Category Archives: Music

Longo Vids

Robert Longo, best known for his iconic late 1970s series Men in the Cities is another visual artist who tried his hand at making music videos.  He’s the guy behind New Order’s 1986 video for Bizarre Love Triangle (above) and even worked with angry ginge Dave Mustaine from Megadeth on their single Peace Sells (below).

Early in his career, Longo had his own band too.  The artist was the lead singer of Menthol Wars, who performed in New York in the late 1970s.  Below is their very excellent single Even Lower Manhattan, released in 1982 on a Terminal Records compilation called Cleveland Confidential.

Clips from Goo

In 1990 when Sonic Youth released their album Goo (that’s the one with the iconic Raymond Pettibon cover), they asked a bunch of artists and filmmakers to produce the accompanying music videos.  One of the contributors was a young Tony Oursler (the inclusion of a toy panda with a human mouth in the video above is the giveaway I reckon…).  He chose Tunic (Song For Karen) “…for its classic SY sound and tragic subject: the self destruction of mega-popstar Karen Carpenter”.

Pervy photographer Richard Kern had a go too.  That’s his video above, for the track Scooter and Jinx.

Destroy All Monsters

Raymond Pettibon, film-maker

LOL’s just discovered a suite of early films by Raymond Pettibon, all shot by the artist in 1989 using home video equipment. The tapes address various elements of West Coast American subcultures from Charlie Manson and The Family (in Judgement Day Theatre: The Book of Manson) to the kidnapping of Patti Hearst by militant group The Symbionese Liberation Army (in Citizen Tania). The last of these videos, Sir Drone (above), focuses on the emergence of the American punk movement, to which Pettibon was intrinsically linked though his work with Black Flag and SST Records.  In it, Mike Watt of the Minute Men and the late Mike Kelly (formerly of Destroy All Monsters) play teen punks trying to start a band.  Pettibon himself also makes an appearance, as a character called Vomit.  Shot over two days, Sir Drone contains a rambling script read awkwardly from cue cards.  Despite their crudeness, Kelly later claimed that “Raymond’s tapes are strangely moving: he is a brilliant script writer”.  LOL leaves you to be the judge of that…

Ok here it is…

Jay Z’s ‘performance art film’ for his new single ‘Picasso Baby‘ has now been released.  The footage was gleaned from a 6 hour ‘endurance performance’ by Jay Z at New York’s Pace Gallery that included an audience of celebs, fans and art world heavyweights like George Condo, Lorna Simpson, Lawrence Weiner, Wangechi Mutu,  Andres Serrano and the granddaughter of Picasso himself, Diana Widmaier.  See if you can pick em out in the clip above.

Walter De Maria, Drummer

LOL was sad to learn of the passing of Walter De Maria last week.  While he created significant installations like the New York Earth Room and The Lightning Field (that was immortalised on the cover of Robert Hughes’ key tome American Visions), he’s lesser known for his forays into music.  Heavily entrenched in all manner of 1960s ‘happenings’ in New York, De Maria played with Lou Reed and John Cale in a band called the Primitives, who later went on to become the Velvet Underground.

In a 1972 interview with the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art De Maria described the tug between art and music: “I could have stayed with that band…it was a beautiful, really great band…And it was very tiring to bring all the drums around, and then after playing all night, you couldn’t do anything during the day. I thought, are you going to play or are you going to do the sculpture? You know, are you going to be an artist or a musician?”

Obviously he chose the former, but for a taste of De Maria’s musical side, have a listen to this 1966 recording of ‘Ostrich’, by the Primitives (above).

Picasso, Baby.

Jay Z faces off with Marina at Pace Gallery

Jay Z faces off with Marina at Pace Gallery

Jay Z’s taken his art wank to the next level this week with a 6-hour ‘endurance performance’ at Pace Gallery in New York.  The rapper performed his new single ‘Picasso Baby’ over and over to an audience filled with fans and art-world heavyweights alike.  Attendants included Girls producer Judd Apatow, art critic Jerry Saltz (who had this to say about the performance) and artists including Marilyn Minter, Laurie Simmons, Marina Abramovic and Laurence Weiner.  According to crowd member and artist Adam Pendleton however “It was a little unclear when Lawrence Weiner came out if Jay-Z had any idea who he was.”  Awkward.

Footage gleaned from the performance will eventually be edited into a music video to accompany the single.  While photographs and tweets were allegedly not permitted within the space, this hasn’t stopped them cropping up all over social media and Gothamist has some good snippets of pirated footage.  The whole thing’s created quite a buzz, but LOL wonders if the result is anything more than a cleverly crafted situation where name dropping artists becomes another hollow signifier of status…