Posted August 1, 2022 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Mid-Summer greetings to you all. Since we last spoke, many of you have experienced extremes in several aspects of our lives – temperature, drought, economic uncertainty, politics, etc. – and so I hope that you’ve all managed to keep your heads above water (assuming that you have water) and your focus on what’s going well in your lives. I’ve been trying hard to keep a positive mindset, but I have to admit it’s been an effort aided by my discovery of some delicious new gins and other mixers (drop me a note if you’d like some recommendations). In any case, let’s get back to the matters at hand.
This past month’s research into all things album cover-related has uncovered a lot to read about and look into – some items being continuations of ongoing serials and other stories providing us with some new and exciting things: exhibitions, items for sale or auction, deeper dives into artists’ portfolios and several articles that uncover new and never-before-divulged details about some of our favorite covers. Overall, the frequency and quality of these news bites continues unabated. The fact that this news comes from sources all over the world certainly adds to the notion that the interest in great album cover art (and in the people that make it) knows no boundaries.
In this month’s summary, you’ll find out more about a number of new exhibitions (as well as those that are ongoing), news about the lives and loves of some of the top talents working in music packaging, new items available for sale or at auction and scores of other items on the topic of album covers (and the people that make them). As always, my summary includes handy links to both the things I’ve personally uncovered and/or detailed, along with the work of some of the dedicated writers we follow who produce articles that share the stories of some of your favorite album covers and cover artists and so, without further impediments to your progress, let’s begin our tour through the most-recent goings-on on in the world of album cover art-makers and the works that they do to make us happy. Enjoy the read:
Exhibitions and Gallery Show Info (new and upcoming soon) –
a) Thanks for EasyontheEyes publisher/designer Simon Robinson for the head’s-up on this cool new show that opened in early July in Germany. Noted design guru Steven Heller provides some additional coverage of the opening of the Stihl Weiblingen Gallery’s Cover Art show