Wednesday evening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Lana Del Rey walked into the Resnick pavilion and took a look at Lana watched, a new painting by the artist Jenna Gribbon inspired by the singer’s 2012 album, Born to die. Del Rey stared at the painting, mesmerized. On the canvas, her face was projected onto a screen, and in the foreground in the painting was a nude seated woman seen from behind, looking at the projection. The woman who watched the pop star was Gribbon’s partner, the singer-songwriter Torres. Just then, another museum visitor slipped along.
“Ahhh!” Del Rey said, turning to see who it was. “Jimmy!”
It would be Jimmy Iovine, the legendary record producer and music executive who co-founded Beats by Dre, served as an executive at Apple Music, and became a mega-rich art collector and education philanthropist along the way. On Wednesday, Iovine was on hand as the founder of Interscope Records, which celebrated its 30th anniversary with “Artists Inspired by Music: Interscope Reimagined,” a show at LACMA for a few weeks, in which leading contemporary artists—Rashid Johnson, Damien Hirst, Ed Ruscha, Henry Taylor, Stanley Whitney, Kehinde Wiley, and more, reimagined albums from the label’s historic catalog.
During the private opening, the members of No Doubt took photos with Lucia Bull, the artist who transformed sunburst ska-punk from tragic kingdom into a citrus-tinted abstract painting, while Steve Berman, the longtime executive of Interscope Eminem used as comedy film, led The game on a large canvas by the autodidact Mr Wash, who learned to paint during a two-decade prison sentence commuted by president obama in 2016. Shepard Fairey explained to Karen O and Nick Zinner Yeah Yeah Yeahs how he directed their album Fever to tell through his street-art-gone-pop sensibilities. Jared Leto— who, if you recall, was part of Interscope-signed band Thirty Seconds to Mars before winning an Oscar and starring as The Joker — stopped by to kick it off with the label’s current chief John Janick. Billie Eilish posted online with works by Cecily Brown, Lisa Yuskavage, and Anna Park, all inspired by his music. Olivia Rodrigue dutifully filed an Instagram missive from LACMA to its 21 million followers, posing in front of a Henry Alftan painting made in reaction to the cover of the singer’s hit record in 2021 Sour.
“It will bring a different audience to the museum”, director of LACMA Michael Govan said to me, standing by the leader of Nine Inch Nails Trent Reznor. “Most exhibits take years to plan, and it went pretty quickly from start to finish. I just try to keep the show schedule flexible so we can disrupt everyone from time to time.
And then Govan was taken to meet Omar Rachid, the artist who shot Tupac Shakur me against the world in a painting with the late rapper as a laser-eyed hero surrounded by a mix of halo-headed angels, a baby blue Cadillac and a black boom box. The year-long process of putting together a show of new works from the world’s most in-demand artists catering to musical artists was handled almost entirely in-house. Iovine, Janick, Berman and Josh Abraham— another music executive and collector with a bona fide in the Los Angeles art world — did A&R but for painters, not rappers. The idea came at the beginning of 2021, when Justin Lubliner, a rising star who signed Eilish in 2016, and whose company Darkroom is partnering with Interscope, suggested some sort of crossover event with the art world.
“He said, ‘Why not, for the 30th anniversary, get the musical artists and the visual artists, and they can do the album covers,’ Iovine told me on Tuesday. It was a hot January morning. , and Iovine sat on the sunny 75-degree terrace of a palm-dotted Beverly Hills hotel, wearing green socks with loafers, a vintage LA Raiders shirt under a leather jacket, a plain white beanie and a chain. He ordered green tea and told the staff to turn the music down.