Can You Hear Me? Music Labels by Visual Artists

May 19 - June 12, 2016
6:00-8:00 PM

Join us for the opening of Can You Hear Me? Music Labels by Visual Artists, with a special solo performance by Walter Steding.

Can You Hear Me?, organized by Francesco Spampinato, is a survey of material from record labels founded and run by visual artists. The exhibition reflects on the way these extra-artistic activities contribute to redefining the role of the contemporary artist as a catalyst of intellectual energies and producer of cultural processes at large. Moreover, it tries to understand if and how these activities challenged the art world’s static and modern perception of art and art works. The exhibition was first shown at Onomatopee (Eindhoven, Netherlands) in 2015.

Spanning 1980 to 2015, the exhibition (and accompanying book) celebrate the contemporary artist as a multi-faceted producer of collaborative projects. The highlighted labels have released a dynamic spectrum of activities in and outside the art world and remained untouched by its unwritten capitalist code, attempting to develop alternative forms of cultural production and attract new audiences.

Since the nineties, major artists such as Mike Kelley, Albert Oehlen, John Armleder, Carlos Amorales, Carsten Nicolai, Chicks on Speed, and Seth Price started their own record labels. Empowered by the D.I.Y. ethic and the opportunities of the independent music and artists’ “publications” market, they put their individual experience as visual artists at the service of hybrid, often collaborative operations. Even in the era of the dematerialisation of music, most of these artists have continued to release vinyl records and CDs, promote bands, and produce parties and tours.

This project zooms in on 25 record labels from Europe, the United States and Mexico, touching upon their position in a wider tradition of independent music, art rock and artists’ mock enterprises; their performative features; their collective and participative nature; and the D.I.Y. ethos embodied in the production of records and ephemera. As a direct extension of the book, the exhibition presents original artworks, records, ephemera, videos, and rare archival treasures.

Artists Chris Johanson and Johanna Jackson have created a new limited edition exhibition poster for the show.  Each work is produced on thick stock paper, and includes a painted hand-cut record and cardboard stylus with brass fastener, as well as individually cut/glued text on color paper.  Each copy is unique, dated and signed on front by Chris Johanson and Johanna Jackson, produced in an edition of 50. Available here.

RECORD LABELS FEATURED Arcangel Surfware, Avant/Savant, Awesome Vistas, Beige Records, Chicks on Speed Records, Compound Annex, D.S. al Coda, Decemberism, Distributed History, Duchess Archive, Earhole Productions, Elektro Music Department, Hyena, Kalup Linzy Studio, Leiterwagen, Make it Happen, Musicsystem, Nuevos Ricos, raster-noton, Synchronic, Tartown Record Co., Teenage Teardrops, Villa Magica, Von Archives, and Wierd.

ARTISTS FEATURED Carlos Amorales, Cory Arcangel, John Amrleder and Sylvie Fleury, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Johanna Billing, Matthew Brannon, Chicks on Speed, Paul B. Davis, Destroy All Monsters, Cali Thornhill Dewitt, Dexter Sinister, DJ Spooky, Chris Johanson, Mike Kelley, Kalup Linzy, Lucy McKenzie, Carsten Nicolai, Albert Oehlen. Daniel Pflumm, Seth Price, Pieter Schoolwerth, SUPERFLEX, Mika Tajima, Nico Vascellari, Andy Warhol, and Alex Waterman.

 Francesco Spampinato is a contemporary art and visual culture historian, writer and artist. He holds degrees from the University of Bologna and Columbia University, New York, and is currently Ph.D. candidate in Arts et Média at Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris. He is Adjunct Professor at Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, where he teaches courses on contemporary art history and theory and on performance art. He has also taught at NABA, Milan, and Parsons School of Design, The New School, New York. He is the author of Come Together: The Rise of Cooperative Art and Design, Princeton Architectural Press 2015. Lives and works in New York.

  1. Stefan Marx and Sun Foot
    The Rain Song 7", 2012
    New York, NY: Printed Matter Inc., 2012
  2. IS
    San Francisco, CA: Awesome Vistas, 2008
    Out of stock
  3. IS
    Alright, Alright
    San Francisco, CA: Awesome Vistas, 2011
  4. Thee Oh Sees
    Peanut Butter Oven
    San Francisco, CA: Awesome Vistas, 2008
    Out of stock
  5. New Humans
    Super Loco
    Lausanne, Switzerland: Circuit, 2010
    Out of stock
  6. New Humans
    Circuit 4: Undercover [Unsigned]
    Brooklyn, NY: New Humans and Circuit, 2007
    size unknown
  7. Michaela Meise
    Michaela Meise Slipmat
    New York, NY: Mixed Media Recordings, 2014
    Out of stock
  8. Cory Arcangel
    24 Dances for the Electric Piano
    New York, NY: Arcangel Surfware, 2013
    Out of stock
  9. Vito Acconci
    Ten Packed Minutes
    New York, NY: Electric Arts Intermix, 1977
    size unknown
    Out of stock
  10. the Brooklyn Queens Expressway and Alex Waterman
    A Ballad Of Accounting
    New York, NY: A. Waterman and D.S. al Coda Records, 2010
  11. Seth Price
    8-4 9-5 10-6 11-7
    Distributed History, 2007
    Out of stock
  12. Odwalla88
    Earth Flirt
    Los Angeles, CA: Ooga Booga, 2015
    Out of stock

  13. Songs On Conceptual Art
    Portland, OR: Awesome Vistas, Teenage Teardrops and Marriage Records, 2012
    Out of stock
  14. Destroy All Monsters, Mike Kelley, Jim Shaw, Cary Loren, Jeff Fields, Kalle Nemvalts and John Reed
    Double Sextet
    New York, NY: Printed Matter Inc., 2009
    Out of stock
  15. Seth Price
    Army Jacket
    Brooklyn/Los Angeles, NY/CA: Dais Records and Petzel Gallery, 2012
    Out of stock
  16. Seth Price
    Folklore U.S. [CD]
    Distributed History
    Out of stock
  17. Lucky Dragons
    Ooga Booga Bongo Music
    Los Angeles, CA: Teenage Teardrops, May 2016
    Out of stock
  18. Aska Matsumiya and Butchy Fuego
    Los Angeles, CA: Teenage Teardrops, 2010

  19. Blasting Voice
    Los Angeles, CA: Teenage Teardrops, 2012
    Out of stock
  20. Lucky Dragons
    Brooklyn, New York: Swill Children, 2012
    Out of stock