It's a Stitch Up!

The integration of folk art into contemporary art practice has been notably growing over the last two decades. Interestingly, conceptually oriented craft practices, have also adopted folk art as a way to articulate contemporary concerns from global labour to identity politics. So what’s the story here? Is there a nostalgia for the “make do and…

Lepers and Roses

It started out releasing Esperanto recordings, and quickly became renowned as a crucible of unmediated ’60s free jazz, but New York City’s ESP-Disk’ label also berthed a tranche of gloriously singular leftfield psych-folk artists. In this adapted extract from her forthcoming book, Seasons They Change: The Story Of Acid And Psychedelic Folk, Jeanette Leech delves deep into…

Bringing It All Back Home

Irony and Nostalgia in the Album Sleeves of Bob Dylan, 1962-80 In the 2007 movie I’m Not There, director and co-writer Todd Haynes uses the device of having different actors play Dylan-like fictional characters to tell the story of Bob Dylan’s career. The narrative of the movie mostly relates to the period 1962 to the…

Upping the Anti

The ‘anti-folk’ movement was started by disgruntles young New York City musician, frozen out of mid-’80s Greenwich Village folk venues for being ‘too punk’. In subsequent years it became a global underground trend defined less by the nature of the music than by a noble, knowing, DIY approach and an insouciant attitude to the mainstream…

Lost and Found

Ólöf Arnalds, Cafe Oto, London. 15th April 2010 Her timing could have been better. On the very day that the Eyjafjallajökull volcano spews an ash cloud big enough to close down every British airport for over a week, Icelander Ólöf Arnalds plays her first London concert. Her “sorry about that”, raises a roar of laughter from…

A Real Romantic

It’s been 18 years since Karen Kilimnik first showed in London, when her work was included in True Stories (1992) at the ICA. Her small, sometimes eccentric-looking paintings often seemed overshadowed by the John Currin/ Elizabeth Peyton crowd of that era; but since then, she’s had knockout shows at the South London Gallery (2000) and…

Goo album cover, artwork by Raymond Pettibon - © The artist and Sonic Youth

Art Rockers

Five artists who have rocked with Sonic Youth As told to Hardeep Phull Richard Kern Lee Ranaldo: “We were turned onto him in our early period – around 1984 or 1985. He was working on the same kind of indie scale as we were and he had a fascination with gore films. He was doing…

Let’s Wrestle

In The Court Of The Wrestling Let’s (Stolen) The drummer is a punk (in the old fashioned way: bondage keks, leather jacket and short Mohican). The bass player is a dandy with big shades and extravagant hand gestures. The singer/guitarist doesn’t really exist in the world at all until standing on a stage, where he…

Just a Million Dreams

‘Keep those dreams burnin forever’, sand Alan Vega in ‘Dream Baby Dream’, an impassioned entreaty to the romantic urge recorded by his pioneering electronic band, Suicide, three decades ago. Now 71, the redoubtable singer and ‘light sculptor’ is still pushing inexorably forward. Here, he reveals just how he sets about fashioning transcendent music and artworks…

Serge of Pleasure

He drank, he smoked, he loved and he took orgasmic moaning to the top of the UK singles charts. Yet Serge Gainsbourg’s aptitude for the sensual was more profound, and more subversive, than his enduringly lubricous reputation suggests. Peter Wix penetrates the myth behind the mean who gave the world ‘Je T’aime… Moi Non Plus’.…