William S. Burroughs
An alternative story of contemporary culture, of teenager rebellion, the restlessness of youth, of the craving for fame and the search for identity, gender roles, sexuality, and religion. Objects like record covers, posters, video films, text documents, T-shirts, and visual artists, filmmakers, designers, writers, and musicians. Works by artists who were active in the New York art scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s are combined in the show with works by succeeding generations of artists who were in close contact with the band. They include Vito Acconci, Dan Graham, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, John Miller, Christian Marclay, Gerhard Richter, Tacita Dean... Curated by Roland Groenenboom.
curated by Roland Groenenboom
The exhibition is devoted to the activities of the experimental guitar band Sonic Youth, which profoundly influenced style in the music and art scene from its founding in 1981. In close collaboration with Sonic Youth, the show has been planned by the Dutch curator Roland Groenenboom and produced by the Museion in Bolzano and LiFE in St. Nazaire. The show tells an alternative story of contemporary culture, of teenager rebellion, the restlessness of youth, of the craving for fame and the search for identity, gender roles, sexuality, and religion. Objects like record covers, posters, video films, text documents, T-shirts, musical instruments, and photographs show the close ties between the music group and visual artists, filmmakers, designers, writers, and musicians.
The exhibition focuses on projects spanning the boundaries between music and the visual arts in the New York of the early 1980s. Punk and atonal noise rock then inspired artists like Robert Longo, Richard Prince, Lee Ranaldo, and Kim Gordon to play in bands which performed in galleries and lofts. Since that time, Sonic Youth has successfully combined the rebellious attitude of punk with experimental music and concept art.
Works by artists who were active in the New York art scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s are combined in the show with works by succeeding generations of artists who were in close contact with the band. They include Vito Acconci, Dan Graham, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Wilhelm Sasnal, John Miller, Christian Marclay, Tony Oursler, Richard Kern, Patti Smith, Jutta Koether, Gerhard Richter, Tacita Dean, and Rita Ackermann.
At the beginning of the 1980s, Sonic Youth performed for the first time on the West Coast. For many artists, the West Coast society of the late 1960s was an important point of departure for their creative work. Works by such artists as Mike Kelley, Mark Gonzales, Spike Jonze, Todd Haynes, Dave Markey, Raymond Pettibon, and Cameron Jamie confronted the glamorous world of Hollywood with the sort of aggressiveness that was embodied in the Manson Family commune and Californian hardcore punk.
Another key theme of the exhibition is the band’s experience on tour. Very early on, the group had rented a vehicle to enable them to perform outside the New York music scene. The “on-the- road” feeling is reflected in their music and their art projects. The works on show are thus also concerned with suburban life, wanderlust, and the wide horizons of the North American West. Also on show are a selection of flyers, fan magazines, and underground texts from Thurston Moore’s collection. They include works by Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, D.A. Levy, John Cage, Glenn Branca, and others.
Finally, in a pavilion designed by Dan Graham, music from the Sonic Youth archives, Graham’s own live recordings, and other audio material are presented. In addition, publications, as well as films, video clips and shots of live appearances and performances on the history of music over the past 30 years can be viewed.
This comprehensive project is being presented jointly by the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf and KIT – Kunst im Tunnel, the only opportunity to see it in Germany. The exhibition has already been staged in the Museion in Bolzano and the LiFE in St. Nazaire. From mid-May it will be moving to the Konsthall in Malmö (Sweden).
A comprehensive exhibition catalogue has been prepared by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walter König. It is available in German, Italian, French, and English. In addition to interviews, catalogue texts, and archival material, the catalogue includes two vinyl singles. Each of the four sides is devoted to the work of one member of the band.
Press and PR
Dirk Schewe Tel.: +49 (0)211 - 8996256 Fax: +49 (0)211 - 8929576 firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening friday 30 january at 7pm
Grabbeplatz 4 - Dusseldorf
Opening Times: Tue - Sat, noon - 7pm,
Sundays and public holidays 11am - 6pm
Entry Fees: EUR 5.50, EUR 3.50 with concession
Groups (10 or more) EUR 3.50
Free entrance for visitors under age 18 and disabled persons