The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Galerie Dennis Cooper presents … Dave Muller


‘Dave Muller creates paintings and installations that are rooted in his deep fascination with music, how it infiltrates and shapes our identities, and the communal dialogue it generates across cultures. Tapping into shared poetic moments and a collective dialogue, Muller depicts the myriad iconographies of his musical obsessions—album covers and spines, vinyl records, tapes, CDs, bootlegs, B-sides, disco balls, record labels, set lists, rare and popular instruments—sounds of all stripes, musicians, and singers, both beloved and unknown.

‘Muller appropriates album art in a painterly style that is both whimsical and factual. The paintings are autobiographical and expressive; adoring as well as historically referential. He is careful to include details such as hype stickers, anachronistic price tags, and extinct record shop labels, always attending to age, use, wear, and tear. These paintings tell idiosyncratic stories of politics, subculture, and atmosphere that have morphed through eras and cultures.

‘Muller’s engagement with a widespread sonic landscape offers fertile ground for portraiture, fandom, revised history, and cultural critique. As both deejay and painter, the artist plays a curatorial role of selection and remix based on playful intersections of imagery, sensibility, and language. Muller often incorporates his paintings into large-scale environments with wall paintings, multi-part installations, and sound.’ — B&P



Dave Muller @ Blum & Poe
DM @ Anthony Meier Fine Arts
DM@ The approach
Dave Muller @ instagram
Book: ‘I Like Your Music I Love Your Music’
Dave Muller: Connections
The Thing, Issue 34: Dave Muller
ART CITIES:N.York-Dave Muller
Raise the Bar: Dave Muller at The Mandrake
Edition: Dave Muller: Quiet Noise
Dave Muller’s Three Day Weekend Playlist
Critic’s Pick: Dave Muller
Dave Muller Interview At Beautiful/Decay
Dave Muller: Everything Sounds Good Right Now



Artist Talk: Dave Muller

Dave Muller | The Artist’s Museum

Dave Muller, Now Where Were We?

Dave Muller interview




Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from originally and when did art first enter your life?
I was born in San Francisco. Grew up in Novato (Marin County). Was a science/math student/athlete in high school. As a chemistry major/college radio DJ, I took my first drawing class: an elective in what I thought was going to be my final term toward my chemistry degree. That class was so interesting that I stuck around and got a double major in Art and Chemistry.

From where do you draw inspiration?
Life. Reading. Nature. Films. Life. Other People. Music. The World. Life.

Music is a central theme in your work – if you could spend one day with any musician, who would it be?
I like to play music, so I’d like to spend it with the people I play music with in the Summer. The Bread and Puppet Theater Brass Band. Or Mike Kelley, whom I miss greatly. Music was a lot of fun with Mike.

What three words do you think best describe the work that you do?
Material-based Conceptual.

Is your work influenced by any art historical figures or movements?
Sure. I’m heavily influenced by my contemporaries, and African tribal sculpture, Diane Arbus, Michael Asher, John Baldessari, StephanBalkenhol, Robert Bechtle, Gene Beery, Lee Bontecou, D. Boon, Marcel Broodthaers, ChrisBurden, André Cadere, John Cage, Alexander Calder, René Daniëls, Ray and Charles Eames, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Goldstein, John Graham, David Hammons, Eva Hesse, Mary Heilmann, Barkley L.Hendricks, Roni Horn, Inuit sculpture and drawing, Neil Jenney, Larry Johnson, RayJohnson, Jasper Johns, Alex Katz, Mike Kelley, Ellsworth Kelly, Jack Kirby, Lucy Lippard, Robert Maillart, Kerry James Marshall, Agnes Martin, Gordon Matta-Clark, Marilyn Minter, ReeMorton, Bruno Munari, Bruce Nauman, George Nelson, Hélio Oiticica, Catherine Opie, Raymond Pettibon, Francis Picabia, Lari Pittman, Sigmar Polke, Jackson Pollock, RichardPowers, Richard Prince, Martín Ramírez, Charles Ray, Ad Reinhardt, Gerhard Richter, Allen Ruppersberg, Ed Ruscha, Peter Saville, Charles Schulz, Allan Sekula, Dr. Seuss, Ben Shahn, Jim Shaw, TheSituationists, Tony Smith, Robert Smithson, Paul Thek, Lilyvander Stokker, Daanvan Golden, Caetano Veloso, Andy Warhol, Lawrence Weiner, H.C. Westermann.

