Dancing about Architecture: Songs about art?
January 4, 2009 8:54 PM   Subscribe

Dancing about Architecture: Songs about art/artists? I've got to create a mix about visual artists, art, and ect and I have no idea where to start. I've got "Andy Warhol" by David Bowie that's it.

Any recommendations for songs about art and artists? Bonus Points for songs about painters. Extra-Super-Bonus points for songs about the model-artist relationship.
posted by The Whelk to Media & Arts (57 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
"Pablo Picasso" by the Modern Lovers

It's a totally fucking annoying song, and I have no idea where I heard it or why I know it, but 5 Chinese Brothers have a song called "Paul Cezanne."
posted by craichead at 8:59 PM on January 4, 2009

How about "Picture Book" by the Kinks?
posted by Rinku at 9:00 PM on January 4, 2009

Vincent (Starry Starry Night) by Don McLean
posted by diamondsky at 9:01 PM on January 4, 2009

"Art Lover" by the Kinks might be an interesting twist on the "model-artist relationship" angle.
posted by staboo at 9:02 PM on January 4, 2009

"Pablo Picasso" by Citizen Cope
"L.E.S. Artistes" by Santogold
posted by Frank Grimes at 9:04 PM on January 4, 2009

Mona Lisa - Nat King Cole
posted by doctor_negative at 9:06 PM on January 4, 2009

Oh also, I find this song annoying, but there's also Trouble With Classicists by John Cale & Lou Reed.
posted by diamondsky at 9:06 PM on January 4, 2009

They Might Be Giants: "Meet James Ensor"

Nat King Cole: "Mona Lisa"
posted by ErWenn at 9:07 PM on January 4, 2009

Mission of Burma - Max Ernst
posted by mediareport at 9:13 PM on January 4, 2009

"Tiny Paintings" by Architecture in Helsinki?
posted by Rinku at 9:16 PM on January 4, 2009

"Lazy Line Painter Jane" by Belle & Sebastian?
posted by Rinku at 9:17 PM on January 4, 2009

The Weepies: "Painting by Chagall"
posted by bibliowench at 9:18 PM on January 4, 2009

"Paul Cezanne" by Five Chinese Brothers (though maybe good luck finding it, but I like it).
posted by Casuistry at 9:27 PM on January 4, 2009

Modern Art by Art Brut name checks Hockney and Matisse.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:30 PM on January 4, 2009

Sonic Youth "Helen Lundeberg"
posted by citron at 9:32 PM on January 4, 2009

Simon and Garfunkel, So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright
Paul Simon, Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War
Neil Young, The Painter
Bob Dylan, When I Paint My Masterpiece
posted by julen at 9:33 PM on January 4, 2009

"Picasso's Last Words" Paul McCartney + Wings
"When I paint my masterpiece" Dylan
posted by philip-random at 9:35 PM on January 4, 2009

Brian and Michael's Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs is about LS Lowry.
Robert Lemay's Hommage à Wassily Kandinsky
Sergio Arau's Mi Frida Sufrida is about Frida Kahlo.
Bjork's Jóhannes Kjarval
John Woolrich's Blue Drowning is a tribute to Terry Frost.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 9:37 PM on January 4, 2009

Possibly in name only, but: "René and Georgette Magritte with their dog after the war," by Paul Simon. Also, "So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright" -- if it helps at all to have architects -- by Simon & Garfunkel.

In Belle & Sebastian's "Sukie in the Graveyard," Sukie poses for art students.

On preview, my Paul Simon songs are already mentioned, as well as the Wings song that was tickling the back of my brain and not allowing itself to be remembered.
posted by librarina at 9:38 PM on January 4, 2009

The Naked Dutch Painter by Stew
Something from Sunday in the Park with George by Stephen Sondheim.
posted by brookeb at 9:38 PM on January 4, 2009

Cowboy Junkies "My Little Basquiat"
Matmos "Semen Song for James Bidgood"
posted by citron at 9:41 PM on January 4, 2009

Joni Mitchell's Turbulent Indigo is about Van Gogh.
posted by teg at 9:42 PM on January 4, 2009

As well as the above-mentioned 'Pablo Picasso', Jonathan Richman also sings a song about (and called) 'Vincent Van Gogh' ("the baddest painter since, Jan Vermeer").
posted by Flashman at 9:47 PM on January 4, 2009

There's probably many other songs from the "Sunday In The Park With George" soundtrack, but "Finishing The Hat" is probably the best-known.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:49 PM on January 4, 2009

