Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Exhibition highlights iconoclasm

Allen Jones's Chair (1969) on display at Tate Britain as part of the exhibition Art Under Attack: Histories of British Iconoclasm

Tate Britain is putting a new twist on art under the hammer with an exhibition of wrecked works, including the splintered remains of a piano.

Art Under Attack: Histories of British Iconoclasm gathers together items which have all suffered some form of physical destruction, dating back to the Reformation through to the present day.

Among the exhibits is the frame of a piano which was shattered during a famed art stunt in the 1960s, along with a recording of the destruction which was broadcast on US radio at the time.

The instrument was used in the Destruction In Art Symposium (DIAS) in 1966, a series of events which included Raphael Montanez Ortiz 's Duncan Terrace Piano Destruction Concert in a house in Islington, north London. The remains of the piano had been at the property ever since.

Ortiz has said of the performance: "The first hit of the axe proved my theory - the sound resonated as I have never heard before."

The season also featured performances by Yoko Ono and the new Tate exhibition will display a fragment of one of her dresses worn in one of her most famous works Cut Piece, during which she would sit on stage as members of the audience snipped off her clothing.

She said: "I'm glad that the Destruction in Art Symposium is presented as the initial creative force in the Art Under Attack show in the Tate. DIAS changed the map of the art world."

The three-month exhibition opens on Wednesday.

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