Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update – April/May, 2019
Posted May 1, 2019 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Although last Sunday’s snowstorm dumped several inches of powder on my just-popping-open tulips, it looks as though that might have been the last of it and we can now look forward to Spring and all of the joy it brings us. My regular scours of the Internet also pointed me to a number of newly-hatched stories about our favorite subjects – album cover art and the work of the people that make it – and so here’s a quick summary about some of the new exhibitions, artist appearances, book releases and other stories that I think you’ll enjoy:
Exhibitions/gallery shows –
1) Opening of Contact High hip-hop photography show in LA – One of the first books I found when starting to source some of the content I’d need for the Hip-Hop Historical Timeline project I’m working on for the Universal Hip-Hop Museum (www.uhhm.org) was Vikki Tobak’s beautifully-done photo book Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop which, per the book’s intro, “is an inside look at the work of hip-hop photographers told through their most intimate diaries – their contact sheets”. Beginning with Joe Conzo, Jr.’s 1979 photo of party-meister Kool Herc and Cold Crush Brothers founding member Tony Tone and taking us through the highlights of hip-hop history (ending with Phil Knott’s cover shots for A$AP Rocky’s 2012 record Long,Live.A$AP), the book now serves as the basis for a show that opened recently at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles (one that runs there through August 18th). The show includes nearly 140 photos from 60 different shooters and includes over 75 of the original contact sheets of the photo sessions that produced the shots we’ve come to know and love.
More info on this show is available on the museum’s site at https://www.annenbergphotospace.org/exhibits/contact-high/
You can also read through a review of the exhibition posted by Quartzy’s Johnny Simon that gives you more background on the show, the featured photographers and the people who labored to put this all together for us – https://qz.com/quartzy/1602581/biggie-kendrick-lamar-and-salt-n-pepa-in-rarely-seen-photography/
2) Commercial banker/punk art/ephemera collector Andrew Krivine’s incredible collection has been tapped over the years for shows on the topic (items from his collection have also served as the basis of a 2011 exhibition at the Steven Kasher Gallery in NYC – Rude and Reckless: Punk/Post-Punk Graphics, 1976-82 – a survey of “the extraordinary diversity of Punk and Post-Punk graphic design” – and the 2014 show staged at the Galleries at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, PA that opened in January, 2014 called Pretty Vacant: The Graphic Language of Punk). Now, at Museum of Art and Design in NYC (also running through August 18th), a comprehensive new show pulls out all of the stops to give fans a sense of what things looked like after everything punk invaded our collective sensibilities forty years ago.
Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: Punk Graphics, 1976-1986 was organized by Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and curated by Andrew Blauvelt, Director, with the assistance of Steffi Duarte. The presentation at the Museum of Arts and Design was managed by Curatorial Assistant Alida Jekabson, with more information available at https://madmuseum.org/exhibition/too-fast-live-too-young-die
The show’s opening night featured an appearance by none other than Mr. Johnny Rotten himself – – https://news.artnet.com/exhibitions/johnny-rotten-museum-art-design-1526224?
And additional coverage of the show, its contents and how the aesthetic continues to shock, mortify and produce prodigious outbursts of joy and laughter can be found in these articles in Newsweek – https://www.newsweek.com/too-fast-live-too-young-die-punk-graphics-1385424 and on the WWD.com site – https://wwd.com/eye/lifestyle/mad-punk-graphics-exhibit-museum-arts-design-1203090402/
3) Several weeks ago I’d posted some basic info on an exhibition that was opening in Malmo, Sweden at the Moderna Museet featuring the works of Pop Art master Andy Warhol and that a fellow album cover lover/blogger – Dr. Richard Forrest – had given his entire collection of Warhol-crafted album covers – some 81 covers in all, spanning from the 1950s through the 1980s and including Warhol’s work for clients in the jazz (Artie Shaw, Kenny Burrell, Johnny Griffin, etc.), rock (Velvet Underground, John Lennon, Rolling Stones) and pop (Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Paul Anka) genres.
Since that time, the show (which is on display now through September 8th) has attracted fans from all over the world, and Dr. Forrest was kind enough to send along several photos of his collection as it’s on display, and all I can say is WOW and suggest quite strongly that anyone travelling to that part of the world be sure to take the time to see these covers – and the entire Warhol collection – in this setting.
