Posted June 1, 2022 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Greetings to you all. Now that June is upon us and thoughts of summertime fun and frolic begin to fill the empty (or is it “not yet filled”?) spaces of our minds, I know that it is up to me to work even harder to bring you things on the ACHOF site that have enough intrigue to grab your eyeballs and whatever attention span you have left to take a look at and, if I’ve done my job right, enjoy and pass on to your friends and others you think might enjoy them as well. This month’s summary, I believe, has enough examples of “who is doing what” in the world of album cover art and packaging that it may be worth your while to put down the barbeque tongs for a minute, grab your favorite beverage and scroll down the page a bit to see what’s on offer.
In this month’s summary, you’ll find updated reports about new and ongoing exhibitions, news about the ongoing efforts and output of some of the top talents working in music packaging, new items available for sale (including several new books and some interesting new prints) or at auction and scores of other items on our favorite topics. One item I’m hoping you’ll look at is the link in the Exhibitions section to a virtual display of the recent show of photographer Richard Beland’s works at the Brian Liss Gallery in Toronto as its really well-done and shows off how today’s technology can be used to transport us to places we might not see otherwise.
Squeaking in with something new at the end of the month, I’m happy to announce that I’ve posted my recent interview with a pair of professors who’ve written two books (and dozens of articles) about album art (with the interview turning the tables somewhat on them to find out about their own favorite examples of the craft) – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2022/05/27/achof-featured-fan-collection-interview-professors-jonathan-schroeder-and-janet-borgerson/ In addition, you’ll find links to the work of some of the dedicated writers who work hard to produce articles that share the stories of some of your favorite album covers along with many other interesting examples of great/interesting work being done all over the world. And, with any luck, you’ll soon be treated to another new feature article/interview – one with the team of designers who won one of this year’s Grammy Awards in the Packaging category for their work on the 50th Anniversary packages built around George Harrison’s memorable All Things Must Pass album.
So, without further delay, let’s begin our look at the most-recent goings-on on our favorite topic – album cover makers and their always-intriguing output. Enjoy the read:
Exhibitions and Gallery Show Info (new and upcoming soon) –
a) The work of Grammy Award-winning photographer Rowland Scherman – perhaps best-known in album cover art circles as the man who shot the cover photo for an album (Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits) that not only featured Scherman’s iconic photo but also came packed with a Milton Glaser psychedelic poster that’s one of rock music’s best-known images) – is currently on display at the Provincetown Art Association & Museum in Provincetown, MA through June 26th.
According to the show’s promo press, “Rowland Scherman was a pivotal figure in documenting life in the 1960s. He photographed many of the iconic musical, cultural, and political events of the decade, including the 1963 Newport Folk Festival, the March on Washington, the Beatles’ first US concert, and Woodstock. He traveled with Bobby Kennedy on his campaign for the presidency, went on tour with Judy Collins, was in the studio when Crosby, Stills, and Nash recorded their first album… The exhibition features Scherman’s photographs from the 1960s and related ephemera, with notable inclusions such as: Scherman’s Grammy Award for the album cover of Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits 1967 album, and the award winning photograph; the 1964 cover showing the largest photo of Lyndon B. Johnson ever made and the corresponding photograph; and photographs of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin, Judy Collins, Sidney Poitier, Janis Joplin, Arthur Ashe, Bobby Kennedy, Barbara Walters, and more”.
To learn more about the show, please visit the museum’s web site at https://paam.org/rowland-scherman-spirit-of-the-60s/ Scherman’s archives are part of the collection of the UMass Amherst Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives http://scua.library.umass.edu/umarmot/scherman-rowland/ with Mr. Scherman, a resident of the area, still adding new works to his portfolio. Learn more about this talented shooter on his website at https://www.rowlandscherman.com/
b) Friend of ACHOF Dr. Richard Forrest’s personal Banksy album art collection is a featured part of a new show on the mysterious artist that opened in late May in NYC – “Banksy – Building Castles in the Sky” – (An unauthorized exhibition) – opened May 28 at the former International Center of Photography Museum. 250 Bowery, New York (running through 31 December 2022).
This is a continuation of the travelling show sponsored by the Italian Fondazione Metamorfosi and been shown in prestigious exhibition halls in several Italian cities including Rome, Genoa, Ferrara and Parma, and also in Basel and Lugarno in Switzerland. Curated by Stefano Antonelli and Gianluca Marziani, the exhibition that includes paintings, sculptures, prints and over 30 record and CD covers from Richard’s amazing collection (which we’ve toured through a bit previously – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2019/08/02/achof-featured-fan-portfolio-a-tour-through-collector-richard-forrests-favorite-album-covers/ ).
I’m hoping to learn more about the show from its curators soon but, until then, I’d invite you to visit the site to learn more and grab some tickets to what looks to be a truly-impressive, multi-media exhibition of one of the world’s most-talked-about artists – https://www.newyorkbanksy.com/
Right before the show’s opening, Richard flew into NYC to tour the show and sent me some photos of the samples of Banksy album art he loaned out to the show’s producers and, based on these shots, it’s one impressive display.
Richard also recently added a Banksy-related post to his own blog (Recordart.net) in which he shares some info on one item he saw in the show’s collection that he’d previously been unaware of – a Banksy commission for a late-1990s album cover for the band Massive Attack that was never used! Read this, and then we’ll all know the story! https://recordart.net/2022/05/30/banksys-cover-art-for-a-massive-attack-album-that-was-never-used/
c) A recent H.R. Giger show at NYC’s Lomex Gallery drew record crowds and gave fans of the late Swiss artist an amazing chance to see examples of his work – drawings, paintings, prints and sculptures – in a beautiful setting. After closing their own show, the gallery then brought a selection of Giger’s works to the Independent Fair show that ran from May 5th – 8th and now continues online until month’s end, reachable at the following link – https://ovr.independenthq.com/viewing-room/lomex2 (registration required).
