ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH, 2017
Greetings once again from Chicagoland. Winter is slowly turning into Spring and, I have to tell you, this past Winter wasn’t anything like the ones I remember as a kid growing up here 50+ years ago. In fact, it was almost like a Portland winter (rain, one big snow, lots of mild days) and it has confused the heck out of me (and the plants and trees and people who shovel snow for a living), but I’ll take it any day over -30 degree wind chills, snow up to here and icy sidewalks. Too bad that we had to ruin the planet to make for a nice winter in Chicago, but that’s another column for another publication…
I’m continuing to work hard on my book and, based on the feedback I’m getting from folks who’ve received some of my “leaks”, it should be something that any fan of album cover art/artists will like. Quite honestly, it’s deciding what to/not to include in this first collection that’s been the toughest part, because I want to share everyone’s stories, but I’m trying to keep the book’s length to less than a thousand pages and published price at less than a million dollars, so some things will have to be reserved for a follow-up effort. More to come, for sure.
In this month’s summary (which, luckily for me, falls on a Friday, allowing me to combine my weekly/monthly posts into one – I’m just a lazy guy), you’ll find more examples of the stories about the talented people working to produce great visuals for clients in the music business. You’ll find that the galleries, publishers, curators, etc. who support and promote these works are continuing to promote these good works and are sharing the fascinating details about what they do with the rest of us. There continues to be a significant number of items about album cover art/artists in daily the news cycle, adding items of interest and fascination to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information you’ll read on a wide range of related topics.
Please share this info with everyone you know who are fans of great album cover-related talent and, of course, your comments and feedback are quite welcome.
1) Upcoming, recently-launched/CuRRENTLY-RUNNING and just-closed show/exhibitions –
a) One of the key events on the calendar of any fan of illustrative art is the The MoCCA Arts Festival in Manhattan, NY. This 2-day multimedia event, taking place on Saturday and Sunday, April 1st and 2nd at the Metropolitan West venue on West 46th Street (with a kick-off event taking place on Friday evening) is billed as “Manhattan’s largest independent comics, cartoon and animation festival”, drawing thousands of attendees each year.
In addition to the 400+ exhibiting artists from disciplines such as comic books, animation, commercial/editorial work and the book publishing world that will have their work on display, there will be artists on-hand – including several award-winning honorees who’ll be holding seminars/lectures and demonstrations – who’ve expanded their portfolios to include work on album covers such as Alexandra Lobo, musician/artist Jeffrey Lewis and “guests of honor” including (among others) Drew Friedman, the comic artist and prolific editorial illustrator who’s also done covers for Michael Nesmith, Mike Bloomfield & Al Kooper and several “best of” compilations, V For Vendetta’s David Lloyd and Becky Cloonan who, in addition to being the first female artist to draw Batman for DC Comics, is the artist responsible for a Gaugin-inspired 2006 album cover for a rap act with one of the best names in the business, The CunnyLinguists.
There will also be film and educational programs that will be taking place during the event, so click on over to the Society of Illustrator’s event page via the link to learn more – https://www.societyillustrators.org/mocca-arts-festival
b) Photographer Brian Griffin has long supplied the world of album art with many of its best-known images, including his work with designer Barney Bubbles and the Stiff Records label and for musical acts such as Kate Bush, Depeche Mode, Echo & The Bunnymen, Joe Jackson, Iggy Pop, R.E.M. and many others. In the late 1970s, Brian’s keen eye and unique approach to framing an image produced both several series of much-lauded photos for editorial and commercial clients and a limited-edition photo book (now out-of-print) with designer Bubbles called © Brian Griffin 1978 and, beginning April 13th at The Society Club’s gallery space in Soho, London, a series of 18 darkroom prints taken from that book will be put on display in an exhibit titled Circa 1978.
