Artist’s Proposal to Drop Piano from London High-Rise Rejected

2014-july-11-piano-drop-london
Piano drop.
Photo: Sarah Tappon/Flickr.

As one might imagine, Turner Prize-nominated artist Catherine Yass‘s proposal to drop a piano off the top of a 27-story building in London didn’t go over so well with the neighbors. Yass conceived of the idea as a “part of a community workshop to explore how sound travels,” and wanted to perform the stunt at an empty tower. According to the London Evening Standard, once local residents got wind of the plan, which has been called “dangerous and ludicrous,” they signed a petition that requested the building’s owners to block the project. The Poplar Housing and Regeneration Community Association, which manages the area awaiting renovation, has since rejected the plan.

Locals have been outspoken about their outrage surrounding the proposal.

“People seem to have finally come to their senses,” said neighbor Jean Brown. “The idea shouldn’t have been thought up in the first place. To have it discussed by the board was ludicrous. The community association employs anti-social behavior officers and if chucking a piano off the Balfron Tower isn’t anti-social behavior I don’t know what is.”

Catherine Yass

Catherine Yass.

London-based video artist Nick Stewart saw the proposal as a symptom of the art world’s current climate, stating, “There has been a rash of art projects of late that speak more about artist arrogance than art.”

Despite the cancellation of the piano drop, its very suggestion has sullied the artist’s reputation throughout London. A spokesman for local artists’ collective Whiteism tweeted: “I thought it was a joke to be honest. I had a lot of respect for Catherine Yass. Not any more.” Let this be a lesson to artists: old cartoon tropes may not always be the most popular sources of inspiration.


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