I took a virtual tour and was pleased to see examples of the phantasmagoric album art Giger created for ELP, Blondie and Danzig, among others, alongside some of the works that have helped define the sci-fi movie genre’s “look and feel” ever since – i.e., his characters for Alien (for which Giger won an Academy Award for “Best Achievement for Visual Effects” in 1980. Giger’s work in the film business continued to include designs for Poltergeist II, Alien 3 and Species.
Read a brief interview with the curator of the gallery about this display at https://news.artnet.com/market/independent-lomex-hr-giger-2110039
There’s another related item down in the Artist News and Interviews section – an interview with Blondie’s Christ Stein that delves into his creative relationship with the late Mr. Giger.
d) In my March, 2022 summary, I’d shared the news about artist Ruby Mazur’s foray into the world of NFT art, used as a way to raise money for brain cancer research (with Mr. Mazur himself being a survivor of that affliction). Now, I’m happy to share the news of an art show opening in Hawaii to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his contributions to the famed “Lips & Tongue” logo developed for the Rolling Stones – https://artdaily.cc/news/146473/Ruby-Mazur-celebrates-50th-anniversary-of-his–mouth—tongue–image-designed-for-the-Rolling-Stones#.YoQIJajMI7M
e) While the ACHOF’s coverage of the album art industry in Croatia over the years has been quite sparse, here’s an article about an exhibition in Zagreb featuring the works of Ivan Ivezić, “the most productive Croatian vinyl record cover designer, who designed some of the most memorable covers for Jugoton (today Croatia Records) from 1960s to 1990s” – https://www.croatiaweek.com/prominent-croatian-vinyl-record-cover-designer-exhibits-works/
Thru June 10th at the HDD Gallery in Zagreb – http://dizajn.hr/ (in Croatian)
f) After a successful showing of his works at the Brian Liss Gallery in Toronto that closed at the end of May, Canadian rock photographer Richard Beland – someone who has been shooting live music events all over the world for more than 30 years (over 3000 shows!) including shows by U2, David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Kiss, Dolly Parton and The Rolling Stones, among others. Hailing from Sarnia – a town in Ontario, just across the St. Clair River from Port Huron, Michigan – Richard will be bringing his career-retrospective collection – one he calls “Our Immortal Stars” to a gallery in his home town for a show set to open on June 3rd. Running through September 5th in the ISObar Gallery in downtown Sarnia, the opening night will include a personal appearance and interview session that will also include arrangements of David Bowie’s music performed by players from Sarnia’s International Symphony Orchestra (ISO).
Beland was nominated for a Juno Award for his photographic contribution to the solo record released by Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie, Battle of the Nudes and for two Canadian Country Music Award for his shots used in the packaging of Jason McCoy’s Greatest Hits CD and Johnny Reid’s album Kickin’ Stones. HIs photos have appeared in Rolling Stone, SPIN, Mojo, Kerrang, People and McLean’s magazines. He also shares his passion for photography with students while working as a tenured professor of photography for the program he developed at Lambton College.
The local paper was happy to add their take on the show built around the talents of this hometown hero – https://thesarniajournal.ca/music-photographer-brings-career-retrospective-to-his-hometown/
And I also found a recent Interview with Richard Beland done by Bill King on his FYI Music News (Canada) podcast – https://www.fyimusicnews.ca/articles/2022/05/17/%C2%A0-podcast-conversation-%C2%A0-richard-beland
BONUS – The team at the Brian Liss gallery recently posted a Virtual Walk Thru of the Beland exhibit as it was mounted recently there. It gives you as close to an in-person opportunity as can be to tour the show and learn more about the prints on display – well worth the time spent – https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=fGSyVht5omx
Ongoing and Upcoming Exhibitions –
ONGOING through June 5th) – Famed photographer Marcia Resnick’s show continues on display at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Maine now thru June 5, 2022 in the Bernard and Barbro Osher Gallery and the Halford Gallery, travelling later to the Minneapolis Institute of Art and to the George Eastman Museum, in Rochester, NY. The show’s called “Marcia Resnick: As It Is or Could Be” and focuses on her portfolio of portrait photography. As described by the museum’s pre-show press, “Marcia Resnick was one of the most ambitious and innovative American photographers of the 1970s. Combining social critique with poignant, often humorous performance, her photographs explore—in a conceptual vernacular—aesthetic, social, and political issues at once timely and timeless. A part of the now-mythic creative community in Downtown New York, she created work that challenged traditional ideas about what a photograph could be. This exhibition brings together for the first time her extraordinary photographs from this period.”
Album art fans will know Marcia’s work well, as it is found on the covers and in record packages for many trend-setting musical acts, including the Talking Heads, The Psychedelic Furs, Bad Brains, Laurie Anderson, Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers, Suicide, Iggy Pop and many others.
Event info can be found at https://www.bowdoin.edu/calendar/event.html?bid=1156949&rid=128156
ONGOING through June 9th) – Opened in late April at the West Chelsea Contemporary gallery location in NYC is a show titled “Icons & Vandals” that includes images shot by several photographers and designers (Cey Adams, Banksy and Takashi Murakami, among others) with long lists of album cover credits. An article on the ArtDaily site gives us an intro – https://artdaily.cc/news/145880/West-Chelsea-Contemporary-announces-its-newest-exhibition–Icons-and-Vandals , with more information available on the gallery’s site at – https://wcc.art/exhibition/icons-vandals-new-york/
ONGOING through June 12th) – There’s a 50th anniversary photo show featuring over 30 vintage photos selected from Norman Seeff’s Exile On Main Street photo portfolio currently on display (now thru Sunday, June 12, 2022) at LA’s Rock Photography Museum Special Exhibition Space (in Glendale, CA)
Here are the advance details from the PR release I received – “Legendary photographer Norman Seeff is set to unveil rare and unseen vintage photographs from his 1972 session with the Rolling Stones, staged prior to the release of the group’s masterpiece, Exile on Main St…Along with over 30 vintage 16×20 photographs, the show will feature the original paste-up layout used to produce a set of postcards which were included with the original pressing of the album, originally released on May 12, 1972 – 50 years ago”. More can be found on the museum’s website at https://www.rockphotographymuseum.com/norman-seeff-50-years-in-exile/ and, if you head down to the ”Artist News and Interviews” section, you’ll find an item on a recent interview Mr. Seeff did with a reporter from LA Weekly magazine about the collection and his work on Exile…
ONGOING through June 12th) Also continuing now through June 12th at The Photographer’s Gallery in London (nearest Tube stop – Oxford Station) is the show For the Record: Photography & The Art of The Album Cover, which is curated and presented in collaboration with collector and exhibition originator, Antoine de Beaupré, whose collection of 15,000+ albums form the basis of the display.
