View more photos in the Rock, Paper, Scissor slideshow.
This was a really cool weekend for those of us interested in the convergence of music and art, and whether some of the better-known musician/artists can stand alongside masters of the visual. To wit: can members of Sonic Youth paint? How does their work compare with such masters as Raymond Pettibon and Ron English?
The Rock, Paper, Scissors show at the Robert Berman Gallery in Bergamot Station in Santa Monica drew a mass of people to its Saturday night opening. Crowds hopped up on free vodka and Shepard Fairey's DJ skillz (Pixies, M.I.A., the Clash) crammed into Berman's gallery to appreciate the art, then, facing claustrophobia, poured back out into the parking lot for more booze and music.
The art on the walls was stunning; after a run-through of the galleries, it seemed pretty clear that to dismiss the musicians as wannabe “artistes” was to miss the point. None of the paintings would have seemed of place at any fancy LA opening. Indeed, if we weren't flat broke and getting poorer, we'd have dropped a few grand.
The lanky, odd-duck Raymond Pettibon was a treat with his band the Nichemakers the next day, as they performed in a benefit for the Santa Monica Museum of Art. Armed with a manila folder packed with song lyrics/scribblings, Pettibon half-sang, half-spoke words as musicians crafted wandering guitar rock behind him.
For his part, English provided lyrics that his band, Ron English's Electric Illuminati, performed. This was a little less successful than his visual art; invoking odd structures and meandering melodies, the songs were less engaging than the words, for sure.
It was also exciting to see two of America's best bassists (both of whom are the perfect blend of ballhog and tugboat), Mike Watt and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, shoot the shit before the show. Above, Watt and the
Secondmen Missingmen (including the amazing Tom Watson, ex of Slovenly, on guitar).
Pettibon's mural took up a big chunk of one wall.
And Daniel Johnston's endlessly fascinating ouevre is become more impressive as the years go by.