I can’t say for certain, considering I haven’t yet been fortunate enough to visit the country personally, but I have the sneaking suspicion that Kraftwerk are as representative of German culture, and are as much a part of the German consciousness, as Elvis Presley or Clint Eastwood is here in the United States — probably even more so, when you consider the relative size of the two countries, and the fact that barely anybody outside of Las Vegas still gives a shit about Elvis. Clint Eastwood is still knee-deep in the movie industry, but his ongoing presence inspires reactions more in the vein of, “Oh, he’s still alive?” than “Oh my God, it’s Clint Eastwood, icon of American cinema and culture! I’m so glad he’s still making movies.” Since the release of Autobahn in 1974, Kraftwerk have indeed maintained a hearty international fanbase, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that their most passionate followers reside within the borders of Deutschland itself.
Just because people in the United States generally happen to have an anomalistic aversion to the genre doesn’t mean that the more enlightened among us can’t show our appreciation for inarguably the most noteworthy pioneers of electronic music. From April 10-17, in the Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium of New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Kraftwerk will perform each of their eight albums (one album per evening), in a “time-based” event called “Kraftwerk – Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8,” designed to showcase not only their musical innovations, but also their artistically unique and visually arresting live shows. According to a press release, the sets “will combine sound and 3D images to present more than 40 years of musical and technological innovation, with new improvisations and 3D projections.”
Summing up the basis for the performance(s), Klaus Biesenbach, MoMA’s Chief Curator at Large and not an alternate for Fritz Hilpert, states, “In Kraftwerk’s practice, all of the components—melodic music and ambient sound, elaborate stage sets, live performance and performance by robots, their trademark videos and logo-like still imagery, all conceived and realized by the artists themselves—coalesce as one work of art.” If any band deserves an event like this…
Tickets are $25 and go on sale next Wednesday at 12 PM. Check out the official event page here.