The show’s site provides us with this introduction – “For the Record brings together over 200 album covers, highlighting the central role photography plays in defining artists and bands, and showcasing some of the most iconic album covers of our times. While many of the ‘artistes on the covers will be instantly recognizable, the exhibition illuminates the often overlooked and multifaceted contributions of photographers and other visual artists to the identity of the ‘stars’ and the labels themselves.
Featuring work from such photographic and artistic luminaries as Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, David Bailey, David LaChapelle, Ed Ruscha, Elliott Erwitt, Guy Bourdin, Helen Levitt, Irving Penn, Jeff Wall, Joseph Beuys, Juergen Teller, Lee Friedlander, Nan Goldin, Richard Avedon, William Eggleston and more, many of whom had their careers launched through their cover images, the exhibition also looks at the contribution of a range of equally visionary, though perhaps lesser-known artists, photographers, graphic designers and creatives.”
This show is getting a HUGE amount of editorial coverage, so it’s got to be good…Here’s a link to a newer article I found on The Londonist web site – https://londonist.com/london/art-and-photography/photographer-gallery-preview-art-of-the-album-cover
The Boston Globe’s Mark Feeney wrote an article (titled “You can judge an album by its cover” about his observations about the work of the talented designers and image-makers on display in this show – https://www.bostonglobe.com/2022/05/25/arts/you-can-judge-an-album-by-its-cover/
ONGOING through June 18th) A show which opened on May 5th at the Fahey-Klein Gallery in Los Angeles (and scheduled to end on the 18th of June) is an exhibition of the works of noted rock photographer Janette Beckman they’ve titled “Rebels”, surely due to the fact that the talented Ms. Beckman has a portfolio that includes images of many of the best-known rabble-rousers in the worlds of music, fashion and pop culture. According to the gallery’s press, “Janette Beckman began her career at the dawn of punk rock in London, working for publications like The Face & Melody Maker. She shot bands from The Clash to Boy George as well as documenting the rebellious youth culture fans and emblematic moments for iconoclasts like Blondie and the Police. Relocating to New York in 1983, Beckman was immediately drawn to the burgeoning hip-hop scene where she photographed trailblazers of the movement like Salt-N-Pepa, Run DMC, Grand Master Flash, Slick Rick, and LL Cool J.” Ms. Beckman was also on hand to photograph the “Black Lives Matter” protests that took place in 2020, showing us that, even today, she dedicates herself to giving acts of “rebellion” their due.
Those who’d like a permanent record of the show can get a copy of Janette’s new monograph titled Rebels: From Punk to Dior (the 240 page hardcover book published by DRAGO; $75) made available for purchase at the gallery while supplies last. More information on this show is available online at http://www.faheykleingallery.com/exhibitions/janette-beckman2
ONGOING through June 26th) – On view now through the 26th of June at the Downtown Campus of the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, FL is an intriguing display of photos and poetry of the famed creative couple of Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, set among the greenery of some specially-produced horticultural displays. The show is titled Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith: Flowers, Poetry, and Light and, according to the venue’s press, provides visitors with “an immersive, multisensory experience, that features several of Mapplethorpe’s exquisite photographs of flowers, Smith’s haunting lyrics and poetry about flowers and nature, and stunning new horticultural vignettes in our Tropical Conservatory and Gardens that reflect their intertwined work through living art.” The duo made several serious contributions to the world of album cover art over the years, with Mapplethorpe’s photos featured on the covers of Smith’s Horses, Wave and The Patti Smith Masters: The Collective Works; Laurie Anderson’s Strange Angels; Paul Simon’s Negotiations and Love Songs 1971-1986; Television’s Marquee Moon; Peter Gabriel’s Shaking The Tree and others for musical acts including The Swans, Scissor Sisters, the Philip Glass Ensemble and the Kronos Quartet, among others.
Writing for the YourObserver.com site, Spencer Fordin shares his overview of the show at https://www.yourobserver.com/photo-gallery/selby-honors-legacies-of-photographer-and-rock-star-in-flowers-poetry-and-light
COMING LATER THIS SUMMER) – Recently-deceased designer Virgil Abloh’s career will be given the star treatment later this year with a show at the Brooklyn Museum. ArtNet News site contributor Caroline Goldstein (no relation) provides us with a bit of an intro in this recent article – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/brooklyn-museum-virgil-abloh-2069386? where she describes the show thusly – “This summer, the Brooklyn Museum will stage a version of the first institutional survey dedicated to the late fashion designer and creative visionary Virgil Abloh. The show, titled “Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech,” will build on an earlier exhibition of the same name that originated at the MCA Chicago in 2019, and then traveled to ICA Boston, the High Museum in Atlanta, and Qatar Museums”. As I wrote soon after Abloh’s untimely passing last December from cancer at the age of 41, Abloh was a major name in the fashion industry who was famous in hip-hop circles for his “Off-White” brand of clothing and accessories and had previously served in the position of Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton’s Men’s collections.
