Kim Gordon Isn’t Just a Girl in a Band

Kim Gordon

“Design Office: The City Is A Garden." © Kim Gordon, courtesy of 303 Gallery, New York. All install shots are Courtesy of 303 Gallery, New York.

While Kim Gordon is best known as a founding member of iconic rock band Sonic Youth, the musician has most recently been in the press as a writer, for her acclaimed memoir Girl in a Band, in which she recalled that she first came to New York not to be a rock star but to be an artist. “Design Office: The City Is A Garden,” her first solo show at 303 Gallery in New York, opens today. “I have the weird art career that I always wanted,” Gordon said at the preview for the show. “Maybe being a straight-up, mainstream artist is not me. I’ve had a really great year, and I’ve been super happy. There’s a certain synchronicity that’s happening.”

The exhibition is an extravagant visual experience laced with a twinkle of melancholia. A joyful green fake topiary sits in the entrance, juxtaposed with limp, painted canvases that are reminiscent of a body without a skeleton. Presiding over the exhibition is a photograph of Gordon herself in the process of painting; she dedicated the image to the late musicians Ron and Scott Asheton. Rounding off the show is a set of silver, spray-painted canvases that glitter and gleam like disco balls. Gordon transforms basic materials into crumpled entities that recall a bygone era of glamour and grit. Indeed, according to Gordon, “None of it is mainstream. I’m fine with that. That’s never really what I set out to achieve.”