You are currently working with Blum & Poe curating their virtual exhibition space. How did you come into that role and what is your relationship like with the gallery?
I’ve been showing as an artist with Blum & Poe since 1996. In 1994 I started Three Day Weekend, an artist run project space. Over the years I’ve organized at least six TDW shows at B&P. By now they feel like family.

Has your work always taken on the style it currently embodies?
Pretty much. I mostly thought I was a sculptor when I was in school (UC Davis, CalArts). After grad school I taught myself how to draw things the way I wanted them to look.

What one thing would you never go into the studio without? What does your process look like?
I’m useless in the studio without a solid idea. That doesn’t mean that an idea must be fully formed. I just have to trick myself into action. A final object might barely resemble an initial idea. I spend a lot of time puttering outside the studio, searching for a grain of an idea.

What do you have coming up in the future?
Long Term: Some sort of survey show at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art (at UC Davis) in a few years. Short Term: Lots of painting.



Personal Top Ten, 2019


Altogether Now (33 & 1/3), 2008


Apple Core, Nothing More. Who’s Your Friend (Ringo), 2012


Asideways, 2012


See You Next Lifetime, 2018


A Beatle in Mercury’s Clothing , 2012


Empty Drum Kits, 2013


Boombox, 2013


Purple Rain, Purple Rain, 2020


Noir and Sunshine, 2018


Red, Yellow, Blue (Sixth, Ninth and First Most Sampled Songs According to, 2018


KBD, 2018


She Signed Her Letter All Yours… …Ya-Ya, 2018


A Beginning, 1994


Glories of a Youth Misspent (in record stores) #1, 2, 2018


onetwothreefourtwothreefourthreefourfour, 2008


Prayers: Extended (medium), 2008


Music, 2001


January 2007, According to NY Times (Help), 2006 , 2007


The King Springs Eternal , 2009


Various artists , 2004


Various Artists: the nonesuch guide to electronic music (Beaver & Krause), 2005


W.W.S.R.D. in 2152 , 2004


White Noise (diptych), 2004


John Entwistle Meet Sol Lewitt, 2004


Connections, 2003


Little (Ed), 2012

Monochrome, 1998


So (detail), 2004 Star, 2004


Mullerpile, 2004


one and two (from three), 2008


cassettestack (A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You), 2007


B-1, 2003


AB, 2003


Queen Live Killers, 2009




p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. I’m slightly more than half-curious to see ‘Nightmare Alley’. I didn’t like his ‘water’ movie at all, which is where my trepidation comes in. ** cal, Hi, Cal! Sure, a Zoom editing talk sounds good. Let me know when it suits. You can email me about figuring it out if you want: I really liked that Corrao book. Hm, it’s been a while since I read it, so I don’t have any special or detailed thoughts at my fingertips, but I’ll think back and get some thoughts together. Excellent day to you! ** David, Hi. Yeah, quite the story. Don’t shopping centers have beds? Wait, you mean useable ones. Bath bomb. That’s new to me. Sounds horrifically sexy. Chase the sunset. ** Dominik, Hi!!! ‘What the fuck are human beings’ must be the central question of our time or something, no? It feels big. Ethiopian food rocks. The bread … oh my god. Fuck work. I wish it was that easy. I hope you somehow came out the other end of yesterday’s unwanted work sparkling anew. Not impossible, I guess. Please thank your yesterday’s love for his kind generosity. Well, there is the possibility that things have  improved on the film front. I can’t say too much, but some funding might be about to come through, and, if it does, we’ll be on our way to having what we need. It’s an if, though, and fingers crossed, etc., but things are a little better in any case. Thanks for asking. Love transforming every 20 Euro bill into a guitar and very 10 Euro bill into an amplifier and every 5 Euro bill into a cord and every 50 Euro bill into an effects pedal, G. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. Yes, McCurdy is a classic American tale of the power of ingenuity except without his ingenuity. I’ve never seen the original ‘Nightmare’ film. Maybe I should watch that first. ** Bill, Hi, B. You know, when I was young, I used to go to the Pike in Long Beach once in a while, and there’s no way I would have gone without going through the dark ride, so I must have seen McCurdy’s corpse a number of times, but probably under a strobe light or something. I was very, very disappointed in ‘Memoria’. I could barely sit through it. Did you like it? There are certainly those with good taste who do. ** Jamie, Hi, Jamie! Great to see you, old pal! Yeah, my blog is sadly phone unfriendly, and yet I guess I don’t care enough about that to change its wicked ways. Thank you re: my b’day. I’m good, thanks. Glad you’re O-free. Me too, so far. I mean as far as I know. How are you? What’s going on, buddy? xo. ** T, Yeah, if there’s heaven, and, well, there isn’t, I would think McCurdy must be kind of a revered cult figure up there. The fucking robot was broken yesterday, so we didn’t get our robot pizza. Grr. I know nothing about the pizza in a bottle thing, and that is absolutely disgusting, wow. And that’s coming from someone who sometimes likes disgusting things like Kandy Korn. I’ll have to guess, but I think the robot pizza would win that contest. Heck, I can’t think anything that wouldn’t win that contest. Yuck. But a fascinated yuck. Hope your Wednesday makes every avalanche reverse course. xo. ** Misanthrope, No, you’re the only person I can think of who’s rude and cruel enough to have reminded me. Ha ha. Actually, others did too. Evil is afoot. Well, if I do outlive you, I’ll make sure your corpse is a stage prop on every future Judas Priest tour because god knows they’ll outlive both of us. ** Niko, Hi, Niko! I don’t know where you are in the editing, but, yeah, March is soon. You think you can buckle down and get obsessive enough over the next couple of months? Your novel sounds absolutely amazing, need I even say. Massively up the alley of my interests. Wow. Having just concentrated on working with emoting in ‘I Wished’, I found that the intensity counteracts or erases the sentimentality. Or maybe I mean locks it down to the point where it functions, has an effect, but doesn’t swamp the tone, which is the worry. It sounds to me like you’re going to be okay on that front. Most of the battle, at least for me, is recognising the danger and, thereby, never allowing it to control you. Or something like that. Creating something that people can’t immediately categorize/canonize is always paramount in my goals. It’s a matter of balancing that with readability. As long as I think what I’m working on is readable and employs the pleasure that readability requires, I feel pretty free to go as far afield as I want. But, yeah, you do end up with work that a lot of people find too difficult. Anyway, the way you think about your editing rings very true to me. That sounds quite exciting. Nice cover! Awesome! It’s terrific to talk with you about your work. Thank you! ** Paul Curran, Hi! Yeah, right? Wow, I don’t know that story about Kichizō Ishida’s genitals. Crazy. I’m going to look into that, naturally. Excellent that the writing goes well! What is the Apocalypse Party project? That’s very exciting. I like that press a lot. Very, very cool! ** Okay. I decided to give you a galerie show by the awesome IMO LA artist Dave Muller. See what you think. And then I’ll see you tomorrow.


  1. L@rst

    Hey D!

    Really love this guy’s stuff! I just got a book of someone who paints stacks of book spines. Similar redness. Check out this person who makes teeny tiny vinyl and has a tiny room to put it in… Teeny Tiny Vinyl If my link is broke again I’m sure a search will yield such a thing. I’m m chilling sans wisdom teeth. So bizarre getting knocked out for the surgery, never been under general anesthesia before. I didn’t realize it required a breathing tube, that freaks me out but no memories of it. Definitely worth it.

    Seeing Malkmus play on Sunday at a cool venue up the street with Matt Sweeney doing Trad Techniques stuff. Should be cool.


  2. David Ehrenstein

    Marvelous stuff today. Vinyl LIVES!

    I didn’t like “The Shape of Water” either but credit must be given where and when it’s due. Del Toro is widly uneven, but very talented and in the new “Nightmare Alley” things really work.

  3. Dominik


    Yeah, I ask myself what the fuck we are, as a species, almost every day, haha.

