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. But is it harder for people to embrace avant garde and experimental music, even though both were born at the same time under similar circumstancesand 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 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?