Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 29-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.
Well fancy that. Mecca Normal in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Over the coming weeks, I’ll reveal more specifics, but first—a crack at context. If I was just to blurt out that a recording of Mecca Normal—a live set—is to be included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, I suspect it wouldn’t mean much to most people. Anyone to whom it did mean something might wonder why they hadn’t seen our name on the official list released last month by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. The recording—and two other Mecca Normal related artifacts—are part of an exhibit within the biennial. The subject of this exhibit is an individual who, in the years leading up to his death in 2006, actively protested the war in Iraq. In fact, his death was an act of protestation. He was, among other things, a cultural and political activist.
The recording of the live Mecca Normal set to be included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial is one of many audio documents that will be available at a listening booth.
What About The Boy?
Every Wrong Word
Revolution # Pine
No Mind’s Eye
Ice Floes Away
The set was recorded in 2002, in Chicago, at the Empty Bottle as part of our artist residency upstairs at the Bottle Cap where, for the better part of a week, we greeted the few people who came to see David Lester’s Inspired Agitator poster series, which has, from its inception, been a compelling collection of graphics and text about activists and actions intending to create progressive social change. The posters are presented with an artist talk within Mecca Normal’s classroom event How Art & Music Can Change The World.
My Pint Glass series—a reference to my then two years of sobriety—of fairly large paintings (acrylic on cream velvet) were also part of the exhibit.
“I Don’t Need To Hold Your Hand,” from Janis Zeppelin (Smarten UP! 2003) (download):