T Magazine: Dave Muller’s Three Day Weekend Playlist

July 13, 2015

Su Wu

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Dave Muller’s Three Day Weekend Playlist
By: Su Wu

“I’m trying to exhibit enthusiasm and see if it catches,” says the artist Dave Muller of Three Day Weekend, the meandering vacation-length shows he organized on “bank holidays” for more than a decade in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Like his well-known paintings of cassette stacks and record spines, the Three Day Weekends were declarations of inspiration and opportunities to “sort of stir the pot again,” explains Muller, who has also hand-drawn advertisements for shows by fellow artists and asked galleries if he might hang them near a sink or behind a desk, like “indie band posters” — as much an agitprop move as it is a reflection of the artist’s own deep sonic affinities. A recent Muller exhibition included a playlist provided by Iggy Pop; the drummer Don Bolles of the punk band the Germs once took over the D.J. stand from Muller, who spins at Three Day Weekend openings.

But after organizing more than 50 exhibitions — including at Gagosian Gallery and LACMA, and in Tokyo and Malmo and in a freight elevator in Frankfurt — being a “kind of autonomy freak” bumped up against institutional approval. Muller put the project on hiatus in 2004, interrupted by a characteristically fleeting Cinco De Mayo-timed Three Day Weekend revival in 2013 at Public Fiction in Los Angeles that included a performance by the Calder Quartet and soundscapes the artist Frances Stark created for the Frieze Art Fair, but which streamed in a Chevy instead of the fair’s VIP fleet of BMWs. “Los Angeles is very forgiving about this,” Muller says of disappearing for a while. “People just say, ‘Oh, I thought you were in Europe.'”

Tomorrow night, Three Day Weekend returns with a yearlong series of intermittent events at Blum & Poe in Los Angeles, including a nod to Bastille Day, “Blue White Red,” which takes place in the gallery’s semi-public hallways and restrooms. “It’s not a hitch to anybody’s gitalong. It doesn’t put anybody out particularly,” Muller says of his affection for pass-through spaces. “You just sort of sense a niche opening up, or you sense a possibility.” The other show, “Business in the Front,” spills from staff offices into the reception area and includes lighting installed by the artist Julian Hoeber and window works from the minimalist poet Aram Saroyan, as well as round wall-paintings by Muller that are both pieces in the show and otherwise informational. (It’ll be followed later in the year by “Party in the Back,” in the loading area used by art handlers and preparators.)

“I like being idiosyncratic, but I would rather not be super obtuse. I think it’s easy for artists who get caught up in their own sort of deal to lose track of things,” says Muller, who also has a public installation spanning a concession stand at the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium. “You are part of the world, as alienated as you’ve ever felt.” For T, the artist presents the above playlist of music with which he is enthused right now, that he’s “bringing to the table” for the party launching the latest iteration of Three Day Weekend. Below, he shares his thoughts on some of the tracks.

Barrington Levy, “Look Girl”“Essentially a dub track with a singer on top, this one has all the bells and whistles. ‘Sometime I cry, it’s a shame.’ Me too.”

Shamir, “Make A Scene”“Everything on this record vibrates. Excellent production and a real personality for a singer. We need more singers with personality.”

Echo & the Bunnymen, “Never Stop (Discotheque)”“I generally can’t give Echo & the Bunnymen the time of day. Jim Morrison either. Sorry, everyone. But this one! Boy oh, boy! Strings!”

Melvins, “You Can Make Me Wait”“Vocals through a harmonizer (or Autotune)? Sounds like Roky Erickson singing down from heaven. Don’t worry, Roky’s not dead yet. I just checked.”

Daft Punk, “Teachers”“The video is generous and super educational, flashing photos of the artists and their records as they’re named. A complete 180 from the old days when a D.J. would soak the labels off the records they played so you couldn’t identify them if you were watching.”

ZZ Top, “Legs (Special Dance Mix)”Muller used to work for and play music with the artist Mike Kelley. “This was a favorite of his, along with ‘Boogie in Your Butt’ by Eddie Murphy. When I play this I think of Mike.”

Harold Alexander, “Mama Soul”“Inspired whoops and extended flute playing. Out there. Wherever there is, I want to go.”

Robert Palmer, “Johnny and Mary”“Every time I D.J., no matter what the venue or situation, I play this at some point. Every time. No exceptions.”

Tranquility Bass, “Sometimes I Lose My Soul”Mike Kandel of Tranquility Bass attended CalArts right before Muller, who has “been playing his Exist Dance records since the early ’90s,” he says. “I was listening at random while deplaning at J.F.K. a couple of days ago. This came on and I shed some tears.”

Dan Deacon, “Konono Ripoff No. 1″Muller suggests some other styles Deacon might rip off, that he would also enjoy: “How about Philip Glass, prison songs, Congolese rumba, Lubomyr Melnyk, Meredith Monk or Swedish cattle calls? Burmese tuned drums?”

Caribou, “Mars”“There’s always a cut on each of Dan Snaith’s Caribou albums that strikes me as being overtly spiritual or containing a spirit,” Muller says. “On ‘Our Love’ it’s ‘Mars.'”

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Blum & Poe Los Angeles, New York, and Tokyo will be closed for the summer from August 14 through August 28.