More details on the show (and its previous staging in Stockholm) can be found on the museum’s web site at https://www.modernamuseet.se/malmo/en/exhibitions/warhol-1968/
4) The life and times of one of rock music’s most-heralded photographers – the late Jim Marshall – is now the subject of a new film that has been garnering great reviews and, most-recently – was chosen as an official selection of the San Francisco International Film Festival. Show Me The Picture: The Story Of Jim Marshall has been a long-standing labor of love of its director – Alfred George Bailey, a photographer, film-maker and former jazz drummer who has worked covering the music industry for more than 30 years. Marshall’s work – first shooting album covers for ABC, Atlantic and Columbia Records, the on assignments beginning in the early 1960s for The Saturday Evening Post, Rolling Stone and LIFE magazines during which he captured memorable performances of The Beatles, acts at the 1967 Monterey Pop festival, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, Woodstock and other seminal moments in rock history – had a great influence on Bailey’s own career as a photographer and cinematographer, so I’m sure that it was more than a treat to have been able to attend the event hosted by the folks at the San Francisco Art Exchange last April 19th, when attendees were able to meet not only Mr. Bailey but also the film’s executive producers as well as other members of the film’s cast and crew.
Of course, the gallery put up a large exhibition of fine art prints of Mr. Marshall’s work for you to view, so prepared to be overwhelmed with both the power of Marshall’s imagery and the talents on display that night at the SFAE reception. If you’d like to view the collection, please contact the gallery (located at 458 Geary Street in the heart of downtown S.F.) at 415-441-8840 or visit them at www.sfae.com
5) Making his first investment towards his career as a photographer, 14-year-old Mark Weiss bartered some manual labor mowing lawns for his first camera and converted his family bathroom into his darkroom. Later that year, he began sneaking his camera into local concert venues to capture close-up performance shots of his favorite musical acts. Pleased with the results of his efforts, he embarked on his first professional enterprise – selling his photos of acts including David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and Queen to fans outside his favorite venues. In 1977, after an extended stint by KISS at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the young Mr. Weiss was attempting to sell his photos from the event outside the venue when he was arrested for bootlegging, leading him to believe that the next best step for him in his career would be as a paid professional.
After his release from his night in prison, Mark took his portfolio and headed straight to the offices of Circus Magazine and introduced himself to the art director there. In 1978, a photo he’d taken of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler became his first published work in the magazine and he then joined their staff as a photographer, responsible for shots for the magazine’s features and covers. As a self-professed “super fan” of his subjects (in particular, the hard rock, metal and glam bands so popular at the time), he built strong relationships with his subjects, their managers and the record labels and earned the nick-name “Weissguy” for his ability to show the bands from a fan’s perspective.
By the end of the 1980s, Mark’s photos were featured in a number of influential rock magazines including Circus, Creem, Hit Parader, Rock Scene and Rolling Stone. Expanding his subject list to include celebrities in all walks of life, Mark was also on hand when MTV launched in 1981, serving as their principal in-studio photographer and capturing shots from a series of iconic in-studio performances and interviews. He was also an in-demand photographer for album cover shots, beginning with his well-known image of Twisted Sister’s Dee Snyder holding a bone on the cover of their 1984 release Stay Hungry (a cover featured prominently in the PMRC’s case against violent song lyrics and imagery, during which Snyder eloquently defended himself against the ridiculous questions of the prudish Committee members) and adding many others to his portfolio thereafter.
Mark went on to become the official photographer for the Moscow Peace festival in 1989 and he continues to work with long-established clients including Aerosmith, KISS, Guns N Roses and Ozzy while adding a number of current musical acts such as Christina Aguilera, Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna, Gwen Sefani, Justin Timberlake and Usher, just to name a few. Later this month, beginning with an opening reception on Thursday, May 16th, a collection of Mark’s photos will serve as the basis of a show that will run through Sunday, June 3rd at the C. Parker Gallery in Greenwich, CT. Mark and Fox 5 NYC anchor Steve Lacy will be on hand during the opening weekend during which you’ll see his iconic shots of artists including Bon Jovi, Guns n’ Roses, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen and more. https://www.cparkergallery.com/big-hair-good-times
6) Continuing on now through October 1st at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC is the Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll exhibition co-organized with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I’ve written about this show previously and, while it’s not a show with a focus on album cover imagery, the fact that approximately 130 of rock music’s most-recognized instruments (and costumes, posters, etc.) – many of which have appeared in photos that have been used on album packages – are on display and, at several points during the show, will be played by their owners – is a unique opportunity for us mere mortals to see the instruments that made the music that made us so happy over the years.
1) Speaking of the Met Museum, I found out that the work of a fellow Chicagoan -actor/musician/artist Tony Fitzpatrick has one of his colorful covers for musician Steve Earle on display in the museum’s Mezzanine Gallery where another music-oriented show called “The Original Prints of George Condo, James Grashow and Charlie Hewitt.” In addition to Fitzpatrick’s cover art, several other artists of note will have works on display, among them Oscar Abolafia, Iranian-born Taher Asad-Bakhtiari, Richard Bosman, Eduardo Fausti, Helen Frank, Richard Haas, Wendy Mark, Mitchell Schorr, Randi Solin, Carol Wax, Chuck Webster and, rock photographer Michael Zagaris.