He met and befriended rapper Kanye West in the early 2000s after having worked at the Fendi fashion house and then launched his own space – the RSVP Gallery in his hometown of Chicago – while also taking on the role of Creative Director for Kanye’s DONDA design agency. His thorough understanding of his audience and his unique fashion sense found him applying his talents to a number of memorable album covers, too, a retrospective of that work being found on the XXL Magazine site at https://www.xxlmag.com/virgil-abloh-album-covers/?
JUST OPENED) Fans of punk artist Winston Smith – along with several other artists (designers, illustrators, photographers, etc.) from the San Francisco Bay area who are producing work in a similar vein under the moniker “Destroy Art” – can now find his/their works on display at the newly-opened shared art space called Fallout. Here’s a link to their site – https://www.falloutsf.com/? Album art fans will find a nice selection of Mr. Smith’s output, including prints of his work for The Dead Kennedy’s, Jello Biafra and Green Day, among others.
MINOR UPDATE from May) The Bob Dylan Archives Museum opened in late April in Tulsa, OK, with the coverage provided by this article on the ArtDaily site – https://artdaily.cc/news/146169/The–10-million-Bob-Dylan-Center-opens-up-his-songwriting-secrets#.Ynlw9ujMI7M – including an intro photo on which I found three examples of well-known Dylan album package imagery – Elliott Landy’s great photo found on the cover of Nashville Skyline, Dylan’s own painting featured on the cover of Portrait and a copy of Milton Glaser’s pop-art poster included in the package of 1967’s Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits. You’ve got to imagine that there are many other examples of his cover art included in this archive so, with any luck, I’ll track down more info on that hunch and will share it with you once I’ve got something in hand. In the meantime, there was another bit of Dylan art-related reporting posted in May – a story in The Guardian about the unveiling of one of Mr. Dylan’s own works of sculpture – his interpretation of a railway car – that’s currently on display in France – https://www.theguardian.com/music/2022/may/11/bob-dylan-unveils-his-largest-ever-sculpture-of-a-railway-freight-car
Artist News and Interviews –
a) Award-winning designer/art director Gail Marowitz, who has teamed with singer/songwriter Aimee Mann on several of her record packages – including the Grammy-winning 2006 album The Forgotten Arm – will soon be participating on a panel discussion with Ms. Mann and her partner in the band called the Both – multi-instrumentalist Ted Leo – to talk about how musicians and designers/art directors collaborate to produce album covers.
In addition to Grammy earned for The Forgotten Arm, Aimee Mann’s next record – 2008’s @#%&*! Smilers – was also nominated for an award in the “Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package” category, with that record available in a limited-edition, hard-bound version featuring illustrations by Canadian artist/illustrator Gary Taxali and art director by Ms. Marowitz. A 2017 inductee into the ACHOF in the Art Director category, Gail’s portfolio includes packages for many esteemed recording acts, including Paula Cole, Tears For Fears, George Clinton & The P-Funk All-Stars, Ric Ocasek, Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, James Taylor and many others.
More details on the Saturday July 2nd at the ICON 11 Illustration Conference in Kansas City, MO can be found at – https://theillustrationconference.org/gail-marowitz
I had the pleasure of interviewing Gail after she’d won the Grammy for her work on The Forgotten Arm, so I’d invite you to read that as well to learn more about her and her work – https://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2007/11/cover-story—a.html
b) As I noted previously in the Exhibitions section of this newsletter, there’s a 50th anniversary photo show featuring over 30 vintage photos selected from photographer Norman Seeff’s Exile On Main Street photo portfolio currently on display thru Sunday, June 12, 2022 at LA’s Rock Photography Museum Special Exhibition Space (in Glendale, CA). Writing for LA Weekly magazine, Lina Lecaro had the opportunity to interview Mr. Seeff to learn more about his work on that seminal Rolling Stones LP, how he felt about meeting and working with the band and how the small team working on the record’s unique visuals – including a set of bonus photo postcards – originally conceived and produced them – https://www.laweekly.com/photographer-norman-seeff-on-his-iconic-exile-on-main-street-images/
On a related note – Norman Seeff worked alongside designer John Van Hamersveld, who’d established his industry cred via his poster and package designs for Hendrix, The Beatles, Jefferson Airplane and others and was approached by the Rolling Stones (who in 1972 were in a studio in LA putting the finishing touches on an album called Exile On Main Street) to work on the graphics and packaging for a songbook project the band wanted to release. In my 2008 interview with JVH on the topic, he describes how he joined in on an interesting series of events on the day of their initial meeting that would have a profound impact on the course of album art history, crafting one of rock music’s most-talked-about album packages – https://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2008/04/index.html
c) Here’s an interview with Blondie’s Chris Stein – https://www.kaleidoscope.media/shop/chris-stein-h-r-giger-kookoo-1981? – about his passions for both the musical and visual arts and, in particular, his artistic collaboration (with Debbie Harry and the late HR Giger) in the early 1980s that produced the eye-popping visuals for Harry’s Koo Koo album (cover/package and music videos such as the one for the single “Backfired”, which includes a cameo appearance by Giger as a floating head singing backup). This last effort is the source of the content that makes up his new book via the publisher Kaleidoscope, titled Koo Koo 1981 – https://sva.edu/features/blondie-co-founder-chris-stein-on-working-with-h-r-giger-and-his-sva-days
d) Comic book and album cover illustrator Bill Sienkiewicz joins the list of creatives who’ve been honored with “Easter Eggs” (nearly-hidden references you might not see unless you’re looking for them) in the Marvel Studios series Moon Knight.
According to the coverage found on the We Got This Covered.com site, “The ‘Easter Egg’ – a sign above the door to the main entrance of a hospital – comes during the mid-credits scene, which takes place at the ‘Sienkiewicz Psychiatric Hospital.’ This is a reference to Bill Sienkiewicz, one of the most distinctive comics artists around. Best known for his work on Elektra, Sienkiewicz is famed for his abstract style and use of oil painting as well as collage in his art, making his comics look like nothing else in the medium.”