    Cautiously, cautiously, and without prying, but I’ll say the news about your potential funding situation sound pretty promising! I’m keeping my fingers tightly crossed for you!!

    Imagine all the people walking around with bills in their pockets that suddenly transform, haha! So many random bands and street gigs, though… Ah. I’d love it. Thank you, love! Love planning to surprise his lover by wearing a candy thong to their date, but by the time they get home, it melts in his ass crack, so it’s all just one sticky mess and a bare string, Od.

  4. Jack Skelley

    Denniz! This is great! Luv the Karen Carpenter drum kit. Last week I took my son Paul (big Sonic Youth head) to the Carpenters’ “Close to You” and “We’ve Only Just Begun” apartments in Downey. Paul recreated the famous photo of Thurston Moore standing next to the apartments with himself as Thurston. I see peeps are talking about Nightmare Alley movie. A bookhead friend who knows both the 1946 novel and 1947 movie sez Blandley Cooper is no Tyrone Power. For what it’s worth. Remember, it’s not just yer birthday. It’s yer birthweek and birthmonth !!! xoJack

  5. _Black_Acrylic

    Dave Muller is evidently a record buyer after my own heart. Wonder what his Discogs feedback is like?

  6. Bill

    Muller has an impressive and diverse collection. (I assume all those items are actually in his collection.) That Karen Carpenter drum kit is too funny.

    I didn’t get to Memoria last night; will try later this week. Finally saw Fruit Chan’s Made in Hong Kong, which holds up pretty well.

    Nightmare Alley is better than the water film. It’s no Chronos though.


  7. Jamie

    Hey Dennis,
    I’m glad things are good with you and I see you’ve possibly, tentatively got some funding for Room Temperature. I’ll add my crossed fingers and toes.
    Things are okay with me, I think. Our trip to Scotland involved a lot of time with my parents and that’s left me in an odd mood. They’re old and they can be kind of bitter. It’s affecting. I’ve been going to some experimental film evenings in Brussels, which have been amazing. There’s a group of folk who meet and show films in a gallery once a month, Covid willing, and it’s exactly the kind of thing I’ve been looking for since I got here.
    Hope things are good in Paris. What’s the level of restrictions? The Belgian government seem to be fucking things up a lot atm. Just after Xmas they said all the cinemas had to close and a bunch of the cinemas refused, saying it didn’t make any sense as there was no evidence of infection coming from them, so the government had to apologise and say they could stay open.
    Hope you have a bonne Thursday.

  8. Niko

    I really appreciate your thoughts on editing and how to mediate emoting in writing, thank you so much for being so encouraging and generous. I’m completely obsessed with the novel, all I can do now is focus as hard as I can in these draining pandemic conditions until March and see how far I can push the work. Luckily I get to keep editing it until June even if we decide in March to publish it in August. I’ll come back here later in the Spring to let you know what happened, I wish you lovely things until then and beyond. Thanks again!

  9. David

    Dave Muller looks like someone I once had a three way with Den… handsome half Mexican…a Keanu Reeves lookalike… also in the music industry he was called Mat… the other guy was called Adam… who sort of looked like Trinity from the Matrix film… we had a thing for about a year…. both were American…

    Love ‘The Smiths’ decaying image… very unique!!

    I walked to an island today at low tide called Hilbre… the sun was out the whole time… I was wearing Wellington boots… I deliberately pissed on them half way… as I had to go for a slash behind some rocks… turns out there was a toilet on the island anyway…. seemed to be just me and several others in the vicinity… afterwards I watched the sun go down whilst eating chips and curry sauce…

    Thanks 4 the post


  10. Steve Erickson

    I got the fixed Mac laptop back today! I am excited to return to my essay on Takashi Miike.

    On Facebook, someone recently posted an image of an apocryphal 7″ single of “Revolution No. 9,” released by “Capitalist Records.” Is this a Muller work?

    I went to a movie theater for the first time since New Year’s Eve last night. Unfortunately, it was for a press screening of SCREAM, which is about as bland and needless as I thought going on. Paramount did not live up to its promise of maximum 40% capacity in the theater they rented for the occasion. Depending how cold it gets at night, I hope to see Jarman’s BLUE this weekend.

