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Piano destruction in art

Klavierzerstörungen in Kunst und Popkultur (Piano Destruction in Art and Pop Culture)


Reimar, Berlin




This study of the destruction of pianos in art and pop culture in the 20th and 21st centuries includes an in-depth analysis of the legendary performance of Philip Corner’s Piano Activities at the first of many Fluxus festivals, the International Festival of the Newest Music in Wiesbaden in 1962. Schmidt’s essay provides a detailed history of the early Fluxus event, performed by George Maciunas, Emmett Williams, Wolf Vostell, Nam June Paik, Dick Higgins, Benjamin Patterson, and Alison Knowles, that, to the surprise of the composer, led to the destruction of a grand piano. Published after an important discovery in 2011 of two tape recordings of the performance in Wiesbaden, Schmidt’s essay critically examines this new material while tracing the connections between Fluxus, destructive anti-art activity, and music. In addition to the book, digital versions of the recordings and an English translation of Schmidt’s essay are available online.

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