The writers also shared that, soon after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Bill contributed work to Comics for Ukraine: Sunflower Seeds, which worked to raise money to help refugees fleeing the war against their country – https://wegotthiscovered.com/tv/moon-knights-final-moments-pay-tribute-to-a-true-comic-book-legend/
Bill’s portfolio of album covers includes work he’s done for hip-hop acts including Kid Cudi, EPDM, Public Enemy and RZA, as well as rockers Jimi Hendrix, Danzig, Dio and Corrosion of Conformity, and a visit to his own website at https://billsienkiewiczart.com/ will take you on a tour to all the work he’s done for clients including DC Comics, Marvel and his own long-running comic series, The New Mutants.
e) Here’s your chance to get to know more about Renell Medrano, a 29-year-old Dominican-American photographer who hails from New York City (proudly from The Bronx!) and was selected to shoot the controversial cover photo for Kendrick Lamar’s latest release, which he’s titled Mr Morale & The Big Steppers – https://www.thefocus.news/celebrity/renell-medrano/
While she’s only been working professionally for a relatively short while, after her graduation from the prestigious Parsons School of Design at The New School in NYC, Renell has quickly become an in-demand photographer with an impressive list of clients including musicians such as A$AP Ferg, Chaka Khan, Bad Bunny, Jay-Z, Megan Thee Stallion, Playboy Carti, H.E.R., Solange and Tyler The Creator (among others), with her photos being used on magazine covers and editorial pages all over the world.
See more of her work at https://renellmedrano.com/
f) Interview in LouderSound about artist Andres Serrano and the flack he took from one of his clients about the album art he did for him (the “him” being Metallica’s James Hetfield) – https://www.loudersound.com/features/metallica-load-reload-covers-andres-serrano-interview
g) The Muse By Clio editorial team asked David Bates – the CEO and Creative Director of the Bokeh creative agency in the San Francisco Bay area – to share a list of seven of his favorite album covers, and although seemingly exposed to mostly “pop” music/musical acts growing up, he felt the need to develop his “own musical identity” and found that the music and visuals of late 1990s-early 2000s acts such as Blink-182, Sum-41, Linkin Park and others (including several musical soundtracks) resonated with his artistic sensibilities – https://musebycl.io/art-album/7-great-album-covers-chosen-david-bates-bokeh
Bates is the CEO and creative director at Bokeh – “a global integrated creative agency built to eliminate the old layers between client and agency, forging a new role as an extension of their marketing organization” – http://bokeh.agency/
Next up, with a list that spans at least 50 years of record package-making (including albums featuring artwork done by artists such as Mouse/Kelley, Hipgnosis, Mark Ryden and others), with several of his choices in the metal genre, packaged “horror style”, graphic artist/lighting designer/musician Luke Stratton chooses his 10 Favorite Album Covers – https://musebycl.io/art-album/10-great-album-covers-chosen-designer-luke-stratton
Luke recently took part in a project that created an interesting album package for a client called Dopapod – one that folds out into a board game (complete with a set of matching dice and some very cute game pieces) – https://merch.dopapod.com/products/dopapod-can-we-play-a-new-game-pack
The month’s content ended with “10 Great Album Covers By Ivanna Borin” of UnderWonder Content
Ivanna’s choices are covers mostly done in the last 5-10 years and it was interesting to see a young person’s take on what makes for memorable album covers, as these images accompany records make mostly for young digital content-ingesting consumers. According to her site bio, “Ivanna Borin is co-owner/EP and a director at Underwonder Content. Ivanna’s career began in the world of advertising, where she was a brand manager for Dannon. While in Kiev, Ukraine, she began to direct commercials, but soon jumped the pond and immediately found herself directing three music videos for one of America’s most iconic artists, Bon Jovi. These videos caught the eye of the music video industry and catapulted Ivanna into shooting back-to-back videos for such artists as Lil Nas X, Nicki Minaj, 5 Seconds of Summer, Zayn, Tyga, Good Charlotte and others…Based in Sherman Oaks, CA, UnderWonder’s team is comprised of award-winning directors, producers, and creative directors who continually raise the standard and set the bar for this next generation’s commercials, music videos, and films.
Items for Sale and/or at Auction –
a) May 26th marked the 55th anniversary of the release of the record with what has always topped (or, at least, included in the Top 5) the “Best Album Cover” polls, that being The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP and so, as you might figure these days, there’s been a long list of Pepper-themed collectibles released to celebrate. The folks at Billboard.com (Latifah Muhammad, writer) were kind enough to put together a nice list of them – everything from the basics (t-shirts) to items that would be of particular interest to album cover fans, such as an extra-cool Flip-Book product (The Beatles: Cover To Cover) by a company called “Fliptomania” that takes you through an animation of the Fab Four’s album cover artwork (see link to their page on the Amazon site, below) – https://www.billboard.com/culture/product-recommendations/best-beatles-merch-gifts-for-fans-1235078136/ Collect them all (if you haven’t already).
b) The original artwork for an iconic Tupac Shakur album is currently on offer at the Heritage Auctions site. For this auction, artist Riskie Forever has partnered with Zelus and Heritage Auctions to auction the original album cover art painting from 2Pac’s The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory album, which was recorded in 1996 under his pseudonym “Makaveli”.
The original album cover painting will go up for auction beginning Tuesday (May 17) accompanied by a one-of-a-kind NFT that will include a never-before-heard story from Riskie about the origins of the piece. According to the press release, the original painting was created in airbrush and mixed media on a 29” x 47” canvas visible through a 35” x 53” frame.
