Pop art painter Mark Ryden's new show, The Gay 90s, opening Saturday, May 3, at the Kohn Gallery in Los Angeles, features plenty of weird cameos from Abraham Lincoln, strange phantasmagoric scenes with raw meat, and his signature oval-eyed little girls. One of the little girls, a smaller painting in the back of the gallery, depicts Katy Perry.
Ryden tells The Hollywood Reporter that in addition to the portrait, he's worked with Perry as well a number of other artists including Kirk Hammett of Metallica, Tyler the Creator, Weird Al Yankovic, Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo, Stan Ridgeway of Wall of Voodoo, Danny Elfman and Nick Cave on a limited-edition album that will be released Saturday. On the record, titled The Gay Nineties Old Tyme Music: Daisy Bell, each performer will do a rendition of the same song, "Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)." Written in 1892, it was a hit song of the time and was later popularized in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which it is sung by the HAL 9000 computer.
The album, printed on 180 g red vinyl, is limited to 999 copies, all hand-numbered and signed by Ryden. Half of the records will be sold at the gallery when the show opens and half will be sold on the artist's website, beginning May 13. A spokesperson for the gallery said that they anticipate the albums will sell out in "about five minutes." The proceeds from the record, which will sell for $99.99, will benefit Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit that supports musical education in disadvantaged elementary schools.
"The first time I actually heard of who she was, my 11-year-old niece said, 'There’s this girl who really likes you,' " Ryden says about approaching Perry for the project. "I guess she had mentioned me in some interviews. I just got to meet her, and we were admirers of each other, and I asked her, and she did it."
Ryden got his start in the music business as an album art painter, creating the cover for Michael Jackson's Dangerous, The Red Hot Chili Peppers' One Hot Minute and Aerosmith’s "Love in an Elevator" single, before becoming a fine artist full time. He recently broke his self-imposed exile from album art to paint the cover for Tyler the Creator’s Wolf album, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 last year.
Kohn Gallery, which is debuting in a new location tomorrow, is located at 1227 N. Highland Avenue in Los Angeles. The Mark Ryden exhibit, which inaugurates the space, will run through June 28.