Jeffrey Hayden Shurdut at the Whitney Museum of Art, NYC, Biennial 2008


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“Pianos are instruments not furniture"

Live public performance and interview on Neighborhood Public Radio as part of The Whitney Museum of Art, NYC, Biennial 2008

March 8, Saturday, 3pm (FM frequency to be announced.)

Jeffrey Hayden Shurdut

I grew up in a society where music was considered an after school activity; a recreational babysitter.

25 years later I decided to walk the streets of new york city to find a place to give sound away. With it's task force of 8 million, New York still conducts business on false advertising the American dream; selling music and art as part of our culture, then cutting out those same programs in its public schools.

Pay the $20 entrance fee to the museum and see works by Vincent Van Gogh who died with little more than his beard. Stop making museums rich. Artists are starving. In a passive society, the American class system is a culture of piano furniture status symbols. Our image of the piano is the context in which we place it.

I always carry a recorder and small camera with me. And since the rich music scene of New York had been sold out for higher rents, there were now fewer places than ever to perform what the city still shamefully sells to the world as it's crowning cultural achievement. So, I started walking into music stores to perform for whomever would listen, and documented my results.

The first things to be cut in any city school system are its music and arts programs. And as such, it seemed to me that music and art are really mostly for those who could afford it. In fact, our most primitive acts of communication were sounds, and musics, which ultimately became the backbone of community, and religion. From lullaby's at night, to songs of prayer and marching bands throughout our lives, nothing is more important to our early survival than the sound of our own mother.

I continued my walks through the streets of New York to see how people would react to one of the strongest words in our language; FREE. Most importantly, the search is as much a part of music as it is a study in sociology. It's about how people receive. It's about the conditions placed on acts of giving, and the expectation of trade or exchange placed on such acts that connect, nurture, and become integral parts to our psychological survival, mental, and spiritual health. What better place to bring it than to the land of the free / home of the brave, right to the belly and the brains of the beast and the “MADISON AVENUE ADVERTISING CULTURE." FREE. ---To see whether the over riding impulse in our nature is a superficial sense of freedom, or understanding that freedom can only be gained through interdependence and responsibility.

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