Moon Music Maker

Moon Music Maker

Moon Music Maker by Reinhold P. Marxhausen

Moon Music Maker by Reinhold P. Marxhausen, from “Sound,” an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, October 25, 1969 through January 4, 1970. Moon Music Maker is worn by MCC’s administrative assistant Ray Pierotti, developer of the exhibition.

Reinhold P. Marxhausen’s Moon Music Maker is a metal earphone-like sculpture that emits a delicate sound when it is placed on the head. Five variations of these sculptures were on display in “Sound” at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in 1969. They were suspended from above, and visitors walked into the sculpture to experience the sound. Moon Music Makers required manipulation by the wearer, as demonstrated in this photo by the MCC’s administrative assistant Ray Pierotti. Pierotti developed this exhibition to give new perspective to the work of contemporary audio craftsmen.

The exhibition, “Sound,” included sound-emitting sculptures such as Moon Music Makers, scores, instruments, films, and more. The exhibited contemporary sound sculptures included objects that either suggest sound or require manipulation to cause them to sound, objects that perform independently because of air or electrical currents, and objects that were activated by the presence of an individual.

“Sound” has a rich archive at the ACC Library and archives, including correspondence from artists. Marxhausen’s letters are a treasure – fun to read, with sketches and excited exclamations from an artist totally engaged in his project. He created more Moon Music Makers, and sketched a new whole-body sounding sculpture, the Whanger. In one of his letters, Marxhausen writes:

Gosh, I can’t quit! … As I mentioned before, the original Moon Music Maker was made in 1961. In 1961 Art Linkletter’s Toy Co. in L.A. had all rights to it when they attempted to translate it into a saleable musical toy. It never became a reality, and all rights were released back to me.

Those who listen to the MMM feel the urge to own one. The demand has been fantastic. But I never made a duplicate, never sold any, never made any variations, and you now have the original one.

Your asking me to make several more MMM’s has really set me off and I can hardly quit. I have finished and am sending you six of the results. (Use as many or few as you wish.)

Throwback Thursday is a weekly series highlighting visuals from the American Craft Council Library's Digital Collections database. Check back on Thursdays for more.