Dec 08 2009

The Dark Side of Culture, The Dark Side of a Vinyl Record

Published by Jensen Rong under Looking at Music - MOMA

I thought the first thing I could do is comment on the name of the exhibit.

I found it thematically relevant that this exhibit was called “Looking at Music: Side B.”  Traditionally, “Side B” is the other side of a Vinyl record, which usually acts like a double feature to the main song.  This exhibit shows counter-cultural music of the 70s-80s which can be seen as a metaphorical “Side B” to all the popular songs of the era.

As soon as I stepped into the exhibit, I was hit by a aesthetic truck.  There was definitely so much going on that it all came as a shock.

I immediately understood why these songs were labeled “counter-cultural.”  The first exhibit I saw was a sepia-toned music video to a song that featured a steady repetition of basic chords followed by disturbing lyrics and a motley mix of unsettling images.  Though these songs were as sweet as a modern-day Taylor Swift melody, they took time to get used to.

A more interesting piece that I listened to was part of a music video.  It depicted cross-dressed black man singing about his romantic problems.  The entire video featured him acting out and causing a ruckus that unsettled the posh observers around him.

James Nare’s “The Game” was a piece that I had trouble connecting with the others.  It didn’t seem to be thematically relevant besides the presence of a rhythm created by people tapping rocks.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “The Dark Side of Culture, The Dark Side of a Vinyl Record”

  1.   Aon 11 Dec 2009 at 8:00 pm

    “The Game” was just really really confusing. I agree with you Jensen, I don’t know what the curators thought putting it in the exhibition.

  2.   Alina Pavlovaon 09 Dec 2009 at 4:53 pm

    ah, thank you for the insightful explanation about the name of the exhibit. i didnt know any of that stuff about vinyls so that was really helpful in understanding the exhibit as a whole.
    true, the exhibit featured a lot of “counter-revolution” so to say, but i dont think that it was presented in an interesting way. the exhibit was small and bland. i think that to appreciate it a person had to know A LOT about the bands or artists featured, which i think is a flaw. an exhibit should be accessible to everyone, not exclusive to people who, in this case, have listened to those particular artists all along and know almost every detail about their lives and know almost every line of every lyric.