The recordings relate directly to projects by visual artists, whether as soundtracks to films or installations, as sound works in and of themselves, documenting performances, artists pursuing their own musical engagement or as members of bands. None of the records were selected solely because an artist created the cover artwork (although they have done so for releases of their own), and those chosen are all pressed on vinyl. As acknowledged by the books introduction, Put the Needle to the Groove, no CDs or cassettes are included in the show. Its title, taken from the 1978 album by British punk band Buzzcocks, plays off the idea that the studio of every artist is a recording studio, “a different kitchen.” There is also a personal reference for Nickas, who had seen many bands and performances at the The Kitchen in Soho in the late ’70s/early ’80s.
In that time of punk, post-punk and no wave, many artists were in bands or collaborated with them, and a democratic feeling came to the fore, a more level playing field. Whether or not you believed that anyone can be an artist, it was clear that anyone—no prior experience required—could be in a band. In an important parallel, not everyone could afford to buy art, but a record, encoded with sonic information, the ultimate fetish object you held in your hand, was well within reach.
Artists/bands represented by way of the records in the exhibition:
A Band, Vito Acconci/New Humans, Rita Ackermann/Jutta Koether, Richard Aldrich, Kai Althoff, Art & Language with the Red Crayola, Darren Bader, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Thomas Bayrle/Bernhard Schreiner, David Bellingham, Harry Bertoia, Carol Bove, Luke Calzonetti/Albert Oehlen, Bonnie Camplin, Rutherford Chang, Billy Childish, Tony Conrad with Faust, Tony Conrad/Angus Maclise/Jack Smith, Bjorn Copeland, Martin Creed, Hanne Darboven, Vaginal Davis, Jeremy Deller, Destroy All Monsters, DJ Sid with Sylvie Fleury, Jean Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, Mark Flood, Forcefield, Terry Fox, Katharina Fritsch, Poul Gernes, John Giorno/Ugo Rondinone, Jack Goldstein, Kim Gordon, Rodney Graham, Richard Hamilton and Dieter Roth, James Hoff, Lonnie Holley, Arthur Jafa, Chris Johanson, Allan Kaprow, Mike Kelley, Martin Kippenberger, Christopher Knowles, Jutta Koether/Steven Parrino, William Leavitt, Mark Leckey, Le Tigre (Sadie Benning, Johanna Fateman, Kathleen Hanna), Servane Mary, Adam McEwen, Paul McMahon, Jason Moran, Bruce Nauman, Dennis Oppenheim, Kristin Oppenheim, Virginia Overton, Charlemagne Palestine, Steven Parrino, Oliver Payne/Brian Degraw, Raymond Pettibon, Policeband, Seth Price, Stephen Prina, Richard Prince, RAMMELZEE, Lee Ranaldo and Leah Singer, Allen Ruppersberg, Jim Shaw, Xaviera Simmons, Steven Stapleton, Wolfgang Tillmans, Cosey Fanni Tutti, UJ3RK5 (Rodney Graham, Jeff Wall, Ian Wallace), Andra Ursuta, Don van Vliet, Lawrence Weiner, David Wojnarowicz, B. Wurtz, XXX Macarena (Tony Conrad, Jutta Koether, John Miller), Y Pants