Art + Music

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago just kicked off an exhibition called “Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll Since 1967.” I wanna go! It chronicles the cross-breeding between art and music in that glorious era from Andy Warhol/Velvet Underground onwards… The exhibition focuses on major cities and movements in the US and the UK. Here are some examples of art x music = awesomeness.

David Byrne is the art-school dropout par excellence. From his RISD days, to the awesomeness that is the Talking Heads, his crazy art shows and current music with Forro in the Dark and others, he’s all sorts of creativeness I only wish I could be.

He recently had a crazy exhibit of chairs, called “Furnishing the Self – Upholstering the Soul”. He says, “Why chairs? Well, they have arms and legs and vaguely human scale — and shape. They’re people — they hold you, support you, elevate you or humble you. They’re funny or elegant, funky or gorgeous, social or aloof. They’re characters with lives and histories…aren’t they?”

He has also published a couple of books with McSweeney’s. Most recently was The New Sins, an update on the Bible’s cardinal sins.

I think Raymond Pettibon’s logo for his brother’s band, Black Flag, is fucking amazing! It looks like their music. Bold, unapologetic, impossible to ignore. I love the weirdness of his work.

Black Flag – Rise Above

Pettibon also did the cover art for Sonic Youth’s Goo. But they’re no strangers to art.

One last one, because I’ve been listening to Nirvana lately. I still remember seeing Elizabeth Peyton’s portrait of Kurt Cobain for the first time at the Whitney Biennial in 2004. As with much good art that I remember, I was massively confused. What was this? Cheap commentary on pop culture trying to masquerade as intellectual heft? Trying to ride on the coattails of Kurt Cobain’s meaning because the portrait couldn’t stand on its own? No, if you look there is a quiet, moving intimacy in her portraits that kept me coming back and stuck in my head.


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