Man Machine. Image courtesy of Sprueth Magers, Berlin and London. © Kraftwerk

Over eight consecutive nights, MoMA presents a chronological exploration of the sonic and visual experiments of Kraftwerk with a live presentation of their complete repertoire in the Museum’s Marron Atrium. Each evening consists of a live performance and 3-D visualization of one of Kraftwerk’s studio albums—Autobahn (1974), Radio-Activity (1975), Trans-Europe Express (1977), The Man-Machine (1978), Computer World (1981), Techno Pop (1986), The Mix (1991), and Tour de France (2003)—in the order of their release. Kraftwerk will follow each evening’s album performance with additional compositions from their catalog, all adapted specifically for this exhibition. This reinterpretation showcases Kraftwerk’s historical contributions to and contemporary influence on global sound and image culture.

Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider began the Kraftwerk project in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 1970, setting up the pioneering Kling Klang studio, where all of Kraftwerk’s albums were conceived and composed. By the mid-1970s the group had achieved international recognition for their revolutionary electro “sound paintings” and their musical experimentation with tapes and synthesizers. Their compositions, which feature distant melodies, multilingual vocals, robotic rhythms, and custom-made vocoders and computer-speech technology, almost single-handedly created the soundtrack for our digital future. Kraftwerk anticipated the impact of technology on art and everyday life, creating sounds and visuals that capture the human condition in the age of mobility and telecommunication. Their innovative looping techniques and computerized rhythms, which had a major influence on the early development of hip-hop and electronic dance music, remain among the most commonly sampled sounds across a wide range of music genres. Furthermore, the use of robotics and other technical innovations in their live performances illustrates Kraftwerk’s belief in the respective contributions of both people and machines in creating art. In recent years, starting with their performance at the Venice Biennale in 2005, Kraftwerk has been invited into the visual arts context, festivals, and museums, most recently performing at Lenbachhaus Kunstbau in Munich. In contrast to all former presentations, where Kraftwerk videos, visuals, or the “robots” were presented in a museum context but performances were staged as concerts, MoMA is realizing a groundbreaking new display: the first synthetic retrospective to present, simultaneously and in one location, Kraftwerk’s complex layers of music, sound, videos, sets, and performance as a total work of art. A presentation of Kraftwerk’s historical audio and visual material is on view at MoMA PS1, April 12–May 14, 2012.

All performances are SOLD OUT

Kraftwerk – Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Performance Schedule

Tuesday, April 10, 8:30 p.m.

1 – Autobahn (1974)

Wednesday, April 11, 8:30 p.m.

2 – Radio-Activity (1975)

Thursday, April 12, 8:30 p.m.

3 – Trans Europe Express (1977)

Friday, April 13, 10:00 p.m.

4 – The Man-Machine (1978)

Saturday April 14, 8:30 p.m.

5 – Computer World (1981)

Sunday, April 15, 8:30 p.m.

6 – Techno Pop (1986)

Monday, April 16, 8:30 p.m.

7 – The Mix (1991)

Tuesday, April 17, 10:00 p.m.

8 – Tour de France (2003)

Kraftwerk – Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 is organized by Klaus Biesenbach, Chief Curator at Large, The Museum of Modern Art, and Director, MoMA PS1; with the assistance of Eliza Ryan, Curatorial Assistant, MoMA PS1.

The exhibition is made possible by a partnership with Volkswagen of America.

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