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posted: 11/19/2013 6:00 AM

Strokes' Moretti engages in interactive art

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  • The Strokes' drummer Fabrizio Moretti with one of his cast-in-plastic astronauts beside the SoHo Rag & Bone store where his art is installed in New York. Moretti's installation at one time included white niches filled with white plastic astronauts, but they were all stolen. Moretti created new black astronauts but relocated the new pieces to a second-story fire escape above the installation.

      The Strokes' drummer Fabrizio Moretti with one of his cast-in-plastic astronauts beside the SoHo Rag & Bone store where his art is installed in New York. Moretti's installation at one time included white niches filled with white plastic astronauts, but they were all stolen. Moretti created new black astronauts but relocated the new pieces to a second-story fire escape above the installation.
    Associated Press

  • Fabrizio Moretti of The Strokes performs at the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago. Moretti has staged a sort of interactive sculpture outside the Rag & Bone retail store in Soho, in New York: He put up a large display of removable half-religious saint-half-astronaut statuettes and invited passers-by to take them. Some did, some didn't. He says that he may become one of those hyphenated types -- an artist-slash-musician.

      Fabrizio Moretti of The Strokes performs at the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago. Moretti has staged a sort of interactive sculpture outside the Rag & Bone retail store in Soho, in New York: He put up a large display of removable half-religious saint-half-astronaut statuettes and invited passers-by to take them. Some did, some didn't. He says that he may become one of those hyphenated types -- an artist-slash-musician.
    Associated Press file photo, august 2010

  • The Strokes' drummer Fabrizio Moretti in front of his installation on the exterior wall of the SoHo Rag & Bone store in New York. The installation is part of the clothing brand's ongoing urban art project, in which they get artists to revamp the store's facade.

      The Strokes' drummer Fabrizio Moretti in front of his installation on the exterior wall of the SoHo Rag & Bone store in New York. The installation is part of the clothing brand's ongoing urban art project, in which they get artists to revamp the store's facade.
    Associated Press

 
By Samantha Critchell
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- People listen -- sometimes really carefully -- to music, and Fabrizio Moretti, drummer of rock band The Strokes, certainly appreciates that. But, he says, it's a one-way conversation.

Moretti yearned to have more of an artistic dialogue with the public, so he started one outside the Rag & Bone retail store in Soho, where he's staged a sort of interactive pop-up art installation.

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He put up a large display of removable half-religious saint-half-astronaut statuettes on a wall resembling a shrine and invited passers-by to take them. Some did, some didn't. It was his version of a social experiment, he explained.

"I thought it was an interesting thing to see this struggle inside the viewer: Should they do something that's -- in a sense -- wrong, but if they chose to do it, they'd be involved in this dialogue and exchange with me, and they could do it," he said.

Sculpture isn't new for Moretti, 33, who studied the subject at the State University of New York at New Paltz before he started touring. "I went to school for this," he said, "but I'm new at sharing it with the public."

The statues have been taken more quickly than he expected. He displayed them in a group of 24, and the plan was to keep the installation filled until Friday.

Demand has surpassed output.

"Everything else has all come to a halt during this. You should see my apartment now," he said. "I'm making them at home, and it's an absolute mess."

There's still music to be made, and Moretti says he and his bandmates, who released the album "Comedown Machine" earlier this year, are working on new material. He says, though, that he may become one of those hyphenated types -- an artist-slash-musician.

"I hate to sound jaded, but everything else has become routine and a business -- that's what the music industry has become to me -- and I have to remind myself that creating is a privilege. Art has fueled creativity with a newfound fervor," he said.

But his perch in front of Rag & Bone isn't a sign that he's taking on fashion, too. Designers Marcus Wainwright and David Neville have no competition to fear, Moretti said with a laugh. "They're cool, rad. But fashion design? I think I'd be terrible at that."

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