Per the description of the item found on the Heritage Auction site, “Tupac saw the finished product the day before he was shot, Riskie said. “It was Sept. 6, 1996, and I went to visit him in Malibu, California, as Suge wanted a first draft by then! Pac loved it, he was in good spirits and thanked me for making what was in his head a reality.” The next day, after watching a Mike Tyson fight in Las Vegas, Tupac, just 25 years old, was shot while riding in the passenger seat of Suge Knight’s car while en route to a night club. He was rushed to the hospital and died six days later.”
The image proved to be quite controversial – so controversial, in fact, that the most-noticeable difference between the original painting and the resulting album cover image is the size of the “Parental Advisory” sticker. The auction description makes note that “while Tupac’s famed ‘Thug Life’ stomach tattoo is fully obscured on the album artwork by the sticker, his abdominal artwork is prominently visible in the painting. The disclaimer of ‘In no way is this portrait an expression of disrespect for Jesus Christ – Makavel’” was added to the album artwork to preemptively avoid religious controversy”.
Bidding begins at $125,000 ($156,250 inc. buyer’s premium). Includes one-of-a-kind NFT
Bidding opened online on May 17th, with final bids being accepted on June 18th – https://entertainment.ha.com/c/auction-home.zx?saleNo=7300
There’s also a sweepstakes – sponsored by Zelus – accompanying the sale of this auction lot in which fans can register to win a portion of the proceeds from the sale, along with one of a number of NFTs derived from the artwork – https://www.makaveliart.com/ (requires the download of a phone app).
Another article on the topic as found on the Source Magazine website – https://thesource.com/2022/05/18/makaveli-cover-album-artwork-by-riskie-forever-to-be-auctioned-celebrating-25th-anniversary/
If you’re thinking that several hundred thousand dollars for the original is a bit more than your art budget can bear, the artist is selling a limited run, signed print on metal (called the 25th Anniversary 7 Day Theory Metalprint™), sized from 8” x 12” up to 30” x 45” and priced from $125 to $1496 – https://riskieforever.com/collections/freshhome/products/24thmakavelitupac?variant=33161483878477
Learn more about artist Riskie Forever on his web site at https://riskieforever.com/pages/bioofriskie
c) There’s an upcoming auction at Bonham’s Knightsbridge location that’s built around the personal collection of one of rock music’s most-influential broadcasters, John Ravenscroft, better known to millions as John Peel – https://artdaily.cc/news/146563/Bonhams-to-offer-property-from-the-archive-of-legendary-DJ-and-broadcaster-Jon-Peel#.YofMh6jMI7M
Peel, who died in 2004, was one of the UK’s most sought-after and recognized presenters and, as a result of his being sent countless demos/promotional items by aspiring and established musical acts, built a legendary collection of recordings, posters and other memorabilia. While I’m not sure that there will be any actual examples of album cover art included in the mix, there will be a lot of unique memorabilia, so it’ll be worth a look or two (I’m looking and will let you know!).
d) I GOT MINE…DON’T FORGET TO ORDER YOURS – Late last year, I told you about author Ramon Oscuro Martos – the music historian who has so far given us several great books (in the …And Justice For Art series) about the mind-bending array of artwork found on the sleeves of some of metal music’s best-known recordings who spent his COVID-induced “down time” putting together a new book, this time focused on the art/imagery you’ll see on the covers of some of the genre’s most-loved LIVE albums. As he’d done in the past, he asked fans/supporters for help to bring this new tome to market via pre-order commitments.
Well, he project was a success and, just this week, I rec’d my copy of the book and it is just beautiful.
As Ramon describes the project, “…AND JUSTICE FOR ART… LIVE! Stories About Hard Rock & Heavy Metal Live Album Covers reveals the stories behind hundreds of cover artworks for live Heavy Metal/Hard Rock albums. It contains more than 100 chapters, more than 500 graphics (including original artworks, sketches, behind-the-scenes images, etc.) and exclusive comments by approximately 100 bands and visual artists.” The foreword was written by Voivod’s drummer and visual artist, Michel ‘Away’ Langevin. The cover artwork was designed by the super-talented, Costin Chioreanu, who also created the artworks seen on the last two “…AND JUSTICE FOR ART” books.
This is the fourth and final book in the series, and after filling all of his pre-orders, he got less than 150 copies left for retail purchase,
The book costs $67 and worldwide shipping is included in this price. You can use this code BLMWBB to get 5% off. Each copy comes signed by the author and is shipped with a free mini-poster, a CD, a bookmark and a music streaming postcard. You can see an unpacking video recently posted by one of the buyers/readers of the book at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZBeVssxqrA&list=WL&index=1
e) While we’re on the subject of good new books to add to your collection…Just a reminder that there’s going to be a newly-revised and updated version of author Paul Gorman’s book on the art of the late great designer known as Barney Bubbles will be hitting the shelves in the UK in late June (late July here in the US). This new edition of The Wild World of Barney Bubbles features, according to the publisher’s site, “hundreds of rare and previously unpublished photographs, working sketches, notebooks, and original artwork. It includes new essays and sixteen extra pages of rare ephemera painstakingly collected by the author over the years”.
I’d included some additional info straight from the author in last month’s summary, so please take a look and then pre-order your copy of Paul’s book at –
f) Gary Numan singles collection package artwork for sale as a limited-edition print signed by Gary Numan – https://www.thefloodgallery.com/products/gary-numan-signed-screen-print?variant=42918038110378
Auction Results Updates:
g) Marvin Gaye’s 1976 album I Want You was graced with a cover image based on a painting by artist/former NFL football star Ernie Barnes titled The Sugar Shack. Barnes, who died in 2009 and who’s career, for a while, suffered the same fate as many talented African-American artists did 50+ years ago – that of relative obscurity (except to those viewers of the hit Norman Lear comedy “Good Times”, which also featured a pan of the same painting in its opening credits sequence) – never lived to see that his works finally found a respectful place in the mid-to-upper echelons (based on auction results) of the fine art world, with one work selling last year for nearly 500% more than the pre-auction estimates.
