David Stubbs - Fear Of Music – Why People Get Rothko But Don’t Get Stockhausen
Modern art is a mass phenomenon. Conceptual artists like Damien Hirst enjoy celebrity status. Works by 20th century abstract artists like Mark Rothko are selling for record breaking sums, while the millions commanded by works by Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon make headline news. However, while the general public has no trouble embracing avant garde and experimental art, there is, by contrast, mass resistance to avant garde and experimental music, although both were born at the same time under similar circumstances – and despite the fact that from Schoenberg and Kandinsky onwards, musicians and artists have made repeated efforts to establish a “synaesthesia” between their two media. Fear of Music examines the parallel histories of modern art and modern music and examines why one is embraced and understood and the other ignored, derided or regarded with bewilderment, as noisy, random nonsense perpetrated by, and listened to by the inexplicably crazed. It draws on interviews and often highly amusing anecdotal evidence in order to find answers to the question: Why do people get Rothko and not Stockhausen?
David Stubbs began working life as a freelance journalist in 1986, contributing to Melody Maker, whose staff he joined in 1987. As well as helping revive the music coverage of that weekly, alongside colleagues like Simon Reynolds, he became the author of the “Talk Talk Talk” section, formerly the gossip pages, which he turned into a comedy/satirical section, in which he lampooned the various pop and rock stars of the day, from the highest to the lowest. This book was featured in a BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, an evening of lectures at the Tate Britain and a full-length piece in The Sunday Times.
Paperback, published in 2009, 144 pages.