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Björk (and Her App) Bound for MoMA: Retrospective Planned for Spring 2015

bjork

The Museum of Modern Art has expanded from video games to apps. Pioneering this new collecting category for MoMA is Björk’s Biophilia, the 2011 app-cum-album—with interactive graphics, animations, and musical scoring—designed in 2011 in collaboration with the likes of Mathias Augustyniak and Michael Amzalag of M/M Paris. We hear that the gentlemen of M/M will get the retrospective treatment at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 2016, but Björk will beat them to the multidisciplinary punch: the work of the Icelandic composer, musician, and artist will be the subject of a full-scale retrospective slated to open March 7, 2015 at MoMA, the museum announced this week.

Chief curator at large Klaus Biesenbach is drawing upon more than two decades of Björkian endeavors, including her seven full-length albums, to chronicle her career through sound, film, visuals, instruments, objects, costumes, and performance. As for the installation, which will not travel beyond MoMA, expect “a narrative, both biographical and imaginatively fictitious, cowritten by Björk and the acclaimed Icelandic writer Sjón Sigurdsson” as well as a “newly commissioned, immersive music and film experience” conceived and realized with director Andrew Huang and Autodesk.

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OK Go to Debut Latest Video at MOCA

OK Go is pulling out all of the stops for its new music video, the band’s first in more than two years. The video for “The Writing’s on the Wall,” a single from their forthcoming album Hungry Ghosts, will have its world premiere on Monday, June 16, at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (head to the Ahmanson Auditorium at MOCA Grand Avenue between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.) followed by the Tuesday release of a new EP called Upside Out, which offers up four songs from the new album “selected especially for warm air and beach days.” As for “The Writing’s on the Wall,” expect “melancholic fireworks,” according to band members Damian Kulash, Tim Nordwind, Dan Konopka, and Andy Ross, who have put together these visual morsels as a teaser for the video they’ll reveal Monday at MOCA.

Quote of Note | Jerry Saltz on Kanye West

bound 2 kw

“’Bound 2′ is certainly a piece of work—as bizarrely gonzo and creepily asexual as Jeff Koons‘s hyperrealistic 1991 paintings of himself having sex with his then-wife Cicciolina, John Currin‘s 1989 paintings of Breck girls, and Marina Abramovic’s staring at spectators at MoMA in 2010. “Bound 2” is different: a freakish act of creation and destruction by appropriation. It stars Kanye and his fiancée, Kim Kardashian, and we see (along with the two of them) wild horses running in rivers, eagles flying to the sky, sunsets, purple mountain majesties, redwood forests, and gulfstream waters. It’s a teenage girl’s bedroom’s idea of romance crossed with Richard Prince‘s Cowboy photographs, American Romanticism, Celestial Seasonings packages, shampoo commercials, Iranian music videos, Thomas Kinkaid, beer ads, Jeff Koons, The Onion, Lars von Trier, the House of Fendi, and Jeffrey Deitch and his own uncanny 1992 prophecy ‘The Freudian model of the psychological person is dissolving…freed of the constraints of one’s past.” The New Uncanny is un-self-consciousness filtered through hyper-self-consciousness, unprocessed absurdity, grandiosity of desire, and fantastic self-regard.”

-New York art critic Jerry Saltz on Kanye West‘s “Bound 2” video, directed by Nick Knight

Mark Your Calendar: Art Spiegelman and Phillip Johnston’s Wordless!

wordlessTry as we might, we can never get enough of Art Spiegelman—in the unlikely event that you disagree, treat yourself to a copy of Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps (Drawn and Quarterly). That illuminating and illuminated volume also functions as a catalogue of sorts for the Spiegelfest on view through March 23 at New York’s Jewish Museum. The outside-of-the-box comics/art fun moves from the page to the wall to the stage on Saturday, January 18, when BAM presents Wordless!. Billed as “an innovative hybrid of slides, talk, and musical performance,” the work was created by Spiegelman and jazz composer Phillip Johnston as a commission for the Sydney Opera House. Tickets are going fast. Prepare for the evening of multisensory stimulation with this Spiegelvideo from the Jewish Museum:

Karim Rashid Sings!

change the worldLook no further for your Thanksgiving dinner soundtrack, design fans, because Karim Rashid has cut an album. The globe-trotting bundle of hot-pink charisma has added electro-pop music composer to his resume with “Change the World,” released this week on iTunes. The EP, which includes three songs in eight mixtastic variations, features the vocal stylings of Rashid transmogrified through Auto-Tune and set against pulsating dance beats.

The lead track, “Nutopia,” a musing on love and design (“I fell in love one too many times / I designed one too many things”), sounds like a brooding robot’s cover of Tom Tom Club, which is to say we’ve had it playing on a loop since Tuesday. Many of the lyrics—heavy on dreams for a fluid, biomorphic world—recall Rashid’s 2001 manifesto, “I Want to Change the World,” while “Love Kolor” is a more playful pop arrangement about his chromatic obsession (rage on beige!) in a gray, gray world. Think pink!

