Kim Gordon Talks Art, Politics and New Book at Art Basel Miami: Exclusive

Kim Gordon in 2016
Owen Kolasinski/BFA/REX/Shutterstock 

Kim Gordon photographed on Nov. 30, 2016 in Miami Beach, Fla. 

Kim Gordon moves so seamlessly between music and art, it can be difficult to keep up. But while at a Wednesday-night signing at Miami Beach’s Edition hotel for her recently-released book Noise Name Paintings and Sculptures of Rock Bands That are Broken Up, the musician and artist (who just released a new live album “No Waves” with her band Body/Head) explained how she put together her 2015 exhibition at the Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece (which she condensed into the book) and the music and art influencing her today.

Her work is also part of a short film, Best Dressed Chicken in Town, which is curated by David Gryn and on display every night from 8-10 pm through Saturday at Miami Beach’s SoundScape Park.

In putting together this book and reflecting on the exhibition, were there any moments or pieces that resonated with you?

One of the pieces was this photographic banner of a painting I did with the Stooges. I put that within the museum because to me the Stooges are cultural force in America, a whole sociological phenomenon. In Detroit, when the Stooges came up, along with MC5, it was a different tone and it was darker music than what was happening in California at that time. When Iggy wrote songs like “1969” it was this totally ironic thing, and (it showed) that underbelly of America. And now, with Trump saying “Make America Great Again,” no one ever asked him what that means. When was America great to you? The decay of Detroit and the auto industry. It seems fitting that the Stooges kind embody that feeling of the Rust Belt. The genius of Iggy is that he really embodied that.

Is there anyone today who you think embodies that underbelly? 

People like David Hammons, who is one of my favorite artists, does embody that. When I drive around LA now, there are so many homeless people, living under the freeways, and I think of him. I think of (sculptor) Cady Noland. That to me is really interesting. It’s much more eccentric and is not made in a fishbowl of intelligence or formalism. It’s not the clever and the obvious, or a punchline. You have to do the work.



You were in the art world before becoming a musician, and you’ve known people like Larry Gagosian and Cindy Sherman for a long time. How do you think the art world has changed since then?

It’s just more consumerist-oriented. Like everything else, like TV or music, there’s more of it, more content. It’s like feeding this machine of consumerism. I think it’s too much.

Are there any artists you want to see while you’re here this weekend?

I don’t really like to go to art fairs, it’s not fun for artists. But I walked around today. I like to go to the small galleries. The House of Gaga from Mexico City, I like their booth. I’m looking for the small things, it’s more about the small moments. It’s a hard way to look at art, though.