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An Offbeat Gallery Show With Its Own Soundtrack
The painter Mark Ryden made his name creating distinctive, cartoonish record sleeve art, most notably for Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” album, Aerosmith’s “Love in an Elevator” single, and records by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tyler the Creator. Now he is, in a limited way, becoming a record producer as well. While assembling “The Gay 90s West,” a thematic show of his paintings based on 19th-century themes, Mr. Ryden told The Hollywood Reporter, he decided to invite some of his friends in the pop music world to contribute to an accompanying album.
The recording, not surprisingly, matches the spirit of the show. Just as his works are updated, Pop-art twists on 19th-century scenes, the album, called “The Gay Nineties Old Tyme Music,” offers several versions of “Daisy Bell” – an 1892 parlor song by Harry Dacre best known these days by its subtitle, “Bicycle Built for Two” – by performers including Katy Perry, Nick Cave and Weird Al Yankovic. (If the song has slipped your mind, here are two versions: one accompanies a video of “Memory Lane,” a diorama by Mr. Ryden; the other is the rendition by the HAL 9000 computer in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”)
Mr. Ryden’s show opened on Saturday at the Kohn Gallery, in Los Angeles, and runs through June 28. Mr. Ryden has had 999 copies of the album pressed on red vinyl, and has signed them all. They are selling for $99.99 – half the copies are available at the gallery, the other half will be sold on Mr. Ryden’s website – with the proceeds going to Little Kids Rock, a program that supports music education for disadvantaged elementary school students.
By ALLAN KOZINN