Bloviator, where's your usual optimism? I thought you'd say this event was yet more proof of a healthy Buffalo economy and our growing surplus of disposable wealth.
EricOak, is this really shocking? I won't comment on the artistic value of this particular event (even though I watched the YouTube video that took place at Hallwalls), but this is not dissimilar to the happenings and performance art of the 1960s. I understand outrage, but have Buffalonians become provincial?
Queenseyes' short article doesn't put the event in context, either. Again, I can't comment on the artistic merit of this event, but judging any artistic endeavor without understanding the appropriate framework is surely unfair.
I'm not shocked at all by this, but therein lies the problem. That this happened on the steps of the Albright-Knox seems so predicatable, and that affirms my fear that the museum has a blurry sense of standards, or hardly any vision at all. It's become a venue for art-as-diversion as it grasps (like all museums these days) to stay mainstream and "relevant."
This stunt does not remind me at all of 60s era public performance art, which was more humanistic and more politically incisive. As far as "provincial," I don't think that term has much relevance anymore--you can see just about anything in any medium-sized to large city these days, from Chapel Hill to Boston to Austin to little Sante Fe. I've come to realize: the bigger the city, the more provincial it risks becoming: the belief that life outside your orbit doesn't matter or is not worth attention. That's provincial, and in Bufffalo we have little of that; we sadly wallow too much in the opposite; too many people here are worried about what "other" cities are doing. It's such a dull way of looking at one's city.
It didn't used to be that way here. Buffalo was for a long time a true outpost of the avant-garde, a place that people with intellectual passions admired and a place where independence of mind was normal. I don't know how much longer that will be true given the poverty of vision and dignity at places like the AK.
Even if the pianos were old and ready for the scrap pile, an old piano is too symbolic to be treated in an irreverent manner such as this.
This is so troublesome to me that I can't help believing that other musicians must also find this spectacle extremely disturbing.
What are they going to do to get attention when this trick gets old? Burn old books and paintings?
I feel let down by Gusto and the Albright-Knox on this one.
AtwaterLouse commented, "Bloviator, where's your usual optimism? I thought you'd say this event was yet more proof of a healthy Buffalo economy and our growing surplus of disposable wealth."
Always nice to hear from you.
There are plenty of legitimate examples that explain why we are healthy and wealthy in so many ways for living in Buffalo. Our shared community outrage over this asault upon our common sensibilites is one such example.
I knew the Albright-Knox had lost its course, but I didn't think it was this desperate for attention. People should write the museum, call, email, until they get new management. The place has become embarrassing.
I'm surprised, but relieved, that BRO didn't gloat about how "cool" and "awesome" this stunt was.
Yes, I want Buffalo to remain an outpost of the avant-garde, and yes I would like antiquities in our museum, and yes we fortunately still retain acres of charm in our streets. I want it all. That's part of the blend that gives Buffalo its flavor. It's not a predictable city that satisfies some checklist of urban planning or the commercial needs of an ipod generation--it can have that, sure, but its meaning lies much deeper than those shifting breezes.
I 'm sorry but I don't quite understand the second part of your post. I'm not advocating rising above the sayings and doings of the rest of the world. I just think we have a mature art sensibility in Buffalo that we've lost touch with. I know I pick on the Albright-Knox a lot, but the place saddens me; it feels second-rate now, as if it had some kind of attention deficit, which it never did before.
Events like this make me cringe when I think of the intellect and dignity that went into fostering cultural life in Buffalo over the past hundred plus years. Being "cool" is not good enough; it's inarticulate and immature, and that's why my heart sinks every time Queenseyes or anyone else uses that word to describe something, especially artwork or architecture. People need more substantive ideas and more human voices in their contemplation of art, but the Albright-Knox, with a few exceptions here and there, is failing to provide that to the community.
So what do you actually want EricOak? Do you want Buffalo to be an outpost for the avant-garde or do you want Antiquities in our museums and the quaintness of Savannah, GA in our streets. Why would we pretend that we are above every sensation? Where would that leave us? Are we on track to achieving something far greater by not participating?
EricOak, the Metropolitan Museum chose a new director today to replace Philippe de Montebello. The NY Times' Michael Kimmelman has an analysis of the decision (www.nytimes.com/2008/09/10/arts/design/10kimmelman.html) that has similarities on issues now facing art museums, including the generational shifts taking place.
EricOak, as we've discussed previously, don't you think a major part of the problem is simply the lack of space? Most art museums in the U.S. have seen expansions in the last ten years and they have benefited from the ability to balance exhibitions with their permanent collections.
I question your view that Buffalo has lost touch with its mature art sensibility. I'll go a step further and say that Buffalo has lost that sensibility almost entirely in favor of the provincial attitude I mentioned earlier. Perhaps, it reflects the lack of art education in schools. I don't know. However, to me that just means that a new generation has few impositions and will take art in a new direction. Maybe, in the short term, something will be lost; but, bold and dynamic artistic expression cannot be contained.
I'll be visiting the museum in the next few weeks, so I look forward to thinking about all of the discussions on BRO. I'm grateful to you, Davvid and the others who cared to comment on this issue.