(Also, on 'Girlfriend' with the Modern Lovers, JR sings about going to the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, where he likes to go straight to the room where they keep the Paul Cezannes)
posted by Flashman at 9:50 PM on January 4, 2009

lichtenstein painting by the television personalities
in awe of a painting by ana da silva (inspired by basquiat)
artists only by the talking heads
art bitch by cansei de ser sexy
art groupie by grace jones (a particularly caustic take on the "model-artist relationship")
protestant art by momus
no one was like vermeer by jonathan richman
posted by kelseyq at 9:52 PM on January 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

When I Dream of Michelangelo by Counting Crows

Sunday in the Park with George (Georges Seurat)
posted by terranova at 9:53 PM on January 4, 2009

The best song ever about an artist is "A Portrait Of VI Lenin In The Style Of Jackson Pollock, Part 1" by the Red Crayola with Art & Language from their album "Kangaroo?." It tells Pollock's whole story in amusing fashion.

"The say it's art killed Pollock, as if that could be,
In fact he missed a bend and drove his Ford into a tree."

On the same album, there's a great song about Vermeer's painting, "The Milkmaid" AND another fine song about an exhibition of art by prisoners, entitled "Prisoner's Model."

So three funny and fine songs right on that one album!

Here's more:
Momus "The Painter And His Model"
The Rezillos "My Baby Does Good Sculptures"
John Cale "Magritte" (Cale also covered the Modern Lovers' "Pablo Picasso")
Siouxsie & the Banshees "Metal Postcard" (about a John Heartfield collage.)
Ellen Foley "The Death Of The Psychoanalyst Of Salvador Dali" (written by Jones/Strummer)
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 9:57 PM on January 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Someone already mentioned "Lazy Line Painter Jane" by Belle & Sebastian, but I think "The Model" has more art-related stuff in it. They actually mention art school fairly frequently in their songs.

Also, "Gone to Pablo" (Picasso) by Luka Bloom.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 9:59 PM on January 4, 2009

Un Portrait de Norman Rockwell by Eddy Mitchell
posted by terranova at 10:02 PM on January 4, 2009

Tanya Davis - Art

Rufus Wainwright - The Art Teacher

Crash Test Dummies - When I Go Out With Artists

Laura Veirs - Rapture (clearer audio here)

David Bowie's song Joe the Lion is about Chris Burden.

Meredith Bragg - Limbless Sculpture

Destroyer's album Rubies contains songs such as European Oils, Painter In Your Pocket, and Water Colours Into The Ocean.

The album Music for Egon Schiele by Rachel's.

The album Music Inspired by the Group of Seven by the Rheostatics.

It's an instrumental, but the title of Sufjan Stevens' song The Vivian Girls Are Visited In The Night By Saint Dargarius is a reference to the art of Henry Darger.

Maybe something by Yoko Ono?
posted by oulipian at 10:14 PM on January 4, 2009

Pictures at an Exhibition? Classical, maybe not what you're looking for.
posted by Rinku at 10:15 PM on January 4, 2009

E-I-E-I-O, "Andy Warhol's Dead (But I'm Not)"
posted by kirkaracha at 10:24 PM on January 4, 2009

Art School - The Jam
Animals and Men - Adam and the Ants ("Marinetti, Boccioni, Carrà, Balla, Palazzeschi! Futurist....Manifesto!")

a little more tangential, but still possibilities:
Art Decade - David Bowie (instrumental, but nice!)
Must I Paint You a Picture? - Billy Bragg
Nighthawk Postcards - Tom Waits (from the album Nighthawks at the Diner)
All the Pictures on the Wall - Paul Weller
posted by scody at 10:30 PM on January 4, 2009

Oh, and it's more about fashion models than art models, but... The Model by Kraftwerk? (German version here.)
posted by scody at 10:35 PM on January 4, 2009

"In the Gallery" -- Dire Straits, first record, a terrific anti-modernist screed.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:51 PM on January 4, 2009

The Rezillos - (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures
Daniel Johnston - Frustrated Artist
Daniel Johnston - Story of an Artist (covered nicely by M. Ward)
The Ex - Listen To The Painters

Lou Reed and John Cale's Songs for Drella, a remembrance of Andy Warhol
Poi Dog Pondering's U Li La Lu has a shout-out to Marc Chagall
Aluminum Group - Rrose Selavy's Valise (Rrose Selavy was a pseudonym of Marcel Duchamp)
posted by hydrophonic at 10:53 PM on January 4, 2009

"Mark Rothko Song" - Dar Williams
posted by shelbaroo at 10:57 PM on January 4, 2009

Oh, and how could I forget -- the incomparably weird and brilliant Terry Allen, on his 1979 double album "Lubbock on Everything," has one of the finest snarky songs about modern art's BS factor ever: "Truckload of Art." Lyrics here.

