The cover art for Kronos Quartet’s much anticipated recording of Steve Reich’s “WTC 9/11″ was certainly a bold move. Many are asking if it is over the line.
I can’t say that I had a strong reaction to the cover. I’m not saying that to stay out of the controversy; it’s simply the truth. The cover doesn’t cause me to want to take a stand as much as it causes me to want to ask questions.
1. In my book, using WTC imagery for art is OK but using it for marketing is not. Are album covers art or marketing? Are they both? Does this create a gray area?
2. Using this imagery to sell more recordings would be despicable. But does this imagery really sell more recordings? It seems like it would hurt sells more than help. Apparently Reich had input on the cover. Does this make the cover part of the work? Or at least part of exhibiting the work?
3. Might a person’s feelings about this cover be different if it were for a Toby Keith album? How about a Rage Against the Machine comeback album? The contents of the album would certainly affect how I feel about the image’s use, but is that rational?