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April 05, 2006
"musicians who make art"

A recent post on Jen Bekman's blog gives me justification to clean out of my virtual desk drawer a listicle post that I half drafted some time early last year then lost interest in -- perhaps on suspicion that immediately upon posting I'd think of new names to add. Art by many of the musicians listed below within recent years has been see-able in the city of Bekman's gallery (NYC).

Paul Simenon
(I have long theorized that he's ogling one of his own paintings in the group photo on the back cover of the bizarrely fascinating album, Cut the Crap, thereby sneakily having "done the cover art," just as he overtly did the cover art on the third BAD album.)

Lou Reed
(whose recent photo show at the Kasher gallery got mucho publicity)

Jon Langford
(Who had a solo show at Orchard St's Big Cat gallery a couple years back.)


David Johansen
(The indefatigable Bob Gruen provides photograhic evidence here of David Jo's 2003 Ricco/Maresca show, with paintings that reminded me a lot of Byzantine icons and in which the title of each was an individual woman's name.)

Patti Smith
(Who had a show of very interesting scribbly paintings at the Robert Miller Gallery's old 57th St. space some years back, and a great retrospective at Philly's ICA in 2003.)

(Sir) Paul McCartney
(Whose paintings at the Matthew Marks gallery a few years ago had a vibe decidedly more "Helter Skelter" than "Penny Lane.")

John Cage
(His drawings at the Roeder gallery show in 2002 (WITH Merce Cunningham's drawings) were subtly inscrutable.)

Ron Wood
(Didn't "Woodie" have a self-named, short-lived gallery that showed his own paintings on E. 4th St. circa 1989?)

Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart)
(For some reason, the only phrase that comes to mind when I try to remember the 1980s paintings in his 2001 Michael Werner gallery show is "exploding flower bouquets.")

Donna Summer

Dame Darcy

(Does he count, by virtue of the cover to Self Portrait?)

"Nick Lowe"
(I once stomped half-way across Manhattan to view before closing time a drawing by Nick Lowe only to learn after a visit to the binder of information at the reception desk that he was not my hero from Stiff Records and Rockpile.)

Walter DeMaria
(He was a member of an early proto-incarnation of the Velvet Underground, years before he created the must-to-see-(and, in one case, smell)-when-in-NYC Dia works, Broken Kilometer and Earth Room.)

Tony Conrad
(As the above link establishes, Conrad was another pre-VU member, and his witty and numerous jars entitled Pickled Film (which contain exactly what they purport to) are in the current Whitney Biennial. As are drawings by Daniel Johnston. These are, I believe, on the second floor, which includes not one but three works that incorporate or reference LP records -- one in the form of a turntable scuplture by Dash Snow "playing" a mirrored disk ringed with fine white powder.)*

Need we mention Arnold Schoenberg?
(The Jewish Museum showed a great bunch of his paintings (with Marc's and Kandinsky's) in '03-04.)

Finally, the just closed Downtown Show at NYU reminded those who went of numerous folks who had a foot in more than one medium, including music, at one time, including Basquiat (once of Gray), Jarmusch (once of the Del-Byzanteens) and Alan Vega (fused into the heart of his 1976 sculpture Alien are several unidentifiable audiocassette tapes, causing one to wonder which tapes in his collection he cared about little enough -- or greatly enough -- to render permanently unplayable and enshrine in a sculpture.).

I decided to shelve some earlier incarnation of the above list around the time that I decided not to continue developing a second list:





[*update 4/25/06: Robert C. Morgan on the Biennial, in the April 2006 Brooklyn Rail:

The Whitney Biennial is like the American news hour on broadcast TV. Every move is carefully planned, and every second is costly. The idea is to make it look like spontaneity while keeping the controls fixed beneath it all.]