Gridlines is our recurring feature about the world of visual arts, performing arts, media arts, and beyond. We’re talking about the latest and greatest (and less-than-greatest) happenings—what’s grabbing our attention, bringing us joy, piquing our curiosity, and otherwise making us stop and take note. Today’s Gridlines come from Jennifer Wray, Wex Marketing & Media Assistant.
The Cocteau Twins made quite a splash in their 1985 visit to Columbus. Video still: WBNS-TV
I’m a big fan of musician, artist, thinker, and record label honcho David Byrne. Growing up with a childhood virtually soundtracked by the Talking Heads, my affection for Byrne is long-lasting and unyielding—and yet somehow I hadn’t checked out DavidByrne.com until recently. From “DB Radio” mixes of music favorites created by the likes of Next@Wex performer Sinkane to thoughtful visual art analysis to discussions of professional musicianship in the streaming era, Byrne’s website is a must-visit.
- Let me introduce you to your newest hero: Tyler (no last name given) has done the seemingly impossible, creating a searchable archive and video playlist of MTV’s 120 Minutes. The 13-year project collected 27 years’ worth of videos, interviews and live performances featuring alternative and indie acts. Be sure to check out this Buzzfeed interview with Tyler, who started the project as a high school student in 2003.
- Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh is a successful musician and composer, not to mention visual artist—his exhibition Myopia, which was recently on view at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, will be jointly presented by the Akron Art Museum and MOCA Cleveland later this year. Over on Open Culture, you can watch the iconoclast musician play with his impressive synthesizer collection, including one given to him by Bob Moog himself.
- When Scottish dreampoppers Cocteau Twins hit Columbus back in 1985, it was a big deal. “I’m guessing that the newscaster was either a friend of the promoter, or a fan of the band himself, or both, owing to this event garnering two news reports in one week,” says a writer at Dangerous Minds, where you can find WBNS-TV clips. More recently, Simon Raymonde of the Cocateau Twins could be found diving into the most vital—and the most overlooked—records of the 1980s in the John Peel Archive, a collection of records belonging to the legendary British DJ.
- A comic book artist who bases his work on his murders. Daryl Hannah as a performance artist. A New York painter who passes on his coke addiction to a fellow cast member on “Beverly Hills 90210.” ArtInfo highlights these and other artist-cliché howlers found on television.
- ICYMI: Former Artist Residency Award recipient Josiah McElheny talks about his Projection Painting 1, which uses footage from the late filmmaker Maya Deren, on ART21.
- Meanwhile, with Cinema Revival: A Festival of Film Restoration fresh on our minds, the “CBS This Morning” feature on MoMA’s film archive seemed particularly timely. Thirty-five millimeter projectors are no longer manufactured, and there only enough spare parts to keep them going for another decade or so, so preserving celluloid works digitally is a necessity, says Dave Kehr, MoMA’s head of film preservation, describing the effort as “such a huge undertaking, it makes my head explode.”
- Speaking of film explosions, Atlas Obscura covers the combustive nature of celluloid, the original medium for most pre-1951 films, including nearly every silent movie ever made. “If celluloid combusts, which it can do at ‘car parked in the sun’ temperatures, the fire generates its own oxygen, creating a flame which cannot be extinguished. It can burn underwater. It can burn beneath a fire blanket. It burns until the celluloid is gone, and any attempt to smother it creates clouds of poison gas,” details the site. In all, there have been at least 15 archive fires due to the temperamental material, says Atlas Obscura, including one fire that destroyed every movie made by Fox before 1937.
- Bring some Brutalism to your texts with archemoji, an expansion of the “dull lot” (Curbed) of architectural options included in the Unicode standard set. Take this quiz to determine, “Which Archemoji Are You?” (I’m the Portland Building by Michael Graves.)
- “A typographic bus crash.” The critics have weighed in on The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new logo, and, well, it’s fair to say the fans are few. Visit Wired to hear the logo’s designers explain just what they were thinking.
- How the time flies. Hear from Buzzfeed on the “25 Indie Albums That Are Still Amazing 10 Years Later,” including one from former Next@Wex Fest-ers Belle and Sebastian.
- Of the many memorable moments I’ve experienced at the Wex, perhaps the one I find myself returning to most frequently is the fall 2012 screening of Keep the Lights On, introduced by Ira Sachs. It was here I was introduced to the music of the late Arthur Russell, whose music soundtracked Sachs’ poignant, semiautobiographical work (and whose “Close My Eyes,” featured on the movie’s soundtrack, has become a personal favorite). Russell died of AIDS in 1992, but his music remains resonant today. Over on The Hum, see rare video of Russell performing works by experimental composer Phill Niblock.