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Jim Drain

The best art-music crossovers

We chart the top ten harmonic unions of art and music feat. Jeremy Deller and Nate Young

It is a well established fact that tons of bands form at art school. What is interesting, is how many musicians continue to make art and artists continue to make music when they leave. David Risley’s gallery in Copenhagen is opening an exhibition This is our Music/This is our Art this Friday. The title of the show fuses album titles by Ornette Coleman, Galaxie 500 and the Soup Dragons and is also accompanied by The Gutter, a record store specialising in music by artists. Here are ten people in the show as a taster.


This artist rock group was founded by Susan Stenger in 1997. She got artists Angela Bulloch, Cerith Wyn Evans, Tom Gidley and J Mitch Flacko on board for a series of Spinal Tap ish performance gigs. Another incarnation of the group with Hussein Chalayan and Michael Clark, who composed choreography in response to the bass heavy bands, performed at Chalayan’s 2002 Paris catwalk show.


Gang Gang Dance’s Brian DeGraw had hype as an artist before he hit is big with fellow artist Lizzi Bougatsos. He is a genius with a pencil, creating some exceptional warped portrait pieces as well as ceramics, sculptures, scrawled text pieces and installations that have got him serious art world attention.


Best known as an artist, Swayne has also performed with Faust who she has toured with since 2005. Her figurative paintings, which have been exhibited at group shows at the Barbican among other places, of focus on female protagonists brimming with character.


Miami-based artist Jim Drain has made art brimming with colour from psychedelic installations to vibrant, graphic, neon knitted jumpers. He also has a whole performance arm to his practice with Forcefield, a noise band and art collective he founded with 3 other incredible artists Matt Brinkman, Ara Petersen and Leif Goldberg.


Music projects have been part of Deller’s work from the early days. From art works tracing the history of British house music to brass bands playing acid house to film and photographic projects devoted to the fan art of Depeche Mode and Manic Street Preachers, art and music are natural bedfellows in the work of Mr Deller.


The late Korean-American artist Paik, known as one of the forerunners of the use of technology in art, studied music history in Germany where he met artists Joseph Beuys and Wolf Vostell and composers John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen (wouldn't you have liked to been in that class?) Paik and Beuys made some wild music collaborations too.


Hyde is better known as being part of seminal 90s techno band Underworld. However, he studied art in Cardiff, was part of graphic design collective Tomato, and today creates large graphic abstract paintings that resemble giant scrawls and actions.


Noise band Wolf Eyes’ Nate Young, who toured with Sonic Youth among others, is also a talented visual artist. This has ranged from graphic etchings, printed in vibrant colours to detailed, delicate and disturbing drawings with a dose of the gothic.


Originally half of London art duo with Nick Relph, who’s influential video works included an exploration of British music subculture ‘House & Garage’ (2000) Oliver Payne still works primarily as an artist showing with Herald St and Gavin Brown, with a practise that has included installation based sound pieces.


No art music line up would be complete without the KLF’s Jimmy Cauty. The whole history of the KLF teetered on the border of art and music. His own artwork is full of humour and politics, with a street pop art sensibility that could only come out of Britain.