PRINT January 2005


Lizzi Bougatsos

Lizzi Bougatsos is the singer for Gang Gang Dance. She has curated several exhibitions, including the two-part “Indigestible Correctness” with Rita Ackermann at Participant Inc. and Kenny Schachter/Rove in 2004. She recently exhibited her artwork alongside Kim Gordon’s at Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York.

  1. ANIMAL COLLECTIVE Until recently, Sun City Girls were the band whose performances came closest to those of the Living Theater. Now Animal Collective—Avey Tare, Panda Bear, the Geologist, and the Deacon—take the cake. Tare wears a mask and crumples paper into a microphone, chanting and making sounds that leave one stranded in a muggy forest staring at the stars. The band have a childlike quality so endearing it melts your heart, and after a live show their complex melodies linger blissfully in the memory.

  2. LINDER STERLING This artist and singer from the postpunk band Ludus will knock your pants off with her sardonic humor and charm. In 2004 she opened for Morrissey, who has claimed her as a source of both genius and damage, at a festival he curated in London. She has designed album covers for the Buzzcocks and Magazine as well as for her own Danger Came Smiling and the Visit, among others. Most recently she has exhibited her work in London and Prague. I have never seen Sterling live, but she has always been a badass, drumming with bloody tampons and wearing dresses made of meat to her own record-release parties, scaring the shit out of industry types. Her singing style is a huge inspiration.

    Magazine, Real Life (Virgin, 1978). Cover art by Linder Sterling. Magazine, Real Life (Virgin, 1978). Cover art by Linder Sterling.
  3. JACK PIERSON A self-portrait of a gay man with a diva complex echoing entertainers of the past. I felt the tragedy of this Shakespearian exhibition (at Cheim & Read last winter) which included Greco-Roman-style statues, lipstick-stained Marlboros, and caked white face paint arranged in front of a dressing- room mirror. The gallery floor was a stage on which one walked as if in self-parody, while the installation had a home-decor vibe—what else should we have expected from a man with such impeccable taste?

    Jack Pierson, Down? Tired? Depressed?, 2003, charcoal wall drawing, dimensions variable. Jack Pierson, Down? Tired? Depressed?, 2003, charcoal wall drawing, dimensions variable.
  4. JACK BREWER Brewer is the lead singer of Saccharine Trust, an amazing West Coast punk band. In March 2004 they played at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in England (Sonic Youth were the curators; I played with my old band Angelblood). Brewer gave a fierce set: He kept changing his clothes and taking his hat on and off to music that sounded like Pere Ubu’s album The Modern Dance. My bandmates and I fell in love with him instantly.

  5. “FRANCIS PICABIA: SINGULIER IDÉAL” Viva the first Conceptual artist! This 2002–2003 exhibition at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris proved that Picabia, along with Duchamp and his small circle, were years ahead of their time in anticipating the future of art. My favorite pieces were his menus for the bourgeoisie showing waterskiing women basking in the privilege of their leisured lifestyles and Le Veau d’or, 1941–42, which pictures a gluttonous beast snarling at the defenceless hoarde.

     Francis Picabia, Nu (lisant) (Nude [reading]), ca. 1942–43, oil on canvas, 41 5/16 x 30". Francis Picabia, Nu (lisant) (Nude [reading]), ca. 1942–43, oil on canvas, 41 5/16 x 30".
  6. IMMORAL TALES Walerian Borowczyk’s 1974 film has four parts, the first being “The Tide,” a Godardian story of teenage voyeurism. But he really outdoes himself with the third segment, which features Picasso’s daughter Paloma as a sixteenth-century countess bent on preserving her youth and vitality by bathing in the blood of virgins. Between these two we are treated to the most incredible sequence of images ever filmed. And though the sound track is classical, the effect is akin to that of the band Ulver’s symphonic black metal.

  7. LUTZ BACHER, “SEX WITH STRANGERS” This 1986 series of appropriated and recaptioned porn images inspired me to curate exhibitions. Bacher’s works hit home on a profound psychological level and are so disturbing that one is rendered quite speechless. In 2004, the artist exhibited her brilliant “Jokes” series—in which, again, added text is used to subvert existing shots—at the now-closed American Fine Arts and paid tribute to the late, dear “Keith Richards of the Art World” Colin de Land with an exhibition at Participant Inc.

    Lutz Bacher, Sex with Strangers, 1986, image, text, and ink on canvas, 7 x 10". Lutz Bacher, Sex with Strangers, 1986, image, text, and ink on canvas, 7 x 10".
  8. BRIAN DEGRAW A painter as well as a musician, DeGraw has a side project: He plays the piano, creating concertos that are airy but nonetheless carefully structured. He’s a composer comparable to Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, or perhaps a member of Brian Wilson’s orchestra—a divine classicist. Yet he never plays the piano unaccompanied in public, only with his band (and mine), Gang Gang Dance.

  9. DONATELLA Seeing Mark Leckey’s band is like being at a Happy Mondays rave. This shit is good. Leckey’s sampling of music from the past, particularly female singers, is comparable to the brilliant MCs coming out of London right now (my favorite tracks of theirs are MIA’s “Galang Galang” and Lady Sovereign’s “Sad Ass Strippa”). I haven’t seen a band use samples with instruments live as effectively as Leckey’s in a long time.

  10. MARLENE MCCARTY’S FIRST PHOTOGRAPHS I included these voyeuristic shots, taken when the artist was only sixteen, in “Violence the true way,” the exhibition I curated at Galerie Peter Kilchmann in Zurich in 2002. Documenting the bleak interiors of punk venues littered with leftover silver trimmings or covered in garbage or graffiti, McCarty’s images recall a musical genre long since commodified but retain a youthful intensity.