Sound Commitments: Avant-Garde Music and the Sixties

By Robert Adlington | Go to book overview
Save to active project

2
“Demolish Serious
Culture!”
Henry Flynt and Workers World Party

Benjamin Piekut

On the evening of April 29, 1964, a group calling themselves “Action Against Cultural Imperialism” mounted a picket line in front of Town Hall on West 43rd Street in New York (see figure 2.1). Inside the hall was a “gala concert” sponsored by the West German government, with music by Karlheinz Stockhausen, Hans Werner Henze, Paul Hindemith, and others. The performers included Stockhausen himself, pianist David Tudor, and percussionist Max Neuhaus.1 On the sidewalk in front of the hall were the demonstrators: philosopher and composer Henry Flynt; the artists Ben Vautier, Ay-O, and Takako Saito; Fluxus impresario George Maciunas; and the violinist and filmmaker Tony Conrad. (Amiri Baraka observed from across the street.2) They bore signs reading “Fight Racist Laws of Music!” and “Fight the Rich Man’s Snob Art,” and, according to Die Welt, made quite a racket by chanting “Death to all fascist musical ideas!”3 The group’s leaflet attacked the composer as a “lackey for the West German bosses,” and claimed that his “repeated decrees about the lowness of plebian music and the racial inferiority of non-European music, are an integral, essential part of his art and its ‘appreciation.’”4

On September 8, the group staged another demonstration outside Judson Hall on West 57th Street.5 In Vautier’s place was the poet and activist Marc Schleifer, later known as Abdallah Schleifer. The occasion was a performance of Stockhausen’s Originale, a wild theater piece directed by Allan Kaprow, which featured such avant-garde and Fluxus luminaries as Allen Ginsberg, Charlotte Moorman, Dick Higgins,

-37-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Sound Commitments: Avant-Garde Music and the Sixties
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 292

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?