Music and art come together for a special exhibition celebrating the 30th anniversary of Interscope Records.
To mark its milestone, some of the world’s finest contemporary artists — including Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami, Julie Curtiss, and Shepard Fairey — have been commissioned to create new works influenced by some of the label’s iconic artists and recordings.
From Jan. 30, 2022, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) will display those artworks, inspired by the music of 2Pac, Eminem, Juice WRLD, Lady Gaga, Mary J. Blige, Nine Inch Nails, No Doubt, Olivia Rodrigo, Selena Gomez, U2 and many others.
Over 50 artworks will be housed in the two-week-long exhibition, dubbed Artists Inspired by Music: Interscope Reimagined.
This week, three of those pieces are presented. Kehinde Wiley has created a work inspired by Dr. Dre’s The Chronic 2001; Cecily Brown’s work is inspired by Billie Eilish’s dont smile at me EP, and Rashid Johnson is behind a piece inspired by Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid M.A.A.D. City.
The ambitious project is the brainchild of Interscope Records co-founder Jimmy Iovine; current chairman John Janick; music executive Josh Abraham; and Interscope vice chairman Steve Berman; all of whom worked with LACMA associate curator of decorative arts and design, Staci Steinberger.
The “scope and size of the selection of music,” explains a statement announcing the initiative, “recognizes the profound impact that Interscope artists have had on global culture in the past three decades.”
Interscope’s original mission, says Iovine, who co-founded the business with Ted Field, “was to find the most profound artists, empower their creativity and watch what happens.” To commemorate its years in action, he continues, “we wanted to continue that vision by assembling the most admired visual artists and empower them with that same creative license to honor the musical artists we have worked with over three decades.”
Interscope became part of its current own Universal Music Group in 1998, and was merged with A&M and Geffen Records a year later, to form what is now known as Interscope Geffen A&M (IGA).
Now led by Janick, IGA is one of the world’s dominant labels. IGA finished 2020 as the No. 1 U.S. label on Billboard’s year-end charts for the first time since 2013, while Interscope reigned as the top Hot 100 label and as the top Billboard 200 label — the first time a label group has swept the three lists since 2007.
Based on Nielsen Music/MRC Data, Interscope also led in U.S. current market share (for equivalent album units, with on-demand audio), with 11.74% year to date as of Nov. 19, 2020.
“I’m so proud that Interscope’s culture of boundless creativity provides its artists with the widest palette possible with which to express themselves,” comments Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group. “As a result, Interscope and its artists have not only consistently delivered some of the world’s most influential music, but also created groundbreaking visual media. It is fitting that the great work of Interscope’s artists be reinterpreted by leading visual artists in a way that celebrates their unique visions as well as three decades of this iconic label.”
The birthday party is just getting started for Interscope, which will present a series of events over the coming months to celebrate its legacy and pay tribute to its artists.
The exhibition runs through Feb. 13, 2022. For more, visit lacma.org.