Tate Tracks at the Modern

by Art Fag City on March 23, 2007 Reviews

Screengrab AFC


DJ Trouble at WFMU’s Beware of the Blog observes that the Tate Modern invited 7 male musicians to write a score in response to a work that inspired them in the museum, and predictably they all chose male artists. “Not good” is the only statement I’ll make on that subject as I tire of discussing gender representation ad nausea. The problem with the project as whole as far as I’m concerned lies in the fact that the music currently online all sounds like an uninspired commission project. You can’t just ask a musician you like to make some music in response to art, you have to take the time to find out if they have any visual thinking ability. And it would appear the invited participants don’t, as the aural connections to the works these musicians have chosen are tenious at best.

My favorite failure of the lot has to be The Landscapers Vrs. Andy Warhol for which the Tate ironically features no reproduction of the Warhol Brillo Box due to copyright restrictions. Given that the artist spent a life time creating multiples of appropriated pop culture iconography you’d think this wouldn’t be too much of a problem, but clearly the garnering of image reproduction rights of works you own is more complex than I had thought. Whatever the case, if you can’t use the image for publication, I’m not sure why you’d commission the work since it limits the audience significantly.

As for the Landscapers, the band came up with a bunch of lyrics in response to the work that barely makes any sense and a beat matched to a mess of samples lacking flow and invention. Chanting the words, “At high speed we consume, and assume in due time we’ll move into the boom, Va Va Boom”, it takes all of two seconds to discern that the piece is a total train wreck. Try a few of the other tracks if dare. Assuming you’re into mediocre to bad music such surfing should work out well for you.

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