According to Mr. Griffin, in thinking back on this work, “the thing about the 1970s is that it was very still. If you look at my images from that time, and from others like my best friend Martin Parr, there’s a remarkable stillness to them. I don’t really know if we were looking forward to anything. But at the same time, there was of all this amazing music and art being made under the surface.” He’s since stated that the book was really a self-portrait of himself at the time, symbolically-represented, so if you’d like to have the opportunity to dig further into the psyche of one of the U.K.’s most-influential and awarded portrait photographers, please follow the link to The Society Club’s info page on the event – http://www.thesocietyclub.com/events-1/2017/3/14/soho-circa-1978-a-exhibition-of-work-by-brian-griffin
Show hours are Monday – Saturday from 11.00AM – 6.00PM (Closed Sundays)
c) On display now through April 23rd at Proud Galleries Camden (U.K.) is a photo show featuring the works of Paul Harries in a 20-year career retrospective exhibition titled Access All Areas: Photographs by Paul Harries. Well-known in hard rock/metal music circles for his portraits of top acts including Metallica, Muse, Nirvana, Ozzy and Slipknot (among many others) and for his many years of editorial photo contributions to Kerrang! magazine, the exhibition showcases Harries’ portfolio that also includes dozens of shots used on records released by Cradle of Filth, Killswitch Engage, Arch Enemy, Napalm Death and the Dropkick Murphys. There are a number of limited-edition prints that are on sale (at very reasonable prices, I might add), so if you’d like to see what’s on hand and learn more about this very talented shooter, please click on over to the Proud Galleries site at https://www.proudonline.co.uk/exhibitions
d) Wednesday April 5th at 1PM EST, photographer and American Crew hair care products founder David Raccuglia leads a lecture at Berklee College in Boston, MA titled “The Style of Elvis: A Talk with David Raccuglia”. Part of a week-long series of events (running April 3rd through the 7th which includes displays, lectures, discussions and film screenings) that have been developed to help showcase the business side of Elvis Presley’s career (all under the moniker “Elvis Legacy Week: Music Makes an Artist, Style Makes an Icon”), David will be highlighting the unique and long-lasting visual and stylistic aspects of Presley. hoping to imbue on these students that they can monetize their own images and, if possible, “create a recognizable brand.”
In these days of having to manage and develop valuable relationships with new and existing fans, who better to base your success story on than the man from Tupelo, MS who, while raised in a shotgun shack built by his father before starting out his career as a musician while still a young teen, grew into one of the most-successful entertainers/entertainment brands in pop music history. Raccuglia, who has helped build the visuals (including album cover shots) for entertainers including, Pete Yorn, Phanton Planet, Otis Taylor and, more recently, Iggy & The Stooges while building his company into an industry leader in salon products, seems quite qualified for the task of guiding young people poised to enter the business world. More on this lecture is available via the link at https://www.berklee.edu/events/panel-style-elvis
e) Over his 50+ year career in the arts, designer John Van Hamersveld has ingratiated himself to art fans via his notable output in the areas of music (Magical Mystery Tour for The Beatles, Exile on Main Street for the Rolling Stones and Hotter Than Hell for KISS are just a few examples), film (the iconic surf film Endless Summer) and post-punk fashion (stylings for Blondie and post-Sex Pistols John Lydon), it’s only fitting that he be on hand as part of a group of influential local artists being presented under the moniker “California Locos” (and who’ve each contributed greatly to the Los Angeles-area cultural scene) whose works were featured in a “pop up” show that was staged over the weekend beginning March 16th (and running thru March 19th) that coincided with the long-awaited opening of the newest skate park there.
The “California Locos” are Chaz Bojorquez, Dave Tourje, John Van Hamersveld, Norton Wisdom and Gary Wong and, according to a promo by the Manhattan Beach (CA) Art Center, the venue that hosted this show, “together and separately, these forces of artistic nature embody the innovative, lively, and rebellious spirit of Los Angeles. Rather than suggesting a cohesive or coinable L.A aesthetic, California Locos presents a collision of visions – a kaleidoscopic perspective of the urban art experiences through highly individualized and expertly crafted works of art: from loose and spontaneous performance painting, to deliberate psychedelic graphics and painterly street graffiti. What unifies these artists is their shared conviction that being raised in this sprawling metropolis fundamentally and distinctively informs and guides their art.”
Fans had a chance to meet the artists, listen to some live music, tour the art exhibition and take in the cool skate park vibe in a series of events staged throughout the weekend. More info is up on the Manhattan Beach city web site – http://www.citymb.info/city-services/parks-and-recreation/cultural-arts/exhibition/upcoming-exhibitions
Add’l info and photos from the shindig can be found on the event’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/events/879707702172085/
f) Both an exhibition and an opportunity to meet some of the music industry’s best-known graphic artists and then buy some of their latest creations, the “Flatstock” shows have always been a great draw and, with the latest one – Flatstock 59 – having taken place recently as part of the uber-popular SXSW show in Austin, TX, I’m sure that the tradition continued in fine style. As you know, many of the artists that work in the album cover art arena also labor to provide their clients with imagery for their live shows, and with gig posters typically available at very-affordable prices, this show has always served as the place where smart collectors go to augment their collections.
