Play it Loud is an exhibition dedicated to the musical instruments which have been the hallmark of Rock & Roll and to the iconic musicians that have used them throughout the history of Rock and Roll music. It is being staged at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (colloquially The Met), a museum known for collecting and presenting works of art ranging from classical antiquity and Ancient Egypt to great Masters from all around the world. At first glance, a museum like The Met showing artifacts related to musical practices deemed rebellious might appear surprising and controversial. Such an exhibition, nonetheless, is in continuity with The Met’s approach, in that the museum has long been developing encyclopaedic collections of musical instruments, costumes and accessories from musical practices around the world. At the same time, the fact that The Met is holding this exhibition is not surprising in that, given every year there appears an exhibition around such a topic almost everywhere, it has become remarkable in recent times for a museum to stage an exhibition about popular music.
At the cutting-edge of museum practices
MOMENT NYC (Museum of Music & Entertainment in New York/ http://www.momentnyc.org) stands out as a project that aims to endow New York City with a museum to safeguard, celebrate and cherish its popular music. Founded in 2014 by Genji Siraisi – a native New Yorker, professional musician, composer, and music producer -, the institution has been awarded a provisional museum charter from the New York State Board of Regents and 501c3 non-profit status and is currently concentrating its efforts on advancing the museum’s structure and establishing a physical site. At the same time, its team of scholars has been applying to research councils and other funding bodies (NEH, National Endowment for the Humanities, and New York Council for the Humanities) to support ethnographic research on New York’s popular music and thereby build up its exhibitive narrative. The museum is also highly committed towards community building not only to create awareness of its initiative but also and especially to reach out and begin building an archive of collective experiences and memorabilia able to ensure detail and context to the larger exhibitive narrative. Its educational program is already on the move and represents a distinctive feature of the museum’s already ongoing activities. Performative sessions conducted by highly seasoned professional are held at public schools and designed to enable students to delve deeper into their thinking about music in general, music in their lives, and the very meaning of music both to humans and to New York City. By visiting its site http://www.momentnyc.org/blog/donate/, anyone can get involved with supporting, sponsoring and/or funding MOMENT NYC.