The Canadian singer and musician Grimes is also an artist, it turns out, and she’s unveiling more than a decade’s worth of her visual work in a joint online presentation with Maccarone Los Angeles and GalleryPlatform.LA, a collaborative new online initiative from sixty Los Angeles galleries.
“I made art 10, 12 years before I ever touched a keyboard,” Grimes told Bloomberg. “I see myself as a visual artist first and foremost, and I’ve always felt strange that people know me for music.”
Grimes, who was born Claire Boucher, has hinted at her visual talents in the past. She designs her own tour merchandise and the cover art for all of her albums, and she has teamed up with her brother Mac Boucher to create her music videos.
The show, titled “Selling Out,” features drawings, prints, photographs, and conceptual work, including a legal document that entitles its buyer to a percentage of her soul. Initially, Grimes toyed with the idea of pricing the work, titled Selling Out, at $10 million, but thought better of it as the world began to descend into financial collapse. The document will now be sold for the “best offer.”
The rest of the work is relatively affordable. Dealer Michele Maccarone, who also gave comedian and actor Jim Carrey his first gallery show, has priced Grimes’s manga-influenced prints at $500, in editions of 30, and ink-on-paper drawings from $2,000 to $3,000.
The exhibition also marks the fine art debut of Grimes’s digital avatar, scanned from her own body and dubbed “WarNymph.” She was inspired to create the avatar, which now has its own social media channels, as a result of her growing aversion to photoshoots. Pregnant and working to promote her fifth studio album, Miss Anthropocene, released February 21, Grimes wondered what it would be like if a digital stand-in could take on that work for her.
“WarNymph,” created with Grimes’s brother Mac, appears in a series of prints (priced at $5,000 to $15,000), and a seven-minute video, as yet unpriced. The avatar will be an ongoing project in which it ages, dies, and eventually regenerates.
Maccarone wasn’t familiar with Grime’s artwork before the two were introduced by an LA collector, but it immediately appealed to the dealer. “I have been obsessed with the idea of a hybrid genre—where artists are multi-disciplined and simultaneously working in the spaces of fine art, film, video, music, fashion and especially TECH (as one project),” said Maccarone in an email to Artnet News. “The work and in particular WarNymph really inspires me and is exactly the definition of the type of art I want to be promoting, representing, and exhibiting.”
The exhibition was conceived as a one-time collaboration between Grimes and the gallery, but Maccarone is open to continuing the relationship, and hopes to one day stage an in-person show of the work.
Grimes also made headlines earlier this month when she named her first child, with tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, X Æ A-12. This week, the couple announced that they were changing the spelling to X Æ A-XII in accordance with California law, which only permits letters, not numerals, on birth certificates.
See more work from the exhibition below.
“Grimes: Selling Out” is on view with Gallery Platform Los Angeles May 28–June 3, 2020, and Maccarone Los Angeles, May 28–August 31, 2020.
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