Of all the visual delights and exotica on display at the Museum of Modern Art’s Bjork exhibition—androgynous robot sex, canoodling with snakes in the rain forest, and the famous Alexander McQueen “Pagan Poetry” dress with its drafty upper reaches—perhaps the most quietly shocking was the visual presence of actual music. Yes, printed music, pasted on the walls where visitors queue to enter the multimedia “Songlines” galleries, and also on the covers of the multiple catalog inserts.
Only if you’ve spent too much time watching the agonies of classical music institutions try to adapt to dwindling audiences will the presence of written or printed music be surprising. I can’t remember the last time I saw an excerpt of actual music—with ledger lines, key signatures, rests and notes—...
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