“Transmissions” Curated by Mike D



At the opening of Mercedes-Benz Transmission LA: AV Club, curator Mike D said that he has long dreamed of curating an art exhibition. The Beastie Boy-turned-curator, who was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this month, invited 16 of his favorite artists to contribute work for the show that takes over a good portion of the Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles. The show is visceral, vivid and layered with overt references to sound, music, taste and pop culture.

One of the exhibiting artists, Roy Choi, serves tacos from his Kogi food truck to guests seated at long, colorful picnic tables designed by Robert McKinley. The massive speaker installation by Tom Sachs kicks out low-end bass, inspired by the Jamaican selectors who cultivated DJ culture. “Pinwheels” is an oscillating collaboration between Jim Drain and Ara Peterson that involves dozens of spinning fan (Mike D described it as a theme park for adults during a gallery walkthrough.) The mesmerizing video game installation by Ben Jones places the viewer inside of the screen in a transformative race car-driving experience. And a work by Sanford Biggers broaches the relationship between the DJ, the viewer and perception of a life-sized feathered sculpture.

The exhibition also served as the debut of the Mercedes-Benz Style Coupe concept car, which is shown as part of an electronic sound installation produced by Adam Horovitz, also of the Beastie Boys. This is the second installment of Transmission — the first Mercedes-Benz sponsored exhibition was held in Berlin last year and curated by the designer Raf Simons.

For the AV Club, Mike D has focused on sound, but has managed to stimulate all five senses in the process. A whimsical coffee bar and a bookstore are also among the installations. Santigold performed at the opening exhibition and several DJ performances are scheduled for the remaining dates including Peanut Butter Wolf, Z-Trip and the curator himself. The exhibition is on view through May 6.