Starting April 19, digital interview magazine The Avant/Garde Diaries is hosting an exciting 21-day arts and culture festival in Los Angeles called Transmission LA: AV Club Curated by Mike D. It’s the second installment of the Mercedes-Benz sponsored Transmission series that first took place in Berlin last year, curated by (soon-to-be former Jil Sander creative director) Raf Simons. This year’s show is particularly cool because Simons has handed over the reins to none other than Mike D of the legendary hip-hop trio the Beastie Boys, who will serve as the event’s official curator and artistic director. We took some time out to chat with Mike D about his new role, favorite artists, and art museum peeves.
How did you get involved in this project?
[L.A.'s MOCA director] Jeffrey Deitch approached me. I had been up for four days straight in Las Vegas so at first I mistook him for Duane "The Rock" Johnson.
What is your earliest memory of seeing or making art?
Growing up, as a family we used to play this board game called Masterpiece. Instead of using the cards that came with the game, we would substitute them with postcards of modern paintings that we’d seen at museums, from artists like Mark Rothko and Barnette Newman.
What does the term "artist" mean to you?
A person of creative leanings.
What does "Transmission" mean to you, in the context of this festival?
Basically, we’ll be transmitting an experience across several mediums and platforms.
Will Transmission LA be heavily inspired by music due to your background or will it be a mix of all artistic mediums?
Definitely a mix. It will be inclusive of a lot of stuff, but to me that’s kind of what I realized my theme is for this show: It’s all about the experience. It kind of drives me crazy when you see people at museums reading the cards next to pieces the whole time. In a way, you could call this show "No Manual Necessary." Just build it!
As a native New Yorker, who are some of your favorite local artists, both iconic and emerging?
Iconic: Barnet Newman, Tom Sachs, Glenn Ligon, and Tony Oursler.
Emerging: Klara Liden, Still House Group, and Nicky Webbs.
How will your curating style for this festival differ from Raf Simons’?
It’s hard for me to say since I don’t know what Raf’s style was. I’ll sport mine fresh, though.
Transmission LA runs April 20 through May 6. The 21-day festival will be open to the public and include the first ever viewing of the Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupé presented within an art exhibit. Stay tuned for location and ticket info.