 - 10pm

Big Medium is pleased to present the second annual Tito's Prize exhibition featuring winner Steve Parker. The solo exhibition will open with a special reception on Friday, October 19 and run through the East Austin Studio Tour. The $15,000 prize comes courtesy of a donation from Tito’s Handmade Vodka, the Austin–based liquor company.

War Tuba Recital examines the history of conflict through sound. Combing military artifacts (acoustic locators, air raid sirens, leaflet propaganda of Dr. Seuss, coded radio transmissions, the WWII Ghost Army, and the weaponization of marching bands) with the sonic philosophies of John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, and Cornelius Cardew, items are transformed into tools for awareness, discovery, and renewal. 

The exhibition is conceived as an ongoing performance where visitors realize a series of compositions using sonic headdresses, invented instruments, and graphic notation.

Steve Parker is a musician, artist, and curator who creates communal, democratic work to examine history, systems, and behavior. His projects include elaborate civic rituals for humans, animals, and machines; playable sound sculptures that work like a tactile musical scores; and cathartic transportation symphonies for operators of cars, pedicabs, and bicycles. Parker is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, a Harrington Fellowship, the Best of Austin Award, the Austin Critics' Table Award, and the 2018 Tito’s Prize.


Parker was unanimously selected by a three person curatorial panel, including Andrea Mellard, Director of Public Programs & Community Engagement at The Contemporary AustinDennis NanceGalveston Arts Center Curator and artist; and Veronica Roberts, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Blanton Museum of Art.

“Steve Parker exemplifies the way contemporary artists push beyond the boundaries of genres and media towards the pursuit of creativity. His strong artistic practice in new music performance, in sites ranging from parks to parking lots, has expanded into public sound sculptures and more recently installations. His generous approach brings together groups of trained performers and even invites curious members of the public to participate in his scores. Steve Parker proposed a multi–faceted exhibition proposal grounded in acoustic research that will be sure to engage the diverse audiences of the East Austin Studio Tour. I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to feature his work in the Big Medium Gallery as the winner of the Tito's Prize.”

 — Andrea Mellard

“Jurying the Tito's Prize was a great opportunity to see work being made by Austin–based artists. The process provided a truly unique opportunity to gain insight on the community of artists that make up an important part of the cultural fabric of Austin. It's also wonderful to see Tito's and Big Medium stepping up to provide such a great opportunity and support for artists working locally. Steve Parker's work was introduced to me through this process and demonstrated an outstanding commitment to collaborative works that intersect artists and audiences through sound and installation. I feel his proposed installation for Big Medium will provide a unique experience for visitors to engage with his work.” 

— Dennis Nance

“Steve Parker is a consummate collaborator. While he is best–known for communal performances he has staged in parks and public spaces in Austin in collaboration with musicians, sound engineers, choreographers, and dancers, he has recently been focusing more on sculptural sound installations. Dennis, Andrea, and I found the research he’s exploring for his next body of work very compelling—and can't wait to see how he presents the history of conflict through sound. So many contemporary artists are increasingly working with sound as a sculptural element and Parker's exhibition promises to incorporate sound into the visual arts in ways that will bring the Big Medium Gallery to life.” 

— Veronica Roberts

“Tito’s Handmade Vodka takes great pride in our creative community and those organizations such as Big Medium that help support and cultivate that creativity. It is our social responsibility to give back and directly support our artists by providing job opportunities while inviting the rest of our community to join us in doing so.” 

— Zack Flores, Director of Philanthropic Programming at Tito's Handmade Vodka