Beethoven, Bach and Verdi may not be names synonymous with avant-garde, progressive or alternative art forms. But a new string quartet has formed a series of artistic collaborations that will intensify the classical-music experience.

The Australian Art Quartet has set up a three-year performance residency at the historic Yellow House Gallery in Potts Point. The group’s six-part 2016 performance series will include renditions of classical greats, alongside nude life drawing, absurdist dance, poetry, a photography exhibition and more.

“The idea came about when lead violinist Dan Russell and I were talking big one day,” says the quartet’s artistic director, James Beck. “Dan has a huge drive for performing live, edgy concerts, and I’ve always had a passion for layered storytelling and history.” The series takes inspiration from Yellow House – a canary-yellow terrace that was once an underground artist residency and home to Brett Whiteley, Ellis D Fogg and George Gittoes. Adjacent to the Yellow bistro, the rear gallery space has been acoustically tweaked to create a 100-seat performance venue. Expect interval drinks and post-concert supper from Yellow.

A new nature series by photographer Gary Heery set to Bach’s deathbed masterpieces is on the program. Music from Tom Ford’s A Single Man will play alongside an electric-shock performance by artist Michaela Davies. Working across disciplines, Davies uses electric-muscle stimulation to prompt specific involuntary movement in limbs – interesting when those limbs are playing string instruments. There will also be an experimental art salon with life drawing and live painting by Archibald Prize-winning artist, Wendy Sharpe.

2016 season begins February 11 with Art of Nature, featuring projections by Garry Heery.

The Yellow House
52-57 Macleay Street, Potts Point

australianartquartet.com