Well, guess what? That was just a teaser, because on May 12th, as part of the “20th Century Evening Auction” held by the Christie’s auction house in NYC, The Sugar Shack, which had a pre-auction estimate of $150,000 – $200,000, found a new home with hedge fund manager/entrepreneur Bill Perkins, who laid down $15.3 million (!!) for the work, out-bidding 20+ other collectors in what was described as a “frenetic, 10-minute bidding session”.
Watch the final minute of this exciting auction event at https://artdaily.cc/?date=05/22/2022#video
Read more about it in reporter Hannah Ryan’s article on the CNN.com site – https://www.cnn.com/style/article/sugar-shack-auction-ernie-barnes-intl-scli/index.html
Meet the collector who bought the item – https://news.artnet.com/market/the-secrets-out-bill-perkins-buyer-of-record-smashing-ernie-barnes-painting-at-christies-tells-us-about-his-winning-evening-2114857
h) Auction Update with Results – To follow up on the three-day “Music Icons” auction staged by Julien’s at NYC’s Hard Rock Café (and live online) that contained a number of interesting album cover-related lots, including prints, photos and a number of autographed items – https://www.julienslive.com/auctions/catalog/id/394?page=2&catm=any&order=order_num&xclosed=no&featured=no&key=album+cover – I’d like to share some of the results.
Over 1,350 items were on offer, with a number of album art-related items coming from former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman’s personal collection, including lot #1115, which featured a group of press proofs for the front and back cover and interior gatefold image used for The Rolling Stones 1973 album Goats Head Soup. The album artwork featured conceptual portraits of the band members by photographer David Bailey (est $2-3,000, sold for $1600); lot 1122 – a print of the wonderful album cover art from the band’s It’s Only Rock & Roll LP, signed by all of the band members and which had a pre-auction estimate of only $500, went for over 20X that amount – $11,520!; and lot #1033 – a limited edition lenticular (3-D-ish) print of the cover Gered Mankowitz shot for the band’s Between The Buttons record – signed by Mankowitz, sported a pre-auction estimate of $1K – $2K and sold for just over the low estimate – $11024.
Other items included a limited-edition print of a photo from the album cover shoot for Johnny Cash’s 1994 album American Recordings (Lot 399 – est. $400 – $600; sold for $2240) and an autographed print of the album cover for Headquarters by The Monkees (Lot 470 – est. $800 –$ 1200) found a new home at $1152. Lot #595 featured an item well-known by (in the dreams of young men from the 1980s, at least) fans of classic album cover art – that being a t-shirt that adorned the voluptuous curves of a local model named Angela Chidnese whose image was used on the somewhat-banned Slippery When Wet album cover image for rockers Bon Jovi. While the item had a respectable pre-show estimate of $1k – $2K, when the bidding was done, this shirt (along with a 1987 tour book featuring this same model on the cover) was purchased for an astounding $12,800. The price of one’s fantasies…
For me however, the most-interesting item in the offering was lot #503, which was a bust of “Frank the Robot”, used in designing Queen’s famous News of the World album cover and subsequent uses, including advertisements for the band’s 1977-78 “News of the World Tour.” According to the item’s description – “At the time of News of the World’s release, Frank the Robot became heavily associated with Queen and the album. The record company EMI designed a highly limited number of 54 inch plastic Franks to be used as record displays in premium record stores, and Freas used his image when designing advertisements for the 1977-78 News of the World Tour. In the ensuing decades, he has remained iconic. He became a piece in the official Queen Monopoly set in 2017, and appeared on film and stage during the 2017-18 “Queen + Adam Lambert Tour” (commemorating News of the World‘s 40th anniversary) and in the 2018 animated video for “All Dead, All Dead” among other uses. Lot 503 has a pre-auction estimate of $20-40,000 but, after receiving only five bids, was sold to its lucky new owner for a mere $11,520 – proving once again that bargains can be had even at high-profile auctions such as this one was!
i) Auction Update with Results – Also at Julien’s was an auction that ended Monday May 16th that featured a very special collection of works by famed photographer Neil Zlozower, a mainstay in the rock photo business who has produced a great deal of the best-known shots of rockers such as Zakk Wylde, Black Label Society, Steve Vai, Alice Cooper, David Lee Roth, Slipknot and many others. Earlier this year, Neil announced that he’d put together a new NFT/print collection that would be put on sale/bid thru Julien’s known as “The FU Collection” which, as you might figure, shows all of its famous subjects “flipping the bird” in their own unique ways – https://www.julienslive.com/auctions/catalog/id/425
When all of the bidding was done, the NFT packages all found buyers, with the most spent on pix of the raised middle finders of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler ($1280) and Eddie Van Halen (also $1280), followed closely by Joan Jett ($1152), Motorhead’s Lenny Kilmister ($1024) and Jon Bon Jovi (also $1024).
Beginning his career as a glorified fan, Zlozower (who goes by “Zloz”) spent as much time as possible in Hollywood record shops and concerts – bringing with him a camera that he and his father bought in an East L.A. pawn shop and using phony backstage passes to gain entry. Since then, Zloz has gone on to become one of the most sought-after photographers in the business. He met guitarist Zakk Wylde when he first joined Ozzy Osbourne’s band in the late 1980’s and so when he was approached to shoot the soon-to-be-controversial cover for Black Label Society’s 2006 release Shot To Hell, he knew that he’d be in for quite a ride, one he shared with me a number of years ago in this interview article – https://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2007/09/cover-story-bla.html
Anyone who loves rock and roll and motorcycles as much as Neil does would seem to have little problem making lasting friendships with many in the business, and so it makes perfect sense that he simply had to ask his friends to flip-off to the camera and, voila! – a new collection of photographs!
