ACHOF Exhibition Tour – Tailored Jackets: Second Fitting
An exhibition of album covers on display at Oklahoma City College’s Inasmuch Foundation Gallery, with details provided by the show’s organizer, Scott A. Tigert, Cultural Programs Assistant.
A follow-up to the first Tailored Jackets show, which was on display in the college’s gallery – part of the school’s Visual & Performing Arts Center – from September 10 through October 31, 2014 (and which included 55 autographed albums, including examples from Patti Smith, Fleetwood Mac, Peter Gabriel and many others), Tailored Jackets: Second Fitting taps the same collector’s expansive private collection of autographed album covers to bring 59 of them to the gallery’s appreciative audience.
As it is that we here at the ACHOF are always thrilled when a museum or education institution works to present album cover art to an all-ages audience – particularly, those younger viewers who may only know album art in a 12″ square format from digging through their parents’ record collections – I contacted Scott to ask him to give me more information on how the show came about and whether he could provide us with more details and views of the show in its current form. He was happy to reply and, for your enjoyment, here are the anecdotes he provided, along with some additional photos of the exhibit, which is on display until March 27th, 2015.
“Hey Mike – Thanks for the interest. We hope the exhibit will further educate people regarding this important field.
Our show is based on a private individual’s collection of autographed albums. They started collecting a while back and, since they didn’t have any place to display them, stored them here and there about their house. The first “Tailored Jackets” show came about this way – we needed an exhibit for the gallery, the collector mentioned that they would loan albums for the exhibit, but they didn’t have any exhibit notes, text, etc. We needed an exhibit, so we put up a group of signed albums and received nice comments from many people who toured the show.
During the exhibit, OCCC President Paul Sechrist asked me, “Tell me something about the exhibit.” I told him what I knew about the albums – mostly, whatever info the collector had related to me. When Cultural Programs Assistant Director Richard Charnay inquired if it would be possible to do another exhibit of albums and we found out that the collector had another exhibit’s worth, I brought up the idea that we should develop gallery text for the items we’d put on display. Cultural Programs Director Lemuel Bardeguez agreed to let us develop a second show with gallery text, and so we began the research process.
We are in the process of branding the Visual and Performing Arts Center Theater, which includes the Inasmuch Foundation Gallery, and we all agreed this would be a great opportunity to include the gallery in the process – the exhibit cards and intro panel would be in the same style as the signs used throughout the Theater. We first realized that many of the people looking at the albums would have no idea what they were viewing if the albums weren’t labeled. Since we grew up with them, we had some ideas about them but, for young people who have never seen these albums, it was probably a different story.
Since the albums covered an broad expanse of time, we decided to exhibit them chronologically, and so we first listed each album’s title and its year of release. Then, we decided to list the artist of the album and, if the album was signed, we listed who had signed it. During the research process we discovered that some sites listed the “sometimes credited” unsung heroes of these albums – i.e., the graphic designers and artists, typographers, liner note creators, etc. Since the show was focusing on the jackets as well as the signatures upon them, we decided to include this information. We then presented a bit of history about each album, highlighting information about the covers themselves if it was available. During the research process, we were delightfully surprised to find that many of the collector’s albums were historically important.
So, while there was no specific criteria for what we displayed (we worked with what we were given by the collector), we think that it turned out well.
Scott also sent me the text that is used to introduce the gallery’s visitors to the exhibition, which serves to provide a nice overview about album art history and its role in presenting important snippets of Pop Culture since the creation of album covers over 70 years ago….
“Jackets (album covers) have been around in one form or another since 1910. One of their artistic predecessors may have been sheet music. The jacket, as most people think of it, was introduced in 1938 by Columbia Records’ first art director, Alex Steinweiss. His introduction of album covers and cover art caught on and by the late 1940s most major record companies featured their own artwork.
From the 1950s to the 1980s, the 12” LP record and the 45 rpm were the major formats for the distribution of music and featured the creations of all types of artists, graphic designers, photographers, writers, and typesetters. The jacket became an important part of the culture of music at this time, both as a marketing tool and expression of artistic intent. Listeners, as well as shoppers, had ready and easy access to an outpouring of creativity that dazzled, delighted, and shocked. Jackets also influenced the way people looked at and interpreted a world that was changing almost as fast as albums, containing ‘the voices of the people’ expressing their hopes, dreams, desires, observations, and even their fears, were receiving airplay. Both the imagery that was upon and often inside these jackets, and the sounds within, left a lasting impression on the psyche of the people who lived through this period. Both jackets and albums are still receiving the attention of the world and the institutions that preserve the world’s cultural artifacts.
With the advent of CDs and digital downloads, the classic 12” LP is in hiatus, if not an endangered species. In August 2008, album cover designer Peter Saville, responsible for cover art on albums by New Order and Roxy Music, suggested that the album cover was dead. During their golden years, jackets were transported throughout the world. Those in this exhibit were, in addition to their designed function, utilized to accept the signatures of the musicians whose music led to their creation. We’ll never know exactly what took place at the time these signatures were received, though anyone who has had the opportunity of obtaining the autograph of one of their musical greats knows the singular experience. Enjoy the imagery, the graphic design, the typesetting, framing, and the ‘signature tailoring’ of these jackets that continue to engage all who partake of their finery.”
See more at: http://www.occc.edu/news/2015/tailored-jackets.html
All images used to illustrate this article are the express property of Scott Tigert and the Oklahoma City Community College and are used with their permission. All article text is Copyright 2015, Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com, except as noted, which is Copyright 2015 Scott Tigert and the Oklahoma City Community College and are used with their permission.