To some, art and music may seem like worlds apart, but creative collaborations between the two have proven invaluable to artists of both the visual and auditory kind, giving commercially-inclined musicians an aura of intellectuality and artists some much appreciated mass exposure. Yesterday, Lady Gaga revealed that Jeff Koons has created a sculpture of her for the cover of her latest album, ARTPOP. In the late 1960’s Andy Warhol was one of the pioneers in such collaborations thanks to his involvement with The Velvet Underground. He not only choreographed their shows with film projections and designed their album cover art but he also managed the band for many years, even introducing German singer Nico to the scene.
Now plenty of singers are jumping on the art bandwagon; from Lady Gaga with her outlandish designer outfits to Kanye West with his 2007 collaboration with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, who was responsible for the cover of the ‘Graduation’ album as well as the music video to ‘Good Morning’. More questionable pairings have of late also included the six hour long live rap and dance performed by Jay Z and grandmother of performance art Marina Abramovic.
I still reserve much admiration for Bjork who is always pushing the envelope in her songs as well as her artistic involvement. Some notable exhibits of such are her notoriously bizarre music videos like the Eiko Ishioka directed ‘Cocoon’ where the singer is engulfed in a shiny red web as well as her album covers shot by the greats of photography like Nick Knight and Ineez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin. And how could I not mention the hair-raising film project Drawing Restraint 9, an abstract critique of Japanese culture, which she worked on with artist husband Matthew Barney.
And while it may take me some time to get my head around some of the more alternative collaborations (though I did have a Brazilian friend who couldn’t get enough of Bjork’s whale songs…), I appreciate the artistry that goes into the creation of something meant to challenge the norm.