This year’s show – organized by the American Poster Institute – ran for three full days beginning March 16th and was available for viewing by all SXSW pass holders inside the Austin Convention Center. More info on the show can be found on their Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/events/686209521550960/? while more about Flatstock and the American Poster Institute, organizers of the event, can be seen on this site – http://americanposterinstitute.com/flatstock
g) And I thought that I was a hoarder! Turns out that, when you’re in a band for 40 or 50 years, you tend to accumulate a lot of stuff and, when you’re a big-enough act, you get the opportunity to share what you’ve collected with your fans, and charge for the privilege! I’d like to point out two such examples today – one continuing on its world-wide tour and the other launching later this Spring:
– The Rolling Stones’ Exhibitionism tour continues its major city/venue conquest when it closes in NYC on March 12 and then moves its over 18,000 square feet of rare memorabilia to Chicago’s Navy Pier area this coming April. According to the folks staging the display, the show will “immerse visitors into the largest touring exhibition of its kind ever to be staged…core to Chicago’s brand and history is our amazing tradition of music – from the birthplace of the Blues and Jazz to the continued evolution of all forms of music and entertainment today – on our stages, on our festival grounds and in our nightclubs,” said David Whitaker, President & CEO of Choose Chicago. “Having the privilege of hosting The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism gives us a tremendous platform to provide visitors with not only anew reason to visit, but also a compelling opportunity to experience it in the heart of our city at Navy Pier – one of the most successful attractions in the United States.”
The exhibition launched last year at London’s Saatchi Gallery and, after setting attendance records there, moved to the Industria venue in New York City, where it has garnered many positive reviews there as well. After its Chicago run, the show will travel across the globe to Sydney, Australia.
Complete information on the show can be found at http://www.stonesexhibitionism.com/exhibitionism-is-coming-to-chicago/
– London’s Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum has hosted some stellar rock music-oriented shows within its hallowed halls in the past, the most-recent being the exhibition built around the life and music of the late David Bowie. The positive reviews (and major bump in attendance) the venue received from that show certainly served as the inspiration for the development of the next show slated to open there this May 13th that, based on the advance press info, looks like it’ll be a smash. Working with Pink Floyd alumni Nick Mason, Roger Waters and designer Aubrey Powell (from the famed Hipgnosis design firm), The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains will showcase over 350 examples of artwork, stage props, photographs, video and more from the band’s earliest incarnation (including the talented-yet-tortured Syd Barratt) up to their 2014 Endless River release and will include a re-creation of the famed underground club UFO, where Floyd was the “house band” nearly 50 years ago.
DesignWeek’s Tom Banks provides a nice overview of the upcoming show, including comments from all of the players involved in the organizing and staging of it – https://www.designweek.co.uk/issues/13-19-february-2017/va-set-blockbuster-pink-floyd-exhibition/
2) Artist interviews/profile articles –
a) When you’re both a top-tier designer and a huge Pink Floyd fan, I’d assume that when you’re given the opportunity to work with the band and their long-time design guru Aubrey Powell to design the packaging for a huge, multi-volume collection of PF music (“6 Individual Volumes available as Multi-disc Book-bound packages Featuring Rare Tracks, Demos, Interviews, and Film Footage Each ‘Year’ CD, DVD & Blu-Ray package includes Photo Book & Memorabilia”, as described on their product promo site), it becomes an opportunity to really “show your chops”. And as it was an opportunity added on to an original design brief that was limited to designing some type for a re-working of the band’s Animals record, you can also assume that they’d want to rise to the occasion and present the best work possible to this very important client, with the story behind this new work by Pentagram’s Harry Pearce and his team now detailed in TWO new stories that have been posted, the first by Katharine Schwab on Fast Company’s Design site (https://www.fastcodesign.com/3069074/pink-floyd-records-new-identity-was-40-years-in-the-making) with the other by Rachael Steven on the Creative Review site – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/pink-floyd-records-early-years-box-set-hipgnosis/
Released last year on Pink Floyd Records, Pink Floyd: The Early Years documents the band’s early output from 1965-1972. You can review all what’s included in each of the volumes on their site at http://the-early-years.pinkfloyd.com/
b) In this recent NME profile featuring 2X Grammy-nominated designer Mark Farrow of London’s Farrow Design, you’ll get the inside scoop about his latest work for UK hip-hop artist Michael Omari, better known to his fans as “Stormzy”. Teaming up with photographer John Ross, whose portfolio includes album cover images for musical acts including Manic Street Preachers, Pet Shop Boys, Spiritualized, David Gray, Kylie Minogue and DJ Shadow as well as promo imagery for Quentin Tarantino’s film Inglorious Basterds and commercial work for brands including Piaget, Ducati and The Botanist Islay Gin (a personal favorite of yours truly), the pair chose to produce a recreation of DaVinci’s The Last Supper, with a balaclava-clad Stormzy and his compadres stepping in to the roles of Christ and his disciples, for the cover of the young grime sensation’s latest release titled Gang Signs & Prayer (AKA “GSAP”).
