Australian government funds piano massacre 5


Piano about to be chainsawedA piano cut up in the name of art was funded by “Arts Queensland” to the tune of AUS$3000.

Rebecca Cunningham gave her talented performance – ripping through it with a chainsaw. But hey, it’s art – well she and some government officials that have probably never heard Rachmaninov (or even Chopsticks played by a fervent 4-year-old) thought so anyway.

“It seems a bit silly and very sad,” said piano teacher Deanne Scott. “I teach plenty of children whose parents can’t afford a piano and they would have loved the chance to have this one.”

Well, it makes these chisel antics seem positively pedestrian. At least the piano stays intact.

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What do you reckon? With pianos being so expensive (mind you for AU$3000 it can’t have been a top-of-the-line one, thank goodness) is this a fair use of resources? Or should pianos be fair game for ‘art’ as everything else is?

(Via Courier Mail)


5 thoughts on “Australian government funds piano massacre

  • Rebecca Cunningham

    I would like to report an instance of misrepresentation.I am Rebecca Cunningham.
    Yes I was paid $3,000 AUD effectively by the Australian government to curate FLUX-US. NONE OF THIS MONEY WAS SPENT ON THAT PIANO. It was old, broken, water damaged, and donated by my local church. I think what was missed in this whole debacle, now almost 2 years ago, was that FLUX-US was a coming together of 30 artists presenting 50 fluxus works, all for $3,000 AUD So divide 30 artists by $3,000. In my opinion, this was far from a gross wasting of government funds – It was a bargain.

  • Elizabeth

    Yes true but not emotive enough for local media. The piano which was ‘sacrificed’ for this performance was beyond use as a musical instrument. Rebecca is a musician – she would never demolish an instrument suitable for use by any child (or adult) for genuine musical development

  • jodie wallace

    As a student of contemporary fine art I love the conceptual relevance of the piano being destroyed, I have just created a piece where I have destroyed a table and chairs with an axe should I then be harshly judged for taking an object that had been discarded out of the hands of a needy family? As a Fine Artist I don’t dare to judge the relevance of a musicians motives as I have no understanding, so unless there is an educated knowledge of conceptual art I fail to see why it is that I have come across so many articles on what a music teacher thinks of this piece and why it is so damn hard to find a substantiated backing of the work……………..FRUSTRATING!!

  • Andy Post author

    Hi Jodie,

    Thanks for your comments. Really, you’re right that I don’t really have the right to judge in the sense that I don’t profess any understanding of this form of art. Then again, I’m allowed to state my opinion, as are others, and I guess we piano players are a bit precious about these instruments (particularly as I could never afford a grand piano, I guess I hate to see it even more!)

    Ahh well, musicians are artists too. We’re a temperamental, emotional bunch as it goes. 🙂

  • DJ Squiggle

    I just came across this in google images looking for chainsaw piano. Was thinking of Art of Noise’s “Close to the Edit” but it was a pleasant surprise to find a fellow homegrown artist.. Needed an image for my remix of Miles Davis (Chic Corea/Larry Young on keys) called ClaveCleave 🙂 No mp3’s were harmed in my project.

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