Fresh out of the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, Kim Gordon hitched a ride to New York with fellow artist Mike Kelley. By 1981, she had founded the band Sonic Youth with her now ex-husband Thurston Moore. “I was interested in the lo-fi take on popular culture that Andy Warhol represented,” Gordon told me recently. “Playing in a group was also an escape from dealing with how to have a career as a visual artist.” Still, she never stopped pursuing her first love, inviting Gerhard Richter and Kelley to do album covers, making her own installations and paintings, and commissioning video works (including Phil Morrison’s 1995 “faux-Godardian video” for Gordon’s X-Girl fashion line, starring a then unknown Chloë Sevigny). A survey of Gordon’s artistic output is on view at White Columns in New York (September 7–October 19).
“Paradoxically, her art is the least well known of her activities,” says the show’s curator, Matthew Higgs. “Yet it’s at the root of everything she does.” Her recent work includes paintings of other people’s tweets—one reads, “Pretend Jeff Koons Is an Artist”— and paintings made on miniskirts using tights as paintbrushes. “I don’t really think of myself as a musician,” Gordon said. “I know that sounds silly, but I’ve always been more of a visual thinker.” See for yourself.
Photos: courtesy of Kim Gordon