Los Angeles County Museum of Art
On view January 30-February 13th
Article by Cathy Breslaw
January 27, 2022
Beginning on January 30th, LACMA opens Artists Inspired by Music: Interscope Reimagined, an exhibition generated by the Los Angeles record label Interscope in collaboration with LACMA Associate Curator Staci Steinberger, on the occasion of their 30th anniversary highlighting some of the most famous and grammy winning musical artists of recent generations.
As Interscope co-founder Jimmy Iovine commented: Interscope’s original mission was to find the most profound artists, empower their creativity and watch what happens. We wanted to continue that vision by assembling the most admired visual artists and empower them with that same creative license to honor the musical artists we have worked with for over three decades.
The exhibition brings together 50 new works made by 46 diverse artists including: Shepard Fairey, Damien Hirst, Ed Ruscha, Takahashi Murakami, Kehinde Wiley, Julie Curtiss, Stanley Whitney, Cecily Brown, Lauren Halsey, Rashid Johnson and more. Interscope execs invited these artists to select albums and songs from their catalogue and fostered conversations with musicians to generate resonant pairings. Artists drew upon albums by Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, No Doubt, Tupac Shakur, Black Eyed Peas, Dr. Dre, Billie Eilish, Nine Inch Nails, Lana Del Rey, BLACKPINT Gwen Stefani, Snoop Dog, U2 and others.
Among the works is a portrait painting of Dr. Dre – in golden armor and surrounded by flowers and greenery by Kehinde Wiley who also previously painted the portrait of Barack Obama. Lemar’s Good Kid, m.AA.d city record inspired visual artist Rashid Johnson’s mosaic-like artwork. Also among the albums that inspired work were Gaga’s Joanne and Fame Monster, Lana Del Rey’s Norman Fucking Rockwell, Paradise and Born to Die, BLACKPINK’S The Album, Nine Inch Nails’ Broken, Selena Gomez’s Rare, and Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D.
Throughout art history artists have cited music as a source of inspiration, capturing the rhythm of sound through color and form and transforming music into their art. The 20th century Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky translated the music he heard into rhythmic oil and watercolor paintings through the use of line, color, texture and shape.
LACMA’s CEO Michael Govan comments: There is a long history of record album covers being designed by visual artists. As an institution that has long explored the intersection of art and other sectors, including design and music, LACMA has been collecting record album designs over the past several years, and it’s inspiring to see these artists reinterpret three decades of iconic contemporary music.
Also collaborating with this exhibition is Snapchat who is providing AR experiences that allow visitors to hear the music they view along with the artworks. The artworks from a diverse group of artists are responding to albums and songs from some of the record label’s biggest and most influential groups, rappers and singers. The show runs only 2 weeks through February 15th. Local ABC Channel 7 shares a short video about the exhibition HERE.