From the “true” video clip commissioned from an artist by a pop star (or musician friend) to an artistic practice suffused with a pop aesthetic and sensibility, the connections between the visual arts and music are manifold and often very close: many visual artists are also musicians. A memorable event here at the Musée was the concert given by the Rodney Graham Band, in October 2006, for the opening of the exhibition Rodney Graham.

As far back as the late 1970s, Graham joined with Jeff Wall and Ian Wallace to form UJ3RK5, a “new-wave-art-rock” group that grew to cult status on the Canadian music scene. Around the same time, Robert Longo, leader and guitarist with the Menthol Wars, was playing the New York clubs with Richard Prince. Tony Oursler was part of the Poetics with Mike Kelley; Oursler also performed with the noisy, post-rock band Sonic Youth.

Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist sang and played with the group Les Reines Prochaines from 1988 to 1994. In the latter year, Martin Creed, who went on to win the Turner Prize in 2001, formed the band Owada, in which he played guitar and sang lead vocals. On YouTube, in a performance recorded in New York in 2007, Creed expressed his feeling of being torn between the visual arts and music: “When I’m doing music work I want to do visual work, and when I’m doing visual work I want to do music.”

In France, the output of Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, 2002 winner of the Prix Marcel Duchamp, also includes concert performances and videos following artists on tour, including Alain Bashung’s 2003 tour, for which she made the “clip” Bill & Jane in 2007.

This fifth Music Video program offers an international selection of visual artists whose interest in music forms an important component of their work and who, in various ways, have drawn on the pop aesthetic for the vocabulary and even the inspiration of their creations.