The Bowie exhibition wasn’t the only rock ‘n’ roll event happening at the Victoria & Albert Museum this week. Napalm Death the ‘grindcore’ metal band had a special invitation only gig canceled at the last minute over fears that it could damage the art treasures held in its world famous collection. The concert was built around three ceramic sound systems which were set to explode when the music peaked due to the sound levels. The London museum stated that it dropped the concert after safety inspections failed to confirm that damage wouldn’t be caused.
The gig was scheduled for tomorrow ( 22 March) in the Europe Galleries an area of the museum which is undergoing refurbishment.Titled Bustleholm, it was a one-off experimental collaboration between the Napalm Death and the artist Keith Harrison, who is currently an artist in residence at the South Kensington institution, working as a ceramics artist. Harrison erected the ceramic sound systems using the templates of tiles used on the buildings in the Bustleholm Mill estate in West Bromwich, where he grew up.
The artist stated; “Sound as a weapon or a weapon of change is a very interesting concept and I think that the whole process of our sound gradually degrading clay sculptures is captivating,” he said. A spokes person from the gallery said; “The safety of our visitors and building remains our priority at all times,” The museum relented.
Keith Harrison was born in West Bromwich in the Black Country and from the age of 8 grew up in Birmingham. He didn’t intend or expect to be a ceramicist and in a bizarre set of circumstances was banned from the Ceramics room on the first day of his Art Foundation Course in Bournville. Whilst on the BA Industrial Design course at Cardiff he enjoyed the freedom and versatility of clay during one of the projects and later switched courses to Ceramics. Keith completed an MA in Ceramics and Glass at the RCA in 2002.