There’s a nice interview with Fitzpatrick, along with details of the show, at https://fineartglobe.com/artists/chicagoan-tony-fitzpatrick-earns-spot-at-the-met/. You can read more about Fitzpatrick’s Renaissance Man qualifications on his site at https://tonyfitzpatrick.co/pages/about
2) Former MTV/VH-1 personality Mark Goodman hosts a podcast show called “Debatable” on Sirius/XM Volume radio and, this past April 18th – on the anniversary of the death of famed album cover designer Storm Thorgerson – he brought together three noted designers – Cey Adams, Spencer Drate and Judith Salavetz who, between them, have produced hundreds of well-known and award-winning designs – in a roundtable discussion on the subject of album covers – their relevance, today’s landscape, etc.. Spencer was kind enough to share a link to the Soundcloud-based home of this hour-long interview – https://soundcloud.com/user-98469046/sirius-xm-volume-mark-goodman-interviews-spencer-drate-and-judith-salavetz/s-y1cV6
The show’s hosts ran an unscientific-but-still-interesting “Top 5 Album Cover” poll prior to this show – https://www.facebook.com/siriusxmvolume/photos/a.1630537766964086/2825300010821183/?type=3&theater
3) Stereogum’s Zack Schonfeld interviewed five noted photographers who share their unique stories about shooting album covers for the enigmatic Bob Dylan – https://www.stereogum.com/2040064/bob-dylan-photographers/franchises/interview/ You’ll hear from Jerry Schatzberg (Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde), Rowland Scherman (who won a Grammy for the cover of Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits), Jimmy Wachtel (who lent Dylan the shirt he wore on the cover of Good As I Been To You), Paul Till (Blood On The Tracks) and Elliott Landy (Nashville Skyline).
4) While you’re on the Stereogum site, why not pop on over to – https://www.stereogum.com/2038017/weyes-blood-titanic-rising-interview-underwater-cover/franchises/interview/ to read Ilana Kaplan’s Interview with Weyes Blood’s Natalie Mering about how she collaborated with photographer Brett Stanley to create an underwater bedroom set in a Long Beach, CA pool used on the album cover shot for her Titanic Rising album.
5) Last month’s installments in Juxtapoz Magazine’s ongoing Sound And Vision album art series include details behind the making of record covers for Black Sabbath’s Paranoid (https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/photography/sound-and-vision-the-slight-mixup-on-the-cover-of-black-sabbath-s-paranoid/); one of rock music’s most-controversial and disturbing covers, that being the one using a photo by Joel Brodsky that’s found on George Clinton/Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain (https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/photography/sound-and-vision-spooky-psychedelia-funkadelic-s-maggot-brain/) and, lastly but not leastly, another brain-themed cover, that found on funk-punker Bad Brains’ debut album, with art by Donnell Gibson and Jay Jones – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/design/sound-and-vision-bad-brains-bold-self-titled-album/
6) Now there’s a new album cover art “making of” series for you to look at and learn from…on the Breathe Heavy site – contributor Jordan Miller brings us this “deep dive” into the work behind NSYNC’s year 2000 mega-hit No Strings Attached’s cover art, with photo by Mark Seliger – https://www.breatheheavy.com/nsync-no-strings-attached-art/ 15 million paying fans (including 2.4 million in the record’s first week of release, a sales record that remained in place until singer Adele topped it in 2015) can’t be wrong…
7) Hip hop shooter Jonathan Mannion has a lot of stories to tell about his work with Aaliyah, Busta Rhymes, Eminem, Jay-Zm Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Nas and many more DJs, MCs, rappers and others in the genre. He’s also collaborated with FADER Magazine after its 1998 launch to produce a long list of cover images for the rapidly-growing music and lifestyle publication and, more recently, working with street fashion retailer Moose Limited (MLTD), he’s featured in the third installment to its digital interview video series, ‘The Grinds TV with Bobby James’. I’m pleased to be able to point you to this interview with the legendary photographer and film director via this link on the GrungeCake site – https://grungecake.com/jonathan-mannion-mltd-presents/articles/51496
New Products (Books, Prints, Other)
2) Super-premium art book publisher Genesis Publications is celebrating its 45th year in the business by bringing out the final 600 signed/numbered copies (from a total edition of 5000) of a book that USA Today once described as “the most stupendous rock and roll picture book ever assembled”.