Byron Kalet Looks to Launch Popular Noise Print Magazine

We first encountered Byron Kalet several years ago as the design- and music-savvy mind behind the Journal of Popular Noise, an experimental audio magazine (published from 2007 to 2010) that took the form of a twice-yearly trio of seven-inch vinyl records tucked inside letterpress-printed, hand-folded packaging. Now the Brooklyn-based designer, art director, and musician—who once described Seattle band Foscil, featured in JPN, as “the Dick Avedon to my Alexey Brodovitch“—is looking to launch a print magazine, Popular Noise.

The new quarterly will be about “everything but the music—life and style, places, people, and moments. All the things that go into a life worth making music about, and an exploration of how one gets from here (life) to there (music),” says Kalet, who has lined up contributing photographers including Chito Yoshida, Spencer Higgins, and Hannah Whitaker to help create “the new blueprint for how music should look.”

The debut “New York/Art”-themed issue will include some never-before-seen Avedon outtakes, a visit to Richard Phillips‘s Chelsea studio (“to find out what’s on the play list while he’s working and why”), and a lesson on the world of Black Metal academia (we have no idea what that is but are game to learn). Kalet is seeking backers for Popular Noise on Kickstarter, and t-shirts and tote bags are up for grabs along with copies of issue #1, which is slated for publication in September. Read more

Yeezus Lives! Kanye West Pops into Design Miami Basel


(Photo: Seth Browarnik for Design Miami Basel)

When last we saw Kanye West, he was wandering the tulip-lined halls of the European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF). His latest appearance on the international art circuit (Gray hoodie? Check.) was at Design Miami Basel, where, in the wee hours of Thursday morning, he gave an impromptu listening party for Yeezus. The album, due out on June 18, is expected to sell 500,000 copies in its first week of release.

Some 2,000 guests (Hans Ulrich Obrist? Check.) gathered–amidst a few Rick Owens chairs–at the center of the Herzog and de Meuron-designed Hall 1 Sud at Basel’s Messeplatz to sample West’s latest, including a track produced by Daft Punk and an a capella rendition of “New Slaves,” which includes a shout-out to Alexander Wang. The decision to appear at Design Miami Basel makes perfect sense considering that West has moved on from George Condo to…Le Corbusier. In a recent interview with Jon Caramanica of The New York Times, he pointed to architecture as influencing the pared-down vibe of Yeezus:

You know, this one Corbusier lamp was like, my greatest inspiration. I lived in Paris in this loft space and recorded in my living room, and it just had the worst acoustics possible, but also the songs had to be super simple, because if you turned up some complicated sound and a track with too much bass, it’s not going to work in that space. This is earlier this year. I would go to museums and just like, the Louvre would have a furniture exhibit, and I visited it like, five times, even privately. And I would go see actual Corbusier homes in real life and just talk about, you know, why did they design it? They did like, the biggest glass panes that had ever been done. Like I say, I’m a minimalist in a rapper’s body. It’s cool to bring all those vibes and then eventually come back to Rick [Rubin], because I would always think about Def Jam.

Watch: Gary Baseman and Die Antwoord’s ‘Buckingham Warrior’

Holocaust survivor Ben Baseman spent four years fighting off Nazis in the birch forests of what was then Poland (now part of Ukraine). Decades later, the episode inspired his son, Gary, to create the Buckingham Warrior, a “defender of strong ideals and a stark reminder to the fragility of our own ecology.” The artist, illustrator, and cult toy maker’s multi-headed deer character comes alive in a new MOCAtv animated short released to coincide with Baseman’s megashow, “The Door Is Always Open,” on view through August 18 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Directed by David Charles and animated by Peter Markowski, the allegorical tale plays out against a raging score by the South-African rap-rave duo Die Antwoord.

Quote of Note | OK Go’s Tim Nordwind on 2013

“I want this year to be the year of the DIY gadget maker. People who have really good ideas should be able to find a way to fund them through Kickstarter and other sites. OK Go’s style is very DIY. We make our own videos; we make our own records. In the beginning, our videos were made for next to nothing, but we were able to put them out there and anyone with a computer and access to the Internet could watch them. I like that style of making–just having a good idea and letting people decide whether they like or not.”

-Tim Nordwind, bassist for OK Go and Pyramids, in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal

OK Go’s most recent video, “Needing/Getting”:

Graphic Homage: John Cage Meets Offset Printing in Project by Nicholas Blechman and Friends

In 1948, John Cage paid a visit to the anechoic chamber at Harvard University, an echo-free room that had recently been built for the purpose of physics research. Surrounded by foot-thick concrete walls that bristled with sound-absorbing wedges, he had an epiphany: “I heard that silence was not the absence of sound but was the unintended operation of my nervous system and the circulation of my blood,” wrote Cage. He credited that experience, along with the white paintings of his Black Mountain College chum Robert Rauschenberg, with leading him to compose 4’33”. The composition, divided into three sections, consists of four minutes and thirty-three seconds in which the performer plays nothing. On the occasion of Cage’s 100th birthday, his most famous work gets a graphic design twist from Nicholas Blechman (art director of The New York Times Book Review), Irene Bacchi, and Leonardo Sonnoli. The trio created “Heidelberg Speedmaster” (below), an offset print interpretation of 4’33” and named for the industrial printing machine at work in the video, recorded last Friday at La Pieve Poligrafica in Rimini, Italy. Each of the composition’s three parts are also interpreted in posters designed by Blechman, Bacchi, and Sonnoli (two of the posters are pictured above). And now, your moment(s) of Zen:

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