Farrow, who has music client credits for work for many of the aforementioned acts as well as others including Burt Bacharach and Snow Patrol, worked with Stormzy and Ross for weeks before they arrived at an approach that would not be seen as a parody of the highly-revered but, rather, as a modern representation of the musician’s faith.
Read more of reporter Jamie Milton’s profile at http://www.nme.com/blogs/how-stormzy-made-gang-signs-prayer-album-cover-1999236
c) The April 2017 issue of Juxtapoz Magazine has a profile/interview I think you’ll find interesting with Brooklyn-based artist/musician/collector of all things odd-yet-beautiful-in-their-own-special-way, Joe Coleman, Jr. Interviewed by noted production designer Gregg Gibbs in advance of an upcoming solo art exhibition that launches April 8th at the Nicholas & Lee Begovich Gallery on the campus of Cal State Fullerton (CA) – one that takes visitors back to his early days as a comic book artist and then over several decades to his more-recent work as a fine artist, producing highly-detailed epic-scale works that can often include as much text as imagery.
With a personal collection of macabre artifacts that’s been organized into what’s known as The Odditorium, Coleman also has several album cover credits including work for musical acts such as The Delgados, Damnation and Ambush, along with a late 70s disc by his own band, Steel Tips. He also created promo art for the John McNaughton-directed film Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer that proved to be as controversial as the film’s subject material. This profile will give you a deeper look into what has sculpted Joe’s approach to art-making, including time he spent as a taxi driver in New York City back in the days when it was a tad seedier than visitors will find it these days….https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/magazine/joe-coleman-the-devil-and-design-in-the-details/
Details on the upcoming art show (including the April 8th opening reception) can be found on the gallery’s site at http://www.fullerton.edu/arts/art/galleries/begovich_gallery/begovich_detail-3.php
d) Famed album cover art director Paula Scher is the subject of Episode 6 in the recently-released Netflix series featuring profiles on eight different artists who’ve made names for themselves in all aspects of the graphic arts world. Now available for binge-watching are the eight episodes that make up the first season of Abstract: The Art of Design, with this batch including hour-long portraits of Scher and her compatriots in the design world including notables such as architect Bjarke Ingels, illustrator Christoph Niemann, Nike’s Tinker Hatfield (of Air Jordans fame) and set/stage designer Es Devlin, who counts music industry design consumer Kanye W. amongst her clients.
The New Yorker‘s Rob Walker takes us on a brief tour of the series, produced by former Wired Magazine editor Scott Dadich, and his accompanying commentary makes us think a bit about just how broadly-defined the word “designer” seems these day – the same way that the use of the word “architect” has been expanded beyond its original (perhaps a bit too far, in some cases). Read Rob’s article/intro (“Celebrating Design Without Contending With It”) via the link at http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/celebrating-design-without-contending-with-it and, to learn more about the series and watch its trailer, click on over to https://www.netflix.com/title/80057883
e) In case you missed my mid-week post touting my interview with Taschen Publishing’s Julius Wiedemann regarding his take on the roles album cover art serves in the worlds of fine art and pop culture (in support of his latest book, Art Record Covers), I’d invite you to take a moment and link over to the ACHOF site to read it – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/interview-with-taschens-julius-wiedemann-about-his-newest-book-art-record-covers/
f) The Detroit-based Whign design collective (“a creative team composed of Thinkers, Artists, Progressers and Entrepreneurs, linked with a common purpose, possessing skills and talents that vary depending on the task at hand”), lead by 25-year-old design phenom Antonio “Tony The Whlgn” Robinson, has been responsible for the memorable designs featured on records and promo materials for music industry clients such as Joey BadA$$’s Pro Era collective, Big K.R.I.T., Dej Loaf and the Cinematic Music Group and commercial clients including Mark Ecko Enterprises and KITH NYC.
Andre Ellington recently contributed an article to the Rolling Out entertainment web site in which he interviewed the group’s manager, Allante Steele, about Tony’s background, career and the importance of relationships and networking when it comes to doing business these days – http://rollingout.com/2017/02/21/tony-whlgn-designer-behind-favorite-album-covers/
Based on what we’ve seen so far, this young artist will be impressing us for many years to come.
g) Be on the lookout later today (March 31) for a specially-posted article featuring excerpts from a feature by designer/music journalist Andrew Dineley on the talented French design team of Pierre et Gilles. I’m very pleased to be able to share this with you, so check back soon.
3) Sales/Auctions –
a) As I had reported a couple weeks back, the San Francisco Art Exchange LLC (SFAE) has been selected to offer collectors a chance to own part of what the gallery is calling “the most valuable collection of rock and roll artwork ever to be offered for sale”, that being a group of eleven original paintings by artist Gerald Scarfe that served as the visual backbone for both the film and record album of Pink Floyd’s 1982 epic productions of The Wall.
