Pulse Music’s Josh Abraham on LACMA Art Exhibit – The Hollywood Reporter

The new exhibition Artists Inspired by Music: Interscope Reimagined – who has his last weekend at LACMA February 11-13 – is a colorful and boisterous collection of original works by artists such as Lauren Halsey, Damien Hirst and Cecily Brown performing the music and image of Interscope artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Eminem and Billie Eilish. (The latter, along with Olivia Rodrigo and Machine Gun Kelly, attended the show’s opening on Jan. 26.)

This painting from the Interscope exhibit at LACMA, by Swiss-born artist Nicolas Party, was inspired by Lady Gaga, who has been with the label since 2007. “I thought the result was beautiful,” says Abraham .
Courtesy of Karma, New York

One of the creators of the LACMA show, musical director Josh Abraham — who helped find associations for the exhibit and inspire artists to participate — however, has a very different aesthetic when it comes to art in his Beverly Hills home. (Abraham worked on the LACMA exhibit with three other organizers: Jimmy Iovine, co-founder of Interscope Records; label president John Janick; and vice president Steve Berman.)

“I love minimalist art,” says Abraham, co-CEO of Impulse Music Group publishing house, whose roster of songwriters (which includes Starrah, Ty Dolla and James Blake) has contributed to the successes of stars such as Drake, Travis Scott and Lady Gaga.

Abraham – who grew up “watching the pioneers of hip-hop and graffiti culture”, he says – bought his first work of art in 2001, a work by Yoshitomo Nara, after discovering a book about graffiti. Japanese artist (who was also the subject of a recent exhibition at LACMA). Since then, Abraham says he has gone through “different phases” as a collector while gravitating more and more towards minimalism. “I don’t like a lot of noise,” adds Abraham, who works directly with many galleries and often collaborates with art consultants such as Karyn Lovegrove.

At home in Beverly Hills, he combines works by artists such as Ed Ruscha, Jonas Wood, Richard Serra, John Baldessari, Raymond Pettibon, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jannis Kounellis and Josef Albers with his collection of modernist furniture from architects. and designers including Pierre Jeanneret, Isamu Noguchi and Charlotte Perriand. Among his works of Ruscha is one of the works of the artist city ​​lights paintings “who says the word ‘impulse’, who is [also the name of] my company.”

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From left to right: Josh Abraham; John Janick, president and CEO of Interscope Records; Kelly machine gun; and Jimmy Iovine, co-founder of Interscope Records, at the opening of Artists Inspired by Music: Interscope Reimagined at LACMA.
Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

“For me, simplicity is the hardest thing to create. As in music, ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ is impossible to write. Someone wrote it and all the kids at school sing it, but it’s a simple, beautiful song,” says Abraham, adding that when it comes to minimalist artwork, “ you can just fall into an Albers [painting] – it’s just how the colors play off each other. You can get lost in each box. It’s really hard for me. »

In February, Abraham recommends art lovers check out the many gallery exhibitions taking place that month, including the new Jonas Wood exhibition, Plants and animalsat David Kordansky Galleryand Sayre Gomez’s upcoming show at Ghebaly Galleryopening February 19. He also plans to attend the Frieze Los Angeles art fair in Beverly Hills.

Scroll for images of three additional works of art that are part of Abraham’s collection.

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Abraham’s collection includes painting by Ed Ruscha Downtown. “I used to be an investor in a company called Downtown Records,” Abraham explains of one reason the piece is meaningful to him.
Ed Ruscha / Courtesy of Gagosian

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Josef Albers, “Study for the homage to the square”, 1966.
Josh Abraham collection

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“Untitled” by Jannis Kounellis, 1969. Courtesy of MASSIMODECARLO.

Update 2/11: Added full list of LACMA show organizers.

A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 11 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.