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4 posts tagged "Sonic Youth"

Kim Gordon: Rock Star, Designer, Contemporary Artist


Kim Gordon's artworks

Before she met Thurston Moore, before Sonic Youth and any inklings of the quake she would make in noise/art rock history (and before she had any connection to the fashion world, for that matter), Kim Gordon was an art student studying at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. She moved to New York after graduating in the late seventies, and started waiting tables and working in a couple of galleries as she made her own work on the side. Not long after, she had her first show at White Columns, then a “Deco building that looked like a showroom” in Soho, in 1981. “I started this thing with a friend of mine called Design Office—the idea was to do an intervention with private spaces: alter them in some physical, decorative way,” explained Gordon, who took over the gallery with household items from friends’ apartments. “It wasn’t really meant to be high design. It was more psychological—dealing with the idea of switching private and public.”

More than thirty years later, Gordon is once again showing at White Columns, this time presenting a retrospective of her work from 1980 to today. Design Office, which references the original early-eighties project and show, opens on September 7 with an exhibition of photographs, videos, sculptures, writings, and paintings. Many of the works have only been seen by a handful of people. “There are really early text pieces like small proposals for stories, paintings of noise bands, watercolors of guys in noise bands, and pictures of Paris Hilton, [as well as] more recent paintings of tweets that I took off Twitter,” explained the artist. “They look kind of minimal, and tie together by way of production value—like, not very good, poor production values. [I used] impure elements like glitter or canvases that are pretty cheap.”

Kim Gordon

Tweet paintings, like All Animals Have the Same Parts’ Pamela Anderson Retweeted by Richard Prince (top left,) are composed on ripped notebook paper and rest alongside electric-blue-covered twigs and painted jean skirts. A limited-edition solo vinyl recording by Gordon will accompany the exhibition.

The show opens just before the release of Gordon’s new album with noise experimentalist Bill Nace, titled Coming Apart, on September 10. “It’s kind of freer and more textural,” said Gordon, who will perform with Nace at Brooklyn’s Union Pool that night. “Some of it is sort of early Velvet-y…but it’s really like nothing I’ve heard.”

Design Office will be on exhibit from September 7 to October 19 at White Columns Gallery, 320 West 13th Street, New York.

Photos: Courtesy of White Columns Gallery

Surface To Air Rocks Out


Surface to Air has a long history of working with rock star collaborators, including the likes of Justice, Kings of Leon, and Kid Cudi. The French brand’s latest guest designer? Sonic Youth front woman Kim Gordon. Her 12-piece collection of sexy but wearable silk dresses and leather jackets, available in all three of the brand’s stores this month, was inspired by her artwork and musical influences (like French singer Catherine Ribeiro). In this exclusive video, directed by Jérémie Rozan and shot by Kenneth Cappello, Gordon shows off the new threads in front of installations by Olaf Breuning.

Photos: Kenneth Cappello

Punk’s Not Dead—And It’ll Soon Be On DVD


A trip down memory lane today had me thinking about punk and grunge in the early nineties. Following the spate of designer departures, we at were remembering one of the nineties’ most trumpeted (after the fact, at least) layoffs: Marc Jacobs’ firing from Perry Ellis, following his grunge-inspired Spring ’93 collection. Hindsight’s 20/20: Today, Jacobs is near-untouchable, and that particular collection has gone down in history (or is it infamy?) as one with enduring appeal. Of course, as much credit as Jacobs deserves, he had a little help. I’m thinking of his friends in the actual grunge scene at the time, the ones whose thrifted-or-lifted, tattered-and-layered sensibility helped refine his vision. People like Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon (above, with Courtney Love) and Thurston Moore—longtime friends of Jacobs—as well as legendary grungesters like Kurt Cobain and J Mascis. They all make up the cast—if you can call it that—of the groundbreaking music doc 1991: The Year Punk Broke, which has, somehow, never made it onto DVD. That is, until this coming fall. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Dave Markey’s documentary, about Sonic Youth and Nirvana’s 1991 European tour, the film will finally make its way to DVD in September (with extras including commentary by Markey and Moore and a 42-minute film of SY/Nirvana performances). It’s about time. 1991 has long been VHS-only, sending appreciators without VCRs (myself included) to YouTube for our fix. Until the DVD does hit stores this fall, that’s still your best bet, and where you’ll find SY’s performance of “Teenage Riot” from the movie or Gordon and the gang mugging for TV and fooling around (“You promised me there’d be no interesting people in the front row!”). Twenty years on, nineties style is having something of a moment. Once today’s designers get their Netflix queues around this one, can a New Grunge look be far behind?

Ten Years Of Marc By Marc
(And A Soundtrack, To Boot)


Hard as it is to believe, Marc by Marc Jacobs celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. In celebration, the label has reissued a few of its classic styles from throughout its history, from military jackets to dresses to print scarves to belts. That’s reason enough to celebrate (especially at these prices—beginning at $68 and topping out at an affordable $300). But what’s really got us shaking is the playlist Jacobs has created and is making available for a month of free streaming on Rhapsody. It’s a decade in music, the Marc Jacobs way: All the tunes that have been played at the brand’s runway shows or in its ads, from Pavement to Pulp to Peter Bjorn and John. And while M by MJ only stretches back to the early aughts, Marc’s connection to music goes much farther back than that. You get a hint of it in Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” a nod at his famous grunge collection (and the one that, in famously getting him fired from Perry Ellis, could be said to have kicked off the Marc Jacobs label in the first place). It’s that collection the designer’s pals, Kim Gordon (left, with Jacobs in 2006) and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, put into their ’92 music video for “Sugar Kane,” parts of which were shot backstage at the show. Jacobs and Perry Ellis didn’t last, but Jacobs and SY did. In tribute, the playlist’s first track: “Teen Age Riot,” off the band’s Daydream Nation. The playlist starts streams March 10 through April 10 at

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris / WireImage