GNU Gallery: Finding Art Amongst Destruction

By: Amy Schakel

Can beauty be created through destruction? Brett Schreiber has set out on a quest to answer this question. On June 15th, about 20 to 30 people gathered at the GNU Gallery in Old Town to destroy musical instruments as the first installment of his project called “Our Thoughts are Objects.” The goal of this is simple, to create something beautiful and new through making as big of a mess as possible.

“The destructive part had to be ultra-violent and destructive in order to give a stark contrast to what comes out of it” Schreiber says on a journey to the gallery to see the aftermath. With instruments that had first been dipped in blood red paint then smashed against a concrete wall, the place looked like a slaughter house.

Schreiber recognizes that what he is doing is nothing new, however he hopes that audience involvement will generate a new sort of experience for everyone. The audience wasn’t given any direction on how or what to do with the instruments before anything began. At first there was timidity but then that broke into excitedness and an utter mess. About only ten people actually smashed the dripping instruments on the wall, but both participants and onlookers enjoyed themselves.

Now it is up to Schreiber to turn the chaos into something new. He plans on taking the audio and video recordings of the demolition, break it even farther apart and build it into a new experience. He will also turn the room into something else by adding burnt sheet music and a display of the broken instruments.  All comes together as a puzzle piece to accentuate the splatter on the gallery walls. Ultimately it will be a fully encompassing environment that the audience not only can look at, but also be a part of.

The unveiling of the full creation will be on July 6th at the GNU Gallery.



  1. says

    At least it’s not “yet another” bluegrass band playing with watercolored political correctness as art. The 3B crowd (Bluegrass, Beer, and Beards) has been getting really stale.

    I miss the days of destructive art. Punk bands that eventually broke windows and enjoyed getting into fights with the crowd. Metal bands that seriously had moshpits. Violence explored intelligently by actual postmodernist artists through sculpture, performance, and abstract art. Noise artists banging on trash that they fashioned into homemade instruments.

    Seeing stuff like this happen again gives me hope for the next generation. I was starting to think that they were all a little too tame. This kind of experience can be very illuminating for people. Especially those who would otherwise shun it.

  2. says

    Smashing things… in the name of art. This is completely banal and childish. In my opinion, it contributes nothing to Fort Collins’ lacking art scene. I’d say an A for effort and a F for performance.

    -foco critic

    • Brett says

      did you see the performance? or are you giving it a letter grade without having actually experienced it?

    • sharemoreart says

      thanks foco critic. your thoughtful insight into the fort collins art scene certainly elevates the discussion. if only more critics had the ability to so clearly articulate the absolute fact that smashing things is boring and lacking in maturity. broken objects don’t contribute to any form…be it artistic, or otherwise. what purpose does the examination of smashing things (like particles) do for our development as a species? chaos is a realm that children play in. when you grow-up, you realize that the world is a fixed system, void of any emergent thoughts or objects.

  3. says

    In the second part of this interactive installation takes place Friday, July 6th. GNU will unveil the audio and video aspects arranged from source material compiled during the first part. The installation will debut from 8-10pm, followed by performances by local noise artists and experimental musicians.

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