Thursday, July 1, 2010

Laurie Anderson is bored with the avant-garde - Music News: Artists...

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Laurie Anderson is bored with the avant-garde - Music News: Artists...

Laurie Anderson is bored with the avant-garde The woman who paved the way for Lady Gaga talks about her new album, and why she really wants to be a comedian Maybe you've noticed: The mainstream isn't that mainstream anymore. This spring, hordes of tourists stopped by Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art to see performance specialists re-create artist Marina Abramovic's signature works, balancing nude on bicycle seats and lying for hours under the weight of a human skeleton. Lady Gaga, with her Madonna-on-acid videos, has laid waste to the pop charts, inspiring a wave of leather ball gowns and freakish eyewear. The avant-garde has taken over, and it all started with Laurie Anderson. The godmother of the New York art scene, Anderson and her pioneering performances loom large over contemporary artists and musicians. Before mash-up artists used their laptops to whip dance halls into a frenzy, Anderson had invented a "talking stick" to allow her to play MIDI samples onstage. Before Auto-Tune became a focal point in hip-hop battles, Anderson was using various software to manipulate her voice. Her work blends experimental composition with pop synthesizer beats, mixing the aesthetics of the gallery spaces in Chelsea with sounds from the underground jazz clubs of the Lower East Side. Nor has it ever been easy to predict Anderson's next move: During the big-haired, glam-rock, shoulder-padded 1980s, Anderson sported a sleek, androgynous look and set bizarrely lovely poetry to winding, eerie music. In the 1990s, she introduced a documentary on the history of the face before becoming a voice actor on "The Rugrats Movie." Her multimedia performances have been inspired by everything from "Moby-Dick" to NASA. This month, Anderson is releasing her first studio album in a decade, " ," written on the road about America and co-produced by her husband, Lou Reed. Salon reached Anderson on the phone to talk about gender experiments, the humor in Lady Gaga's work, and why she hates the avant-garde. You recently played a concert tuned so that The idea came to me about a year ago when I was backstage with Yo-Yo Ma. We were giving commencement speeches and sitting backstage and going, "Oh man, what are we going to say to these recent art school graduates?" I was just saying that my dream is to be playing some music and look up and see that the whole audience is dogs. And he said, "That's mine, too!" And we both said that if we ever get a chance we're going to do that. So when I was asked to curate the Vivid festival in Sydney, I asked if we could curate something for dogs and they said, "Yeah, why not?"...

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