Piano Destruction Ritual: Pianos were harmed in the making of this video


New York based Raphael Montañez Ortiz is a conceptual artist. In 1966 he co-founded the Destruction of Art Symposium, a group designed to highlight the futile loss of life and environmental damage caused by the Vietnam war. From this was born the Destructive Art movement.

The group staged destructive events to shock audiences into awareness of society’s more senseless acts.

Born in 1934, Ortiz has continued with his destructive art right up to the present day. His most famous performance work is his piano events, which have been performed over 80 times.

The newly released video shown here is entitled, “Piano Destruction Ritual; Cowboys and Indians, Part Two”, and was filmed at the Los Angeles Convention Centre on January 14 and presented by the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Centre (CSRC) as part of the 2017 L.A. Art Show.

Artists Notes accompanying the performance

“The Piano is a powerful instrument of sound to convey the message of Sacrifice I wish to convey to the Universe. The Sounds of its Destruction gives full voice to Sacrifice: To the Destruction Creation in it cycle of Creation is giving us time to understand the preciousness of Mortal Life that it never be given up to or for Sacrifice of any kind… If we must have WAR send our PIANOS to WAR. If we must have VIOLENCE send our PIANOS to VIOLENCE, I dare YOU to HATE your PIANO to fill it with your HATE and BIGOTRY and Let Creation Know your PIANO’S Life does not compare to the Miracle of Life WE MORTALS are and that OUR PIANO is the SACRIFICE TO THAT FACT…As for the Egg and the Feathers they are the subtle aspect the preparation for the SPIRITUAL BONDING with the PIANO: The Egg when it is held gently in one’s cupped hands and You imagine the worst aspects of Your Character and then crush the Egg on the PIANO you have committed Yourself to the surrender of those worst aspects to the Sacrifice the PIANO is… The Feathers placed on top of the crushed Egg are the signal to the Angels to carry the Sacrifice to a place of Spiritual Redemption.”

Film by Eric Minh Swenson.


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