1980 Design Office

In the short story "Honeymoon Habit" Kim Gordon tells about one of her early Design Office interventions. The clients, an artist couple sharing one room on 8 Spring Street, New York, had commissioned her to change their apartment  As part of her art practice, Gordon – widely known as a founding member of the band Sonic Youth – added a small mirror and a light with a metal shade to the place and spray-painted both of them in copper. "With the two new items added to the apartment and painted a color that is simultaneously street oriented, in a defined state, and rich looking, the project will not be resolved until the clients buy a smaller refrigerator."

"Honeymoon Habit" was originally published in Real Life Magazine's 5th issue, in winter 1980. The magazine was founded and edited by artist, writer, curator, Thomas Lawson, and artist, writer, Susan Morgan as an intermittent black and white magazine. It collects significant early writing by fellow artists and writers, a loose clique of the New York artworld of the Eighties. In 2014 it got included into the book Kim Gordon, Is It My Body? Selected Texts by Sternberg Press.

Constanze Schweiger, Untitled (Große Neugasse 44), 2015
Part of Kim Gordon: Honeymoon Habit by Anne Speir and Constanze Schweiger, pinacoteca, Vienna
Photo: Thomas Ries

On the occasion of the 2014 show Design Office: Coming Soon presented by Gagosian Gallery at Fitzpatrick-Leland House, Los Angeles, Kim Gordon recounts: "Design Office began in 1980 as a way to practice art outside of the gallery system. The first projects involved friends’ apartments. D.O. was to be sort of a reflective intervention into the lifestyle of the clients. Objects and a physical change to the interior based on the personality and desires/needs of the client. The design activity was not meant to be well executed or look a certain way, have a certain look or style. If anything it was a lo-fi aesthetic using or recycling other aesthetics."


1961 Claes Oldenburg

In Claes Oldenburg's famous artist statement for the Environments, Situations, Spaces catalog (Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, 1961) he brings together an extensive list of associated forms and states that art can take in order to define vigorously his interest in the complexity of art and life. In "I am for an art that takes its form from the lines of life itself" he literally pictures a line that behaves and exists in our imagination in many diverse and familiar ways "that twists and extends impossibly & accumulates and spits and drips, and is sweet and stupid as life itself." He calls for art that one can smell or hear or smoke, that one can touch and interact with, that is a joke, that makes no sense or that eventually fulfills a function; "art you can sit on" and "art that does something other than to sit on its ass" within the context of an established art institution. Oldenburg is "for an artist who vanishes, turning up in a white cap painting signs or hallways" and "for the art of bread wet by rain."