Band stunt off amid V&A damage fear
Published 20/03/2013 | 10:21
Museum bosses have pulled the plug on an art stunt featuring "grindcore" band Napalm Death because of fears that the din could cause the V&A to crumble.
The enduring metal-punk act had been due to play an experimental one-off show after teaming up with a ceramic artist who created a sound system which was designed to disintegrate during the gig.
But the museum has now cancelled the performance after a safety check raised concerns that the sheer volume could result in the gallery itself similarly deteriorating. There were also concerns that visitors could potentially be injured as a result of the gig by the band, who released debut album Scum in 1987.
The concert had been due to take place at the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington, London, on Friday in an event called Bustleholm.
Artist Keith Harrison, who became interested in the band after hearing them on the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 as a teenager, created three ceramic sound systems based on the tiles used on the tower blocks of the Bustleholm Mill estate in West Bromwich, where he grew up.
However, the museum said the show had now been cancelled "with regret".
It said: "This was due to take place in the Europe Galleries, which are currently being refurbished, and a further safety inspection has revealed concerns that the high level of decibels generated by the concert would damage the historic fabric of the building.
"The V&A is committed to an exciting programme of exhibitions and events but the safety of our visitors and building remains our priority at all times."
Harrison is resident ceramic artist at the gallery. Future events he has planned include the detonation of a clay replica of Keith Moon's drum kit.
Prior to the show, Napalm Death's frontman, Mark "Barney" Greenway, had said: "Sound as a weapon - or a weapon of change - is a very interesting concept and I think that the whole process of our sound gradually degrading clay sculptures is captivating."