German electronic band Kraftwerk are experiencing a career resurgence, of sorts. Fresh off performing at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami in March, Kraftwerk started a week-long retrospective on April 10 at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. Encompassing their eight electronic albums, inimitable music videos, designs, three-dimensional installations, and even the robots the group occasionally has do their concerts, each night of Kraftwerk 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 is dedicated to a release, starting with 1974’s Autobahn.
Autobahn became an international hit, and Kraftwerk essentially shaped electronic music as we know it. Music videos, however, were the original focus of the retrospective, and exhibit curator Klaus Biesenbach explained to the New York Daily News: “There’s been a big shift in museums to try to show works in a live presentation.”
Rather than in a concert hall, live music will be performed in MoMA’s atrium, a space 75 feet tall at points and large enough to hold 450. While Kraftwerk did the grandiose music festival set at Ultra, the MoMA retrospective will have an intimate feel. Specifically, Biesenbach said: “We want to make this like a studio visit. It’s the-artist-at-work. That’s what we hope to present.”
For the live performance, however, Ralf Hütter is the only remaining member from the 1970s lineup.
Aside from the performance, a limited-edition boxed set is being released through MoMA. Titled The Catalogue, the box set went on sale April 7, with 2,000 copies available. Although all eight albums are the same as the 2009 Astralwerk’s release, The Catalogue offers new artwork. Presently, the album can be purchased through MoMA’s website, the Manhattan location’s gift shop, and the MoMA PS1 gift shop in Queens.
Kraftwerk 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 won’t be the only opportunity to catch this German electronic act mixing live music with visual elements. In Munich, they’ll perform a three-dimensional concert at Alte Kongresshalle in October and a three-dimensional video installation in Kunstbau in October and November.