    Thanks for the Randy Newman suggestion. I’ll check out LITTLE CRIMINALS.

  11. Brendan

    I was blown away by much of the music on your birthday list, but Halo of Flies just floored me. I can’t believe I’ve never heard it. Alice at his most noodly and shapeless. And Here Come the Rome Plows rocked my world. And of course Rend It, which by way of being on my absolute favorite Fugazi record, I’ve been pondering for three decades now. Hope you had a good one, if having a good one is even possible anymore.

    In other news, I wonder how you’d feel about having a ‘Safer at Home’ day on the blog? We could show some shots of the book, shots from the book, maybe a few new, previously unseen images, and of course Mr. Skelley’s wondrous prose. That’s the pitch. It’s your blog so I await your sage thoughts. Love, B

  12. Paul Curran

    Great stuff today, so many fantastic, iconic images. I particularly love the empty drums!

    Brendan, that whole Alice Cooper album (Killer) is incredible, and HoF the best.

    Dennis, Yes! The mysterious fate of Ishida’s genitals is as interesting as Abe’s story itself. I read about it in Schreiber (2001) The Dark Side: Infamous Japanese crimes and criminals. He says the TU hospital records were all over the place, and no one knew the exact location. I was trying to figure out a way to cram the search into my J-Novel, the kind of ultimate Macguffin, ha, ha, ha… The hospital also apparently held the genitals of Oden Takahashi, one of the last females to be beheaded in Japan (1879). She was meant to have been very difficult to behead. The study of reproductive organs was apparently popular in confirming criminal deviance after western science arrived in the Meiji era.

    The Apocalypse Party project is a short novel called Generation Bloodbath, based on a piece originally for Ragged Lion Journal. I’d been trying to do something fast and fun because my J-novel was taking so long and I didn’t want to rush it, and Ben thought GB might fit AP Party. It actually started with messing around on Twitter, and the great DL Gregory Howard commented something like I hope this is from your new novel, and I was like it is now. The original version was 66 sentences, mostly, and the book will be 666 sentences. Kind of aphorisms for the end of the world, but not really. It’s basically written, but I’m editing and rearranging. I want it to be kind of intuitive, rather than either random or heavily outlined and structured, which is how I usually work. Another great DL (and I Wished cover artist!), Kier, is onboard for the cover… So, hopefully out sometime this year…

    • Paul Curran

      p.s. Brendan, I’d love to see that day!

  13. Brian

    Hey, Dennis,

    These are so charming. Charming feels like a sort of twee reductive word, actually, but that’s what I thought of, and I don’t mean it like that. Such obvious affection for the music in here. And just super impressive as paintings, too. That’s cool about your not-quite Book Club. Which Mishima short story did you read? I haven’t read any Chekhov yet or seen Buñuel’s “Simon of the Desert”. Buñuel is a filmmaker I really want to like but somehow haven’t quite clicked with yet, even though I totally admire and appreciate what he’s doing. A cursory google search suggests I’ll need Ingeborg Bachmann train myself. Yesterday a copy of your scrapbook “Gone” arrived from the U.K., and I’ve spent the time since reading it. It’s totally fascinating to me. You’re right about what you say in the interview at the start, that it’s really immature and crude, but that’s sort of exactly what interests me about it: as a document of your process. Because the actual work that resulted from this is so incredibly perfect and immaculate and sophisticated, so it’s just really fascinating to see it in an earlier stage when you were still sort of grappling to work out these associations. Inspiring, even. Also, wow, I knew Fales had destroyed ten pages, but had no idea they defaced so many others. That makes me so mad. But that aside, I’ve gotten a lot out of reading it. It’s been my main focus since Monday. That and watching the first season of that “Euphoria” HBO show with my brother out of morbid curiosity. It’s as sensationalistic, exploitative, and utterly ridiculous about adolescence as anything I’ve ever seen on the subject, and only succeeds as complete trash tv. Which I’ll admit I’m not better than, from time to time. Anyway, comparing those two, your book slamdunks. Glad to hear that things are maybe tentatively possibly God-or-whoever-willing about to roll a little forward on the film funding front. All of us in the comments section here are channeling some witchy energy cone to make it happen. A gangbusters Thursday your way.

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