Banksy Plays the Violin
Earlier this year, I read an article about Joshua Bell, a violinist who played at a Washington D.C. subway station during the morning rush hour. Unlike most buskers, this musician was one of the most accomplished virtuosos in the world. Three nights before, Joshua Bell played in Boston’s Symphony Hall for patrons who paid over $100 a ticket. And the instrument he played? A violin from 1713, handcrafted by Antonio Stradivari, that cost Bell $3.5 million.
You would expect that one of the best musicians on the planet to garner some attention. But during his 43 minutes of playing time, only seven people stopped to listen, and he earned a total of $32.17.
This experiment, the brainchild of The Washington Post, raises all sorts of questions, including: Can we appreciate beauty in unfamiliar settings? Are we able to recognize talent without signposts? And how do we know when we…
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