Mark Mothersbaugh was solidified in the history of pop culture through his foundation of trailblazing band DEVO, in which he was lead singer and a key player in the band’s creation of some of the most important relics of the 1980s.
Before and throughout his time in DEVO, Mothersbaugh was also a keen visual artist who created a vast body of work during his formative years in the band and beyond.
A collection of his paintings, prints, photographs, sculpture, decorative arts, video, film, and performance art has been curated by the Grey Art Gallery at New York University for a exhibition celebrating Mothersbaugh’s visual output, titled Myopia.
Check out Myopia, the new multimedia exhibition exploring the artistic output of DEVO frontman Mark Mothersbaugh.
The exhibition, curated by Adam Lerner, highlight’s Mothersbaugh’s talents beyond music, shedding a light on his considerable artistic gifts, and why DEVO’s identity centred less around being a band and more on being performance artists.
As the show’s press release says:
“DEVO’s foundational concept of de-evolution—the belief that the world is falling apart—informs the band’s irreverent, polymorphous persona, first cultivated at Kent State University in Ohio.
Precedents such as Dada, Surrealism, and German Expressionism also inspired DEVO’s distinctive look: its eccentric costumes, inventive characters, and unconventional stage presence.
Known for the trademark “energy dome” headwear in their 1980 hit song “Whip It,” they also donned matching workers’ coveralls, hazmat suits, and garbage bags, and always appeared on stage with the man-child character Booji Boy, Mothersbaugh’s alter ego.
Indeed, central to Mothersbaugh’s ethos is this childlike perspective, which allows him to deflate the self-seriousness of music, art, and even society itself—to offer a juvenile subversion of adult imagery.
Projecting a mordant, confrontational aesthetic and a critique of consumerism linked, but not limited, to punk, Mothersbaugh has long investigated the relationship between technology and individuality in our contemporary capitalist society—often through self-critical adoptions of some of its most recognizable forms.”
See some of Mothersbaugh’s brilliant work below and read more about the exhibition here. If you’re in New York, it runs until Saturday, July 15.