Beastie Boys’ Mike D Has a License to Curate

Mike D says he’s an early riser. After three decades in the music industry and 40 million records sold, you’d think the Beastie Boy would sleep in a little. But no. This morning he’s holding court in the penthouse of the Chateau Marmont to discuss Transmission LA, the weeklong arts festival he’s curating at MOCA Los Angeles, sponsored by Mercedes Benz. Raf Simons had the honor last year in Berlin.

It’s no small feat juggling the art (a well-selected lot, including friends Tom Sachs, Peter Coffin, and Will Fowler), music (himself and DJs), food (Kogi Truck’s Roy Choi), and visual aspects (Paperrad’s Benjamin Jones and his longtime buddy Mike Mills) for the extravaganza. Factor in his two homes under renovation and his two Maroon 5-jamming kids, and it’s fair to say that Mr. D can’t wait to get back to his favorite yoga pose, the sitting lotus.

So what does the curatorial foray have to do with the Peter Pan-like rapper and drummer from the Beastie Boys? “Hip hop is art,” he explains. “What we do is make choices, whether it’s sampling these two bars or choosing what beats go in. They’re basically all curatorial decisions. With the Beastie Boys, we’ve always taken visuals seriously—and I don’t know if we’ve taken anything seriously. We’re equally as fascinated with the visual possibilities of what we do with the musical ones.”

Transmission LA: The Audio Visual CLUB
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
152 N. Central Ave, Los Angeles
April 20th – May 6th, 2012

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