Mark Ryden Taps Katy Perry and Nick Cave for LA Show

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Mark Ryden, Katy Aphrodite (2014), oil on canvas with artist-designed frame.
Courtesy the artist, Kohn Gallery.

Painter Mark Ryden, well-known for his album cover art, has enlisted recording artists Katy Perry, Weird Al Yankovic,  Tyler The Creator, Nick Cave, and other stars to record music as part of his current solo show at Kohn Gallery, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

"The Gay 90s West" incorporates iconic elements of turn-of-the-20th-century American culture into paintings, drawings, installations, and sculptures with a a Pop art (and pop music) twist. Evoking nostalgia for the early days of phonography, bicycles with giant front wheels, long full skirts with bustles, top hats, and Main Street, USA, a sense of longing for a lost idyll permeates the exhibition.

The musical component, an album titled The Gay Nineties Old Tyme Music, is also inspired by late-19th century culture. Perry, Cave, Yankovic, and other recording artists have each contributed a cover of “Daisy Bell," better known as “Bicycle Built for Two," Harry Dacre's 1892 parlor song. Released in a limited edition of 999 albums, the red vinyl records are each signed by Ryden and are available for $99.99, both at the gallery and online.

Together, the show and the album bring to mind the "The Dream of the 1890s" number from Portlandia's second season, which satirized the growing popularity of such old-fashioned past-times and customs as home pickling and sausage-making, knitting, hand-carved ice cubes, micro-brewed beer, gear-less bikes, bushy beards, and waxed handlebar mustaches.

The exhibition, on view through June 28, is the inaugural showing at the Kohn Gallery's new location.