Used to be impossible to find, but it's been reissued, and is available at Amazon. You can even buy just the one song as an mp3. Ah, modern life. When I was in my 20s, I spent weeks trying to find this record.

Yeah the driver was singing
And the sunset was pretty
But the truck turned over
And she rolled off the road
Yeah a Truckload of Art
is burning near the highway
Precious objects are scattered
All over the ground
And it's a terrible sight
If a person were to see it
But there weren't nobody around

posted by fourcheesemac at 10:58 PM on January 4, 2009

And there's always King Missile, with Sensitive Artist and Ed:
What do I have to complain about anyway," Ed asked his Picasso, "I'm a millionaire!" This wasn't exactly true. Ed's Picasso was an obvious forgery, his three Rothkos had just been singled out in an article in Artforum entitled "The three most insignificant paintings of Mark Rothko," and his Barbara Kruegers had been irreparably damaged by Rein Sanction and a few other bands from Gainesville that refused to recognize the value of art.

"Come to think of it," Ed mused to the laminated roadkill coffee table that he had purchased when times had seemed slightly less bleak, "Come to think of it, not only does art have no intrinsic value, but my collection has no extrinsic value either. I know I'm not a millionaire, but that's no reason to complain. There is no reason to complain. There is no reason to do anything. [etc., etc.]
posted by Sonny Jim at 11:34 PM on January 4, 2009

Neil Young -- Cinneman Girl -- "A dreamer of pictures / I run in the night"
Terry Allen -- A Truckload of Art
Terry Allen -- The Collector (and the Art Mob)
Terry Allen -- OUI (a French Song)
(The Terry Allen songs are all off of "Lubbock On Everything" which is a Texas masterpiece)
posted by dancestoblue at 12:51 AM on January 5, 2009

Manic Street Preachers - Interiors (Song for Willem De Kooning)
Art Brut - Modern Art
Transvision Vamp - Andy Warhol's Dead [I knew this song before I knew who Warhol was]

I'd be very surprised if there wasn't a Fall song that namechecked an artist or two. After all, there's one that mentions Harry Hill and Jimmy Hill...
posted by mippy at 3:35 AM on January 5, 2009

Never Mind the Pollacks?

Picasso visits the Planet of the Apes - Adam and the Ants
Max Ernst - Mission of Burma
Escher - Teenage Fanclub
Frida Kahlo - Rachel's
Bruegel - Andy Partridge and Harold Budd
Art Class (Song For Yayoi Kusama) - Superchunk
Paul Gauguin in the South Seas - Jimmy Webb
Life Classes/Life Model - The Auteurs?
posted by mandal at 5:36 AM on January 5, 2009

True Colours - Cyndi Lauper
Paint it Black - Stones
posted by runincircles at 5:38 AM on January 5, 2009

Lou Reed & John Cale's "Trouble With Impressionists" from Songs for Drella.
posted by mattholomew at 5:45 AM on January 5, 2009

Claudia Phillips - Picasso
posted by candyland at 5:52 AM on January 5, 2009

Two more Television Personalities songs: "The Painted Word" and "Salvador Dali's Garden Party"
posted by mediareport at 6:11 AM on January 5, 2009

Dan Bern - Estelle
posted by knile at 6:55 AM on January 5, 2009

Annie Gallup- Georgia O'Keefe

and OOH look what I found you: Art appreciation music
posted by rmless at 8:11 AM on January 5, 2009

The Statue Got Me High - They Might Be Giants
posted by swift at 8:23 AM on January 5, 2009

Kate Bush - "An Architect's Dream" from the second disc of her album "Aerial" is about watching an artist painting outdoors. It's followed by the brief "The Painter's Link" where a rainstorm makes the colors of the painting run together.
posted by dnash at 10:42 AM on January 5, 2009

Stone Temple Pilots - Art School Girlfriend.
Very silly.
posted by idiotfactory at 11:33 AM on January 5, 2009

The Wake of the Medusa - The Pogues (about Géricault's Raft of the Medusa).
Sun In An Empty Room - The Weakerthans
Night Windows - The Weakerthans (These two songs are named for Edward Hopper paintings, but the connection is not obvious.)
posted by kidbritish at 2:56 PM on January 5, 2009

De Chirico Street by Robyn Hitchcock.
posted by ROTFL at 4:22 PM on January 5, 2009

The Nields, Georgia O (about Georgia O'Keefe)
posted by bassjump at 5:41 PM on January 5, 2009

Response by poster: Geeze I go to sleep and I get an entire thread of great ideas. You. Guys. Rock.

posted by The Whelk at 6:23 PM on January 6, 2009

Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson, "Van Gogh Kept Painting Himself Because He Was The Only Model He Had"
posted by kirkaracha at 6:46 PM on January 12, 2009

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