keeping up with kim gordon

As she launched her latest limited edition vinyl release, we caught up with the godmother of grunge to talk art, fashion, and why she’s never slowing down.

by Emily Manning
|
25 June 2015, 4:15pm

Last night, a casual squad gathered in the penthouse of the New York Edition Hotel to celebrate the launch of Kim Gordon's newest LP, Music for Inversions: A Live Ballet by Nick Maus. Back in October, the former Sonic Youth bassist and vocalist was commissioned to score Maus' Frieze Art Fair ballet performance.

"The performance was based on a ballet by one of Rudolf Nureyev's sisters that's regarded as one of the first avant-garde ballets," Gordon said of the project. "The idea was that something would always be going on in the Frieze space, so myself and another performer [Juliana Huxtable, who read poetry] were asked to contribute texts and perform twice a day at certain times that overlapped with the ballet." In addition to providing the ballet's score, Gordon also penned a text "based on the experience of walking into an art fair, becoming delirious and engaging in inner dialogue," which accompanies the limited edition vinyl LP. "The vinyl is really just an artifact, a culmination of what I did for the ballet rather than just a strict score."

But of course she was never going to stop at a score. Even when Sonic Youth was at the height of its fame in the mid 90s, Gordon was forming side projects, co-directing music videos with Spike Jonze, contributing to gallery exhibitions, and designing a clothing line. Since the group's effective disbanding in 2011, the godmother of grunge has been even busier. You probably read her memoir, Girl in a Band, or the insightful forward she contributed to longtime homegirl Chloë Sevigny's Rizzoli monograph.

Right now, Gordon's got two major solo shows open at New York's 303 Gallery and the Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece. The former, Design Office: The City Is A Garden, explores the massive changes New York's public landscapes have undergone. "It's a response to the idea of beautifying the city. I guess it started with Mayor Bloomberg, but parks have kind of sprung up everywhere. The city's become friendlier, but friendlier to consumers and people buying condos." As we looked out of the Edition's wraparound windows over Madison Square Park — a hub for burnouts and degenerates in the 70s that's now home to families spending hours in line for Shake Shack — it's easy to see what she means.

Even though Gordon's legendary line X-Girl was sold to a Japanese company in 98, its influence is still strongly felt in fashion and feminism. For its fall/winter 15 ode to Spike Jonze's earliest archival shots, Opening Ceremony not only used Gordon's face on thick knits and baggy-ish pants, but remixed the line's logo, too. "It's so interesting how it's really hung on," Gordon laughed, just before I showed her my iPhone background: Sonic Youth eating a giant watermelon on The Simpsons. No matter where you look, Gordon's creative spirit will always be felt. 

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Text Emily Manning
Getty Images for New York EDITION

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