j) Auction Update with Results – The “Rock, Pop & Film Online (Including The Gary Moore Collection Part 3) auction that ended in early May – https://www.bonhams.com/auction/27387/rock-pop-and-film-online-including-the-gary-moore-collection-part-iii/ – did result in the sale of a number of fine art items, including several from the previously-mentioned Barney Bubbles archives. For example, there were some highly-desirable examples of BB’s production artwork done for clients including The Damned, Elvis Costello, Eddie & The Hot Rods, Nick Lowe and Chilli Willi & The Red Hot Peppers (all which can be seen via this link – https://www.bonhams.com/auction/27387/rock-pop-and-film-online-including-the-gary-moore-collection-part-iii/?query=bubbles), such as Lot 133 – BB artwork for Chilli Willi & The Red Hot Peppers – which sold for £1,785; Lot 114 – Damned, Damned, Damned cover art – sold for £6120; 116 – Nick Lowe Labour of Lust album art – £4845; Lot 118 – Artwork for Elvis Costello’s New Amsterdam EP – sold for £956.25 and Lot 123 – artwork for Elvis C’s single “You Little Fool”, which went out the door for £1147.50.
Claire Tole-Moir (Head of Department – Collectors & Popular Culture at Bonhams) told me prior to the auction that there were a couple of other items we should be paying close attention to – Lots 137 & 138, which were two sketchbooks from Clash artist Ray Lowry, filled with illustrations done on their USA tour. Amazingly, only Lot 138 found a new home, selling for £7,650. The other item – Lot 207 – was some original concept artwork done for a Bob Marley poster at Crystal Palace in the UK in 1980 – his last UK show! Done in ink and collage, this lot was particularly appealing and came with a pre-auction estimate of £1,500 – £2,000. When the dust had settled, the lot sold for £3, 570, a very reasonable sum for such a rare set.
k) photographer Bob Minkin has a new book – Just Bobby – that’s his latest addition to his Grateful Dead-centered series (that also includes Just Jerry) – https://minkinphotographystore.com/products/just-bobby-bob-weir-photographed-by-bob-minkin?
l) There’s a new Funko “Pop Vinyl” product featuring everyone’s favorite early 90s pop kitten, Britney Spears’ – https://www.billboard.com/culture/product-recommendations/britney-spears-funko-pop-vinyl-figure-how-to-buy-1235074367/
m) KnuckleBonz begins shipping the latest in their 3-D album art sculpture series – Misfits Earth A.D. – $199 in an edition of 1983 pieces – https://knucklebonz.com/product/misfits-earth-ad/
n) Read excerpts from the new book about artist Steve Keane – Joe Lynch writing for Billboard https://www.billboard.com/music/rock/the-steve-keene-art-book-indie-rock-painter-pavement-1235072165/
Miscellaneous Items and other Brief Bits –
As always, I’m going to have to keep these short-and-sweet (well, most of them, anyway):
OBITS) Neal Adams – a comic book/commercial artist and writer who, on occasion, brought his talents to the album cover world, died April 28th in Manhattan (NYC) at the age of 80.
a) To follow up on last month’s article I’d written about Brooklyn, NY-based artist Adnan Lotia and his album cover-inspired works using Legos – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2022/04/27/achof-interview-with-adnan-lotia-about-his-lego-ized-album-cover-art-project/ – and I’m pleased to note that his dedication to this project continues, with new cover recreations posted for several David Bowie albums (I’m particularly fond of the one he did for Heroes), Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. Stay up to date with regular visits to his Instagram page – https://www.instagram.com/uvupv/
b) The newest entries in Far Out Magazine’s “The Cover Uncovered” series of articles finds writer Jordan Potter giving us the details on “How The Stone Roses created the artwork for their debut album”, simply titled The Stone Roses, which hit store shelves in 1989. The record’s Pollock-esque abstract cover image was created by the multi-talented John Squire, who also serves as the band’s guitarist – https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/cover-uncovered-the-stone-roses-debut-album/
A couple of days later, Jordan shared another on Brian Griffin’s photo for the cover of Echo & The Bunnymen’s Ocean Rain – https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/cover-uncovered-echo-and-the-bunnymen-ocean-rain/
c) Recognizing both the artist’s natural talents and a great opportunity to get some press, Evan Dando and The Lemonheads offered former US President George W Bush $10,000 to paint the cover for their upcoming record release – https://vanyaland.com/2022/05/05/evan-dando-offers-george-w-bush-10k-to-paint-the-lemonheads-album-cover/
d) – Famed artist Takashi Murakami talks about how NFTs changed his career – https://news.artnet.com/market/takashi-murakami-nft-interview-2114309
e) With a photo capturing an exact moment in time, a viewer often is left to wonder just what was going on in the image the moment the snapshot was taken – were the people posed, what sort of airplane was flying overhead that caused that shadow or, in the case outlined in this recent article on the Showbiz CheatSheet web site, what was it that was being said by one of the bandmembers forced to pose (against his will, it seems) for an album cover. During the photo session back in 1966 that was meant to provide the cover image for the debut record by The Monkees, photographer Bernie Yeszin was given only ten chances to capture the band and, while he was somewhat ruffled by that demand, the resulting shot illustrates his grace under pressure. Read more of the details via the link – https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/mike-nesmith-saying-cover-the-monkees-1st-album.html/
That’s all for now – stay tuned and be on the lookout for timely news alerts on our news feeds (sign up via the handy link on the site’s home page to get an automatic email every time there’s something new on the ACHOF site). I’ll be returning right around the first of next month with another news summary for you. Until then, enjoy the first buds of Spring, with Peace and Love and wishes of Good Health to you all (and the ending of the hostilities in Ukraine).
R.I.P. Andy Fletcher – https://www.theguardian.com/music/2022/may/26/depeche-modes-andrew-fletcher-dies-aged-60
A piss-poor month as measured by the talented people who’ve left the planet.
Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2022 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of the trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.