Devendra Banhart’s Dearest Friends: Tauba Auerbach, Matt Leines, Chris Johanson, Keegan McHargue

DEVANDRALOGOWith the release of major-label debut What Will We Be (Warner Bros.), Devendra Banhart proves once again he has the potential to be one of his generation’s major players. His voice, with its careening vibrato and fuse-blowing intensity, sounds something like Marc Bolan’s, but his repertoire may be more all over the map than anyone making records today. He combines a love of arcane folk music with hard-rocking psychedelia and an ability to sing beautifully in English or Spanish, a skill he learned growing up in Caracas, Venezuela. He refers to himself, jokingly, as a “fake hippie,” but he appears to be the real thing, a refreshing return to the revolutionary thinking that once seemed capable of changing the course of human events. Who’s to say it couldn’t happen again? Banhart will be guest editing all week. Read our Q&A with him.

I met Tauba Auerbach years ago in San Francisco, and even then we all knew her work was a billion gazillion universes ahead of everyone’s. On another level, her solo show at Deitch is the best show I’ve seen in the last decade. Also, she was asked by Cambridge to design a universal math symbol known as the halting problem!

Matt Leines
I first saw Matt Leines‘ work in a self-published book of his and Keegan McHargue’s work. I couldn’t believe how precise and sedulous his pieces were, and to see where his work is now! A perfect example of the artist presenting us with a new vocabulary, a new alphabet of visual symbols.

Chris Johanson
Chris Johanson is one of the patriarchs of the San Francisco art world (where I met him) and now the whole art world worldover worldworldworld. A hero, seriously, a hero. Like Kurt Vonnegut or Richard Brautigan’s writing, his art is so funny and so heartbreaking—so human and bittersweet. A hero.

Keegan McHargue
Keegan McHargue (pictured) is the man. I’ve known him for a long time, and though we have talked about showing together for years, we finally decided on staging an Ultimate Fighting Contest: Keegan vs. Devendra. Pay-Per-View hasn’t returned any of our calls, but mark my words—or a combo of mine and Mike Tyson’s from that awesome doc about him: “I’ll fuck you till you love me, buddy.” Anywho, other than Ultimate Fighting, Keegan is one of those artists who truly presents completely new and fresh bodies of work every year, a super inspiration. Check out his awesome (and awesomely titled) blog, Mauve Deep.