Photographer Michael Cooper died tragically in 1973, leaving behind him a portfolio of work that included the covers for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for The Beatles and that trippy lenticular image found on the Rolling Stones’ …Satanic Majesties’ Request. According to the folks at the publishing company, “during the last stages of his life he conceived the idea for BLINDS & SHUTTERS and expressed a wish that it should be published with a little help from his friends. In an astonishing response, 93 contributors (including three Beatles, and all the Stones) banded together to provide the book’s text”, with the book first published in 1989. There are over 600 photographs in the book, along with 30,000 words of text from 93 people who contributed to and chronicled the 1960s, from musicians such as Eric Clapton and George Harrison, to artists Andy Warhol and David Hockney and writers William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. In addition, the publishers collected 50,000 autographs from participants while gathering the content for BLINDS & SHUTTERS in 1989.
This final five editions – priced at £695 (approx. $907 as of this date) and including the autographs of at least nine of the contributors, including (in the various editions) Eric Clapton, Yoko Ono, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Klaus Voorman, Keith Richards and others – are presented in a special anniversary binding. The large-format (360mm x 250mm) 368-page book is printed on a fine quality, heavy (170 gsm) paper and then quarter-bound in leather with foil blocking and silkscreened page edging, with an individually-placed photograph inset into the book’s front cover. A hand-made slipcase houses each book.
So, if you’re looking for the ultimate gift for any fan of 60s-era music and culture, run-don’t-walk your mouse pointer over to – https://www.genesis-publications.com/book/0904351378/blinds-shutters-book-photography-by-michael-cooper? with shipments to commence in July of this year.
2) Just fell to earth and looking for something to cover your naked alien body with in order to walk amongst the strange creatures that surround you? Perhaps you should look at the new David Bowie-based shoe/apparel line from Van’s, described in great detail in this article on the Juxtapoz site – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/fashion/vans-announce-and-reveal-a-full-limited-david-bowie-capsule-collection/ Shop online at https://www.vans.com/bowie.html
3) I continue to be impressed with the breadth and depth of the highly-detailed and very-collectible lines of statues and 3-D album cover re-creations popped out by the talented team at KnuckleBonz. Due out this fall is a new Ozzy 3-D cover you’ll recognize as the one found on the father of all metal vocalist’s second studio solo release – Diary of a Madman – which would look nice on the wall near their recently-released 1:9 scale “Rock Iconz” statue based on Mr. Osbourne’s famous pose found on his Blizzard of Ozz recording. Both items are officially licensed and beautifully hand-painted.
Pre-order your DOAM 3-D Vinyl product at https://knucklebonz.com/product/ozzy-osbourne-diary-of-a-madman-3d-vinyl/, while the Ozzy Osbourne II Rock Iconz statue is in-stock and shipping now. https://knucklebonz.com/product/ozzy-osbourne-ii-rock-iconz-statue/
4) Looking for something just a bit different to enhance your display of mid-century modern art and furniture? Perhaps this new “SUMO-sized” book from the folks at Taschen Publishing will fill the bill, with this one based on the photos of David Bailey – https://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/photography/all/03173/facts.david_bailey.htm
These HUGE books come with a special Mark Newsome-designed viewing stand. 3000 total copies – 2700 in the general edition ($3000, inc. stand) plus 300 in the “art series”, which add one of four limited-edition signed prints (75 each) – portraits of John Lennon/Paul McCartney, model Jean Shrimpton, Mick Jagger and artist Andy Warhol. The package including Bailey’s Lennon/McCartney portrait sold out quickly at $15,000 each, while the remaining three packages are selling for $12,500 each.
Other items of interest –
1) In this month’s edition of my “art world prices out of control” overview, I’d like to share this item about the recent sale of a painted parody done by the Pop artist known as KAWS of the famous Sir Peter Blake/Jann Haworth/Michael Cooper-produced cover for the Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band album for The Beatles. While a collage by Sir Peter Blake used to create an insert for the Sgt. Pepper’s – showing the aforementioned Sergeant and the four Beatles and meant to be cut out of the album jacket by fans as a souvenir – sold for over £55,000 at an auction at Sotheby’s in 2012, the KAWS version, which portrays characters looking remarkably like TV’s The Simpsons and which was commissioned by Japanese streetwear/lifestyle entrepreneur NICO in 2005 – sold for almost $15 million at an auction last month at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, which must be a record for a parody of a famous record album cover!
Read it and weep in Artnet – https://news.artnet.com/market/kaws-auction-record-sothebys-1505122
That’s all for now – stay tuned and be on the lookout for timely news alerts on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back when we can with another monthly summary for you.
Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2019 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.