According to a newer press release I received this week on the topic, “the paintings being offered have been carefully selected by Scarfe as his most important works, and include several of the most famous images in rock history due to their association with The Wall. Among the paintings are the true definitive originals for iconic artworks such as The Scream, Wife With Flaming Hair, Giant Judge and Hammers, The Mother, Education For What? No Jobs!, The Wife’s Shadow, One of The Frightened Ones, The Gross Inflatable Pig, Comfortably Numb, and The Teacher, as well as the massive original storyboard created for the film which incorporates 50 original renderings.”
One of the paintings available for purchase, Giant Judge and Hammers, will be prominently on display in London beginning May 13, 2017 as part of the Victoria & Albert Museum’s eagerly anticipated The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains, while a major exhibition will be held in July with Scarfe in attendance at the invitation-only premier to be held at SFAE’s gallery on Geary Street in San Francisco, CA, with more details to be announced soon. Gallery reps have told me that several of the works have already been spoken for, so if you’d like to see what remains and grab a bit of rock ‘n’ roll history to add to your own collection, I’d suggest clicking on over to the gallery’s site at http://www.sfae.com/announcements/2017/the_wall/index.html
b) The Heritage Auction house hosted another Entertainment & Music Memorabilia auction in mid-March in Dallas, TX that had several album art-based offerings should have been of interest to collectors. While autographed record albums aren’t usually the focus of my reporting, the variety of signed covers – along with other items such as promo displays, original tour art illustrations and the like – being offered was such that I thought I’d pass the info on…
Included in the auction were signed record cover presentations from musical acts such as Aerosmith, Eurythmics, The Police, The Beatles, Def Leppard and many others. Online bidding started at 12:00PM Central Time, Saturday, March 18, 2017, while Live Proxy bidding on Heritage Live started 24 hours before the live session and continued through the session’s end.
Here’s a link to the auction’s page on the Heritage site –
UPDATE – I checked back after the auction to see what was sold, and it looks as though some items did quite well for their previous owners, while others were had at less-than-expected prices. For example, an autographed photo of Michael Jackson taken during the cover shoot for Bad sold for $4750 (it had a starting bid of $500), and a signed Bad LP sold for $1500. A cardboard store display for the Rolling Stones’ Some Girls – featuring a design by Peter Corriston, who’d go on to design the band’s next 3 covers, along with the eye-catching Illustrations of Hubert Kretzschmar – sold for $3750 and a fully-autographed copy of Regatta de Blanc from the Police was picked up for $425, while on the other end of the spectrum, autographed copies of Touch by Eurythmics, Whiplash Smile by Billy Idol and Love Bites by Judas Priest (delivered on a very colorful picture disc, to boot) sold for $137.50, $94 and $79 respectively, showing collectors that bargains may still be had in these big-name auctions!
c) Alisdair and Mike at Visual Gallery are having a sale featuring some special pricing on a nice selection of album cover art prints including AC/DC’s Back In Black, John Lennon’s Walls & Bridges, several different Rolling Stones cover prints (inc. Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main Street and Some Girls) and a print of the gatefold cover for The Who’s Tommy (with art by Mike McInnerney) that has been autographed by lead singer Roger Daltry. You can take a look at these and some of the other sales items they have available via this link – http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1101302370472&ca=a9df76cc-e19d-494a-b06f-728e5f743f93
d) On March 11th, the Potter & Potter Auction House in Chicago staged a Movie & Music Memorabilia Auction that included a couple of items that fans of album art should have been of interest to collectors. The first item is a limited-edition lithograph print of the cover art for Billy Joel’s 1993 record River of Dreams (which boasts a cover painting by then-wife Christie Brinkley) that’s been autographed by the Piano Man himself – http://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/billy-joel-autographed-river-of-dreams-lithograph-608-c-64f47b2909
The print had a pre-auction estimate of anywhere from $150 – $300, but sold to a lucky collector who presented a $200 high bid. I’d expected this to sell for more than the asking price, but then, what do I know?.
Another item I’d highlighted – a purple hooded cape that the talented and mysterious singer Stevie Nicks wore to her photo shoot with Herb Worthington for the cover image for her 1983 release The Wild Heart, was up for sale to those willing to add a significant charge to your credit card account this month. This bit of rock & roll history had a pre-auction estimated value of $1000 – $2000, with current bidding at $600 when I’d first written about it and which ultimately sold for $1000.
I’m certain that whoever purchased this cape is bound to show up to an event with this on, with fans in the know either Standing Back (or would they Run To You)?
4) New Print/Book Publishing –
a) Friend of the ACHOF Andrew Dineley (of Liverpool’s SoftOctopus Design Studio) is now writing a new column for a new print/digital publication – an offshoot of the popular Classic Pop magazine) that’s targeted at the growing base of vinyl record fans (and, I can only assume, fans of LP and 7″-sized record artwork and packaging). About ready to release its second issue in the UK, Long Live Vinyl magazine will be home to Andrew’s regular contributions about “collecting and fandom” under the banner “A Few of my Favourite Things”. The pub’s first issue included his article about a “super fan of Prince” and his personal memorabilia collection, along with a nice feature on famed album artist Roger Dean. Andrew’s second article – to be included in the upcoming issue – will be quite personal as it is built around his own personal collection of all things Pet Shop Boys.
If you’d like to learn more about this new publication, click on over to the publisher’s page at http://anthem-publishing.com/longlivevinyl
Here is a link to a subscription page for UK customers – https://anthem.subscribeonline.co.uk/vinyl
and for folks in the US and Canada, here’s a link to their North American distribution partner’s site – http://www.imsnews.com/home.php?page=magPage&pubid=10314
Those on Facebook can stay updated via their news stream – https://www.facebook.com/longlivevinyl
Update – The magazine has launched its own web site, which can now be visited and its news stories explored via the link – http://www.longlivevinyl.net/category/news/
b) While I’d previously told you (see Section 5, item D, below) about the upcoming series of postage stamps created to honor the memory of the late, great David Bowie, the folks at Goldmine Magazine recently pointed me to a company called Buckingham Covers that provides collectors with “something special” – in this case, a series of limited-edition, framed art pieces built around these stamps. For example, they’re promoting an item called the “Limited Edition David Bowie Vinyl Art Framed with UK First Day Cover” (priced from £101.06) that puts six of the new stamps featuring the following album covers: Hunky Dory (1971); Aladdin Sane (1973); Heroes (1977); Let’s Dance (1983); Earthling (1997) and 2016’s Blackstar and a Heddon Street postmark (14th March, 2017) on top of a photo taken at a live concert. Topping this off is a work of vinyl art, cut with a water jet, done in the shape of Bowie’s Aladdin Sane
Other items in the collection include two more first day cover sets, so if you’d like to grab something a little different for yourself or the David Bowie fans in your life, click on over to the Buckingham Covers site to view what’s available…https://buckinghamcovers.com/goldmine?
c) Heralded designer Aubrey Powell teased us all several years ago with a book about some of the work done by the much-lauded design group called Hipgnosis when he authored the 2014 tome titled Hipgnosis Portraits (which included a nice forward by Robert Plant) but, hey folks, it’s 2017 and now we want it all and Mr. Powell and the folks at the Thames & Hudson publishing house will be fulfilling that request next month when they release Album.Cover.Art, a collection that includes all 377 record covers the group produced throughout its entire history. With a portfolio that begins in 1967 with work for their chums Pink Floyd through instantly-recognizable covers for Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, 10ccs and many others, the book (with a foreword by the aforementioned Mr. Gabriel) is an instant classic. Due to be published on April 13th, pre-orders are now being accepted at your favorite booksellers and, if you’d like to read a short preview article on the topic, Anton Spice has provided such a thing on The Vinyl Factory’s site – http://thevinylfactory.com/news/vinyl-album-cover-art-hipgnosis-book/
d) Nearly every “best album cover” list you read has the cover for The Beatles’ Pepper’s at or near the top of it, and with music fans celebrating the 50th anniversary of the record’s fall from Heaven onto our turntables later this Spring, I was happy to receive notice from author Bill DeMain about his collaboration with famed artist Mike McInnerney and writer Gillian G. Gaar which has resulted in a new book titled Sgt Pepper at 50: The Mood, The Look, The Sound, The Legacy Of The Beatles’ Great Masterpiece that will bring all of the unique aspects of the album’s conception and production to light for us.
DeMain, whose contributions to publications such as MOJO, Classic Rock, Mental Floss and Performing Songwriter, also leads visitors to Nashville, TN on the top-rated walking tour of this music-centric town – “Walkin’ Nashville”, while McInnerney, the former art editor for Britain’s International Times and the painter of the image used on the gatefold cover of The Who’s Tommy, received an Individual Achievement Award for that work in 2012 from the Album Cover Hall of Fame . Set for release on June 1st (the date of the record’s release in 1967), the 176-page full-color book (with over 225 illustrations) can be pre-ordered now at your favorite bookseller.
5) Other articles of interest –
a) Like anyone who was an avid reader of Rolling Stone Magazine in the 1970s and early 1980s, I was always more-than-impressed by the wonderful portraits of celebs from all walks of life that were included, with most of them shot by the mag’s top photographer, Annie Leibovitz. During that time (and continuing on until this day), she also fed album cover fans with a steady stream of memorable images, including cover shots for acts such as The Band, Boz Scaggs and Cyndi Lauper, and so it was with great interest that I read this recent Artnet.com article (https://news.artnet.com/art-world/annie-leibovitz-archive-luma-foundation-890540?) by Caroline Elbaor about an archive of over 8,000 photographs that were donated to Switzerland’s LUMA Foundation and which selections of will soon be put on display in a new show at the group’s Frank Gehry-designed digs in Arles, France (the Grand Hall in the Parc des Ateliers) called “Annie Leibovitz Archive Project #1: The Early Years”.
Opening on May 27th, the exhibition will, according to the article, “focus on the photographer’s work between 1968 and 1983 and is intended as the first of several projects dedicated to Leibovitz’s career-beginnings. The show will also mark the first time that the archives become available to the public.” The Foundation declared that the show is “Intended as the first of several major projects dedicated to the study and reinterpretation of the artist’s living archives” and “traces her development as a young artist, and follows her successes in the 1970s as she documented the culture that defined this pivotal era.”
The show will be on display until the 24th of September, with more info available on their web site at http://www.luma-arles.org/programme/#annieleibovitzarchiveproject#1
b) The Herb Ritts Foundation estimates that, during the photographer’s brief-but-influential career (he died in 2002 at the age of 50), Ritts shot over 2 MILLION rolls of film, out of which scores of memorable images, including album cover photos for clients such as Madonna, Olivia Newton-John, Billy Idol, Warren Zevon and many, many others. Another of his famous subjects was Elton John who, readers of this news feed know, is quite the art collector himself and who, during the many years of their friendship and working relationship, added a number of Ritts’ fine art prints to his personal collection.
On April 6th, as part of a fund-raising effort for Sir Elton’s Elton John AIDS Foundation, one of the photographer’s better-known shots – Backflip, Paradise Cove, 1987 – will be included in an auction held in NYC by Christie’s. This particular image is made even more valuable as it was one that Ritts hung in his own home, and so the charity will certainly benefit nicely from this sale, with a pre-auction estimate set at $40,000 – $60,000. As part of the promotion of this event, the auction house has posted an article on the item that also includes a 4-minute video about the photographer that fans will certainly enjoy –
c) Ken Robbins left his job as an editor for the Doubleday publishing house in New York City in the early 1970s and moved out to the East End of Long Island – better-known as The Hamptons – to live a quieter life there. He and his wife first opened up a small movie theater and then began photographing the local landscape, with his pictures soon becoming as much-appreciated as his wit and generosity. Expanding his subject material to create a greater range of still life photos, his work would go on to be used in many books, magazines and album covers, where his credits include work for Miles Davis (Circle In The Round), John Hammond (Nobody But You) and several designs and photos for Aretha Franklin.
As news sometimes doesn’t get to me that quickly, I have the sad task of reporting that Ken Robbins died 2 weeks ago at his home in Springs, NY at the age of 71. I’d seen his work several times in galleries, as illustrations in local papers and at the Hecksher Museum in Huntington (where I lived at the time) and also remember some of his beautifully-illustrated educational kids books. Truly someone who used his talents to make broad swaths of people happy, it’s sad to see him gone so young.
Here’s Ken’s obit in the local East Hampton Star paper – http://easthamptonstar.com/Obituaries/2017323/Ken-Robbins-Noted-Photographer
d) Writing for Design Week (UK), Tom Banks talks to the talented folks who helped design and develop the new series of Royal Mail postage stamps based on the career of the late David Bowie. The latest in the organization’s Classic Album Art series (now in its 7th year), the stamps are sold alongside a collection of ancillary items including specially-curated “presentation packs”, a series of art prints and other collectibles created by the Supple Studio in Bath, UK. , whose other work for their Royal Mail clients includes several “year packs”, “collector’s packs”, commemorative designs for the Queen’s 90th birthday and products based on the Adam Hargreaves-authored “ Men & Little Miss” book series.
In addition to the album cover-based stamps, there’s an entire group of items that showcase Bowie’s time spent in Berlin, Germany (1976-78) rightly-titled David Bowie: The Berlin Years.
See more of Supple Studio’s work, along with a nicely-illustrated tour of their Bowie-related output, on their site a http://supplestudio.com/work/david-bowie
Finally, as if Bowie’s fame and influence were not enough to entice collectors, a rather-unique stunt was launched – and I do me “launched” – that took 52 sets of the new stamps into space via weather balloon. The balloon rose to over 110,000 feet before trackers lost contact with the craft, but if you go to the project’s site at http://www.royalmail.com/stampstoearth you’ll be able to watch a 20-minute video shot by a camera on the balloon before it finally tumbled to the ground. Where did “The Stamps That Fell To Earth” fall? If you can guess the answer sometime between now and March 26th, you could win one of the high-flying stamp sets for your very own. Grab your compass and trident and take your best guess…
e) The art historian behind the Art Record Covers book previously discussed on this site – Francesco Spampinato – has grabbed 13 of the covers he and Julius W. have included in the book and provided some anecdotes on each in an article recently published on the Creative Review web site – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/art-record-covers-10-great-sleeves-visual-artists/
As part of my own work history included some years in the music television business, I was pleasantly surprised to see one of the covers that has always reminded me of the fun some musical acts have while creating the promo packaging and videos they do for their recordings – this one being the very funny-yet-disturbing cover derived from the identity-bending music video (featuring a stretch limo that will remind movie fans of the opening scene from Spaceballs) crafted by British video pro Chris Cunningham for Irish electronic act Aphex Twin’s 1999 release Windowlicker.
For a quick bit of entertainment, Cunningham has one of the more-intriguing web site home pages you’ll find, too – certainly a test for your video card – http://chriscunninghamstudio.com/
f) The people of the Brixton neighborhood in London, U.K., have always been proud of their local-boy-done-good, the late rocker David Bowie, but now that he’s gone, they’ve decided to work on a more-permanent way to honor his legacy. Launched in late February, there’s a crowd-funding effort to build a Aladdin Sane-influenced lightning bolt sculpture – tentatively-titled Ziggy Zap – that would stand almost 30 feet tall, with comps supplied by the This Ain’t Rock ‘n’ Roll design team (Jon Daniel and Daniel Fisher) – the same folks who created the artwork for the specially-produced £10 note circulated locally beginning in 2011 that bears Brian Duffy’s famous Aladdin Sane cover photo on the front of that currency.
Creative Review’s Mark Sinclair posted an article recently that provides us with the background on this project – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/david-bowie-memorial-project-launched/
As of this date, the organizers have earned about £50,000 of the £990,000 they’ve determined they need. With only 17 days left to the campaign, it’s looking as though the area near the local Underground station will have to be happy with the large-scale mural that was installed a few years back, but perhaps some well-heeled Bowie fans will come in soon to save the day. You can contribute to the cause via the link – http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/bowie
UPDATE – The project did not raise the needed funds so, sadly, the initial project scope will have to be revisited. Nonetheless, the organizers are undaunted and, according to their project funding site, ” we have no plans to go away. We are still determined to celebrate David Bowie, in Brixton, with a challenging and appropriate piece of public art. We’re just going to have to approach the fundraising in a different way…Along the way, we’ve learned a hell of a lot. And we’ll be able to plough that learning back into the project, and return with a ZiggyZag #2 that’s even better (and hopefully a bit cheaper).” With over 700 pledges made from fans all over the world, I’ll be sure to follow up on this as more information becomes available.
g) Judas Priest album art fans who clicked on over to the Goldmine Magazine web site before March 15th had the chance to enter to win a limited-edition, autographed litho print of the band’s Turbo 30 record cover. Fans will recall the original Doug Johnson design featured on the band’s original 1986 release Turbo (featuring fan favorite tune “Turbo Lover”) and will really be impressed with the sound of this newly-remastered album, so while you might be a little too late for this particular contest, I’d invite you to sign up to get Goldmine‘s e-newsletter, where you’ll greatly improve both your knowledge of all things classic vinyl and get advanced notice about future contest opportunities. If you’d like to see what you missed, click on over when you get the chance – http://www.goldminemag.com/features/judas-priest-turbo-autographed-lithograph-giveaway?#/
SPECIAL NOTE IN SUPPORT OF THE ARTS – I have always worked to make sure that my reporting was focused on the facts and not so much an expression of my own tastes, keeping my editorial comments mostly of the humorous variety. With today’s news regarding the new Administration’s proposed gutting of Arts and Humanities program funding from the federal budget, I find it necessary to appeal to everyone who understands the importance of these programs to both a well-rounded education for our kids and the livelihoods of those who use government grants to further their efforts to produce great art, music and writing for all of us and ask you to make sure to contact your local/state/federal representatives to implore them to maintain these investments in our country’s future.
Unless, of course, the plan is to hire all of these artists to paint the border wall and have musicians and poets perform on stages set up along the way but, somehow, I don’t think so…
To read more about what’s been proposed and how it will affect the targeted programs and the products they produce, click over to writer Caroline Elbaor’s recap on the Artnet site – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/trump-proposes-eliminating-national-endowment-arts-893744
That’s all for now – look for updates every week (typically, on a Friday) on our news feed – https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back early next month with another summary for you.
All text Copyright 2017 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.