The New Generation of Classic Short Stories

Vol. 14, No. 4

Notes on Design

by Thurston Moore

In considering a design aesthetic for this issue of Zoetrope: All-Story I first thought of family. Being privy, if only for a moment here and there through the years, to my friend Sofia Coppola’s world, I’ve noticed a genuine familial energy in her work as a filmmaker and a designer, and in her public profile as a daughter in a family with a strong and intriguing distinction. I certainly see it in her father’s work, from the Godfather opus to, most recently, the film Tetro. Living in a family atmosphere where creative individuals rule the roost can be either complicated and competitive or excitingly adventurous in potential collaboration. It was with this in mind that I wanted to present work in Zoetrope in collaboration with my wife, and Sonic Youth bandmate, the artist Kim Gordon. When I first met Kim in New York City in 1979 she had just arrived from her hometown of Los Angeles after studying at Otis Art Institute. With a keen interest in performance and music as a means of expression, she’s never stopped her work as a visual artist; yet over time Sonic Youth became more of a juggernaut of activity, and it wasn’t until recently that Kim was able to refocus on her connection to the art world. For me her work has consistently exhibited a sophisticated take on architecture, America, painting, performance, gender, and self-reflection. I spent the month of October loosely organizing over forty years of intimate photographs from my childhood and Kim’s, our daughter’s first sixteen years, and our sometimes spurious life on the road since the early 1980s. I chose a selection of these shots, printed them out—some on photo paper, some on typical medium-weight copy paper—and asked Kim to paint on them. I had seen some collaborative pieces she did with the artist Richard Prince: he sent her found photographs, and she added movements of color and gesture. The fact that Kim and Richard have been friends since the 1970s added a charm and sweetness to the work, which appealed to me. I knew that I could only be so lucky to dance with her in the same way. And in seeing her transform the banal evocation of my photo choices into newfound abstraction, I knew that I was experiencing magic. And love.

To view Thurston Moore’s design of the Winter 2010 / 2011 issue, please purchase a copy from our online store.