Art

A Poetic Response to Kim Gordon’s Art Using Only Sonic Youth Lyrics

Installation view, Kim Gordon's 'Design Office: The City Is a Garden' at 303 Gallery, 2015 (image courtesy 303 Gallery)
Installation view, Kim Gordon’s ‘Design Office: The City Is a Garden’ at 303 Gallery, 2015 (image courtesy 303 Gallery)

Editor’s note: Kim Gordon, one of the co-founders of the indie rock band Sonic Youth, currently has an art exhibition on view at 303 Gallery called Design Office: The City Is a Garden. The following is a response to the show composed entirely of lyrics from Sonic Youth’s influential 1988 album, Daydream Nation.

Rain King,
It’s 1963.
I see with a glass eye / the pavement view / I wanna know / I think I ought to go
Everybody’s talkin’ bout the stormy weather / See a falling snow girl walking Broadway
You could be a star / it ain’t hard / She’s not thinking about the future;

Kim Gordon, “Ladies of the Paradise #1” (2015), spray paint, glitter, medium on canvas, aqua-resin and fiberglass, 70 x 51 x 6 in (photo by Alex Shaw)
Kim Gordon, “Ladies of the Paradise #1” (2015), spray paint, glitter, medium on canvas, aqua-resin and fiberglass, 70 x 51 x 6 in (photo by Alex Shaw)

It’s 1962.
A sailboat explosion / The atmosphere re-entry / Silver Rocket / Let’s go walkin’ on water
Tell me Joni / am I the one / to see you through? / Turns the corner at 14 and I know there’s no way
We can’t see clear / It made me feel very up to date / Out front were the big machines / I can’t forget the flashing
I wanna know / I think I better go / In this broken town can you still jack in / And know what to do?
Steel and rusty now / I guess / The sending and the bending / It better work out / I hope it works out my way
The sky is ours / dark stains on his pants / Out back was the river / And I’ll know she’ll be okay by someday;

It’s 1957.
Does “fuck you” sound simple enough? / It looks pretty good to me / To see me / Takin’ in the sun in an exaltation to you
Rain King in chains has nowhere to go / Enough to make him blush around the bone / Can’t forget the smashing / A shadow forming / across fields rushing
His jetstream daydream cocksure hardluck show / Lookin’ for a ride to your secret location / We couldn’t find it in the van at all / we were wondering if you looked in that trash can
And that big sign on the road / Eliminator Jr. / A snap of electric whipcrack / Magic monkey friend / There it goes again;

Kim Gordon, “Bauhaus Inspired Living.com” (2014), acrylic on gessoed canvas with aqua-resin and fiberglass, 13 1/2 x 34 x 51 1/2 inc (photo by Alex Shaw)
Kim Gordon, “Bauhaus Inspired Living.com” (2014), acrylic on gessoed canvas with aqua-resin and fiberglass, 13 1/2 x 34 x 51 1/2 inc (photo by Alex Shaw)

I think I’ve been there once before.

Cuz it’s gettin’ kinda quiet in my city’s head / See flashing eyes / Pontiac doorknob tent / The world is dull / but not today
Daydreaming days in a daydream nation / TV amp on fire blowin’ in the hall / You can buy some more & more & more & more / You can buy some more & more & more & more
Last night’s dream was a talking baby wizard / That’s clear enough / that’s what’s important / I totalled another amp / I’m callin’ in sick / I grew up in a shotgun row;

You could be a star / you could go far / She’s not spinning her wheels / I can’t see anything at all / I need three years to clear these thoughts / She doesn’t think at all about the past / Something tells me there’s so much more;

But what we see is alright / when we threw out that trash / man… with the bag in yr hand / did you dump it?

Kim Gordon discussing her work at the exhibition opening, June 4, 2015 (photo by Zack Sigel)
Kim Gordon discussing her work at the exhibition opening, June 4, 2015 (photo by Zack Sigel)

It’s an anthem in a vacuum on a hyperstation / Forget the future / these times are such a mess / Keeps a steel drum wedding ring / His mind a countdown / his daylight sparks;

Spirit desire / All I see is me
Dreamin’ of a pitchfork kiss / We will fall
It’s time to go
It’s 1964.

Kim Gordon’s Design Office: The City Is a Garden continues at 303 Gallery (507 W 24th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan) through July 24.

comments (0)