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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)

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” (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)

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.

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Zack Sigel

Zack Sigel is a screenwriter and occasional music journalist living in Brooklyn. His work explores esoteric themes like metal music and medieval history with an eye toward class consciousness and social...

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