The Art School Without Walls, Vol. 8 with Saya Woolfalk at the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling. Watch as the crew help Saya with the 3,000 sq. ft “The Pollen Catchers Color Mixing Machine,” installed in the museum’s main gallery for the inaugural exhibition and grand opening, Sat. Oct. 3, 2015.
I’ll always remember how proud I felt bounding up the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art during the summer of ’82, where, as a recent Yale art-history graduate, I’d landed a coveted summer internship. In addition to helping in the education department, I sat at the front desk and also gave tours of the collection, discoursing on everything from Dogon sculpture to Jackson Pollock. Though I return to the Met often, to cover interestingshows and trends, or simply to enjoy the art, it was a special moment for me when I entered through a modest doorway on the lower level last Thursday and made my way to the group visits department, where my lecturer’s badge was waiting.
Soon enough our ARTnews interns and Galeristas Adolescentes, helmed by Mista Oh!, made their way there too, and we talked for a bit about what an encyclopedic museum is and how to use the Met (and its website) for inspiration, information, and more. And then we were off for our day of looking and sketching, winding our way through the Egyptian Wing, into the Engelhard Court, along a multicultural array of arms and armor, and past Europe’s decorative arts before emerging in Central Park for frisbee and lunch, which was delivered to the museum’s steps (great idea Mista Oh!–and thanks Retna!).
We spent the afternoon wandering through the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, where we made some more great drawings. Along the way we talked about things like primitivism, Orientalism, the language of color (and, in the case of our early-bird interns, institutional critique, courtesy Andrea Fraser, upstairs). Everyone had a great time and learned a lot–and I learned that I need to be more modest in my ambitions as a tour guide. Next time we’ll tackle the second floor.
Click here or below to see a clip of the day’s activities!
Kraftwerk’s futuristic meditations on the sounds of our industrial society are laid claim to by both of their musical descendants–the super-abstract avant-industrial school, and the super-underground disco party-goers who shook what their mama gave them throughout the ’80s to the group’s infectious rhythms. The influence of their conceptual sonic experiments is immeasurable, and includes: Devo, the Cars, the Human League, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Afrika Bambaataa, 2 Live Crew, all Detroit techno, the Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, and Radiohead.
…a dramatic fresco, powerful and harrowing – worthy of an abstract painting, electronic dadaism, surrealist poetry — Piero Scaruffi
Autobahn – Opening Night
Autobahn is more minimalist than subsequent works, and many argue after this release, the band abandoned all intellectual pretense, giving in to the fame and glamor of the discopop world. As a fan myself, I remember dancing to “Numbers” (Computer World) at the Paradise Garage with Larry Levan behind the turntables, and having also given up all intellectual pretense, I always liked each album even more than the previous one, so I might not be the most objective critic.
I do know that it was really special to go back to the beginning and see Autobahn performed in MoMA’s main atrium, a context that brought together the group’s various and complex layers of music, sound, videos, sets and performance. That is, notwithstanding getting yelled at by an annoyed Michael Stipe, standing behind me and Nibs, beckoning me to “be in the moment”, and stop taking pictures. Sorry Michael, I couldn’t help myself.
This album, recorded in German, was Kraftwerk’s first international success (subsequent releases were recorded in English and German). It was voted one of Spin Magazine’s 15 Most Influential Albums, Autobahn features hypnotic crescendos wrapped in romantic melodies intertwined with medieval dance rhythms and sounds. It is considered a pioneering work for use of the drum machine, vocoders and computer speech technology, but the real success of this album is due to those distant lingering melodies.
Opening Night Setlist
“We Are the Robots”
“Trans Europe Express”
“The Man Machine”
Tour De France + Intro
Tour de France Etape 2
“Planet of Visions”