MoMA Disco

MoMA Disco

ARTBEAT: The Politics of Culture
The Village Voice
Summer 1979


Valentine Goroshko, Vagrich Bakhchanyan, and Alexandr Kosolapov have offered to turn part of the Museum of Modern Art into a disco. Museum officials are unmoved by the proposition. So for the past two months, these émigré conceptualists who call themselves ART SALVATION INC. have taken their case to the people by holding twice-weekly “Disco Demonstrations” in front of the museum.

In place of the usual portable dance floor, huge speakers and sign-up sheet, the MoMA sidewalk presents three rather grim-faced, chain-smoking Russians—complete with tiny American flags on toothpicks and photo buttons of themselves pinned to their ties. They offer a petition to the museum, a little radio blasting your favorite disco hits, a white banner with a red cross (upon which is written the key word, SALVATION), plastic flowers, the expected broadsides, fake “MOMA Disco” records, and a schematic diagram titled “MOMA DISCO FEVER PROJEKT,” which depicts a spiritualized couple grooving in a gallery displaying Rothko, de Kooning, Warhol, and Wesselmann.

Goroshko is the group’s only possible spokesmen, since the other two speak no English. “It depresses me,” he muses, “the way people go to the museum like they’re going to church. We have to revitalize art, give it back to the masses, make people involved with it once again.”

Their call to feet is boldly proclaimed in the broadside manifesto posted on a trash can outside the museum: “Art Crisis, today, is widely acknowledged by Art World Community. But nobody does something about it! Why! As the result of the above, we urgently offer MOMA DISCO FEVER as the only real solution—presently available—to this dilemma. With your help, MOMA DISCO FEVER will prevent impotence and death of Art in New York.”

Goroshko and friends have taken a summer recess, but they promise to be back, much to the museum’s understated displeasure, in the fall. When Disco becomes established at MoMA (hold breath please) ART SALVATION INC. will move on to other projects. Allowing for the needed special insurance requirements, Roller Disco at the Guggenheim looms large on the arthletic horizon. Whee! Mondrian! Splat!