On Friday in New York, at MoMA's Kraftwerk concert, the music had a lot of the same charge it had in the earliest days of New Wave. (Amazing new 3D graphics, floating mid-air, helped the music's vintage futurism feel current.) You couldn't doubt the band's importance as a musical and cultural force. But is that enough to earn it a full retrospective at MoMA? Does all of culture belong in the museum? When I compare Kraftwerk's level of experimentation and rigor to 1970s fine art by Dan Graham or Gordon Matta Clark or Cindy Sherman (or to films by John Cassavetes), all the sudden it feels pretty tame and straightforward. Now the Sex Pistols might be a different story.
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