Het zal morgen al twintig jaar geleden zijn dat de Amerikaanse celliste Charlotte Moorman is gestorven.

Zij was de celliste die destijds “Le cygne” van Saint-Saëns halfnaakt speelde in 1967 t.g.v. een performance van de Koreaanse avantgarde kunstenaar Nam June Paik, genaamd Opera Sextronique. The seminude performance resulted in her arrest on charges of indecent exposure; she was given a suspended sentence. The incident gave her nationwide fame as the “topless cellist.” She also performed Paik’s TV Bra for Living Sculpture (1969) with two small television receivers attached to her breasts. Another memorable piece was her performance of Jim McWilliams’ Sky Kiss in many locations including New York and Sydney, Australia, which involved her hanging suspended from helium-filled weather balloons or the brightly colored inflatable sculptures of Otto Piene. In the late 1970s she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a mastectomy and further treatment, to continue performing through the 1980s in spite of pain and deteriorating health. She died of cancer in New York City on November 8, 1991, aged 57. In 1966 artist Joseph Beuys had already created his work Infiltration Homogen für Cello, a felt-covered violoncello, in her honor.

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