An exhibition featuring art and media related to no wave, proto-noise band Sonic Youth opens in the Malmö Konsthall in Malmö, Sweden on May 29th. Album covers, flyers and related memorabilia will be shown alongside works made collaboratively with the band or otherwise connected to it (among the artists, Raymond Pettibon and Vito Acconci). The exhibition raises larger questions about the implications of such retrospective exhibitions—do they mark the end of an era and immortalize the glorified remembrance of it? It's funny to think of how Daydream Nation may have accidentally introduced generations of kids to Gerhard Richter, whose work was (perhaps inadvertently) exposed as reproducible and commodifiable. The Sensational Fix exhibition was collaboratively organized by Dutch curator Roland Groenenboom and the band itself. It'll be interesting to see how they fabricate their own history—whether they're made out as champions of an entire counterculture based on hardcore and DIY aesthetics rather than the unimpressively prolific mainstream darlings they have come to be.
I'll always love Sonic Youth, but something about such institutional recognition makes me uneasy. Idealistically, I don't want anyone to find out about Sonic Youth in any way except heard through their stereo.
Terence Koh (b. 1977) is a Chinese-Canadian performance and installation artist and one of the most flamboyant and intriguing art personalities since Andy Warhol. Koh’s
work, rooted in queer and punk youth culture, decadent, morbid and endlessly seductive. Koh's installations are often relics of performances, like "Captain Buddha" (2008) at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, a monochrome environment of 15 sculptural objects covered, by ritual of chanting and paint-pouring, in white paint and alluding to Captain Ahab’s fruitless search for the great white whale and juxtaposing this with motifs drawn from Zen Buddhism. The installation is disorienting, the stark whiteness almost debilitating as one struggles to re-orient themselves.It involves the visitor by imposing a certain ritual of viewing."Captain Buddha" was one of my most visceral and spiritual encounters with art.It was sublime and sardonic—but at the basest level, it was simply beautiful. A more recent, and the most controversial Koh work, is "Gone, Yet Still" a sculpture of Christ with an erection, raises issues of religion, sex, and capitalism. The emptiness of spectacle is the language of Koh’s aesthetic.It may be perverse at times, but then so is the art world these days.