Look Culture

“Lyrics to Life” Pop-Up Exhibition, LA

Inspired by iconic song lyrics, a show that’s extremely photogenic

by Kyle Ryamond Fitzpatrick

Featuring artwork by Aminé, Devin Troy, Peggy Noland, Typoe and more, Genius and Dropbox joined forces for a pop-up exhibition inspired by song lyrics. Opening today and running through the weekend, “Lyrics to Life” is a playful, ultimately photogenic show. Genius CEO and Co-Founder Tom Lehman tells us, “Every time you listen to a song, the same lyric in people’s head means different things.” The presentation sweeps across genres and eras, aesthetics and activities, akin to the Museum of Ice Cream but with legitimate artists creating full-calorie servings of creativity.

Mokibaby turns Animal Collective’s “My Girls” into a techno-feminist VHS utopia, while Nitemind’s take on Sia’s “Chandelier” is a neon manifestation of the song’s giant glowing structure. Typoe took the iconic Notorious BIG lyric “It was all a dream,” and blew the words up into a giant, multi-colored statue. Every artist has done something different and it was their personal connection to the music that sees the show’s success.

Marina Fini, whose artwork is based on Radiohead’s “Creep,” says she has a personal history with the song, since it helped her through her adolescence. “I thought it would be funny to interpret ‘Creep’ in two different ways,” she tells us, sitting in her interactive neon ’90s-style teen room, equipped with functional early aughts candy iMacs. Her room allows you to see that the artist was a creep in her youth but now you, as a voyeur, are too. “I felt like an outcast in high school” Fini says. “You get to look at my high school life and Livejournal and emo-ness on these iMacs.” Fini’s entry is the most personal and vulnerable of the works. It also transmits something that she took years to learn: “It’s okay to be a weirdo.”

Peggy Noland’s work is inspired by Nicki Minaj’s “Moment 4 Life,” and the result is a rainbow-colored furry zone of monsters slain by queenly power. “It wasn’t difficult to be inspired by a Nicki Minaj lyric,” Noland says. “She’s my queen!” She tells us that her interpretation of the lyrics were echoed by Genius, and is all about championing women, the LGBTQ+ community, and people of color.

Lyrics to Life is open now through 5 March in Downtown LA. Admission is free, but RSVPs are essential.

Peggy Noland image by Samuel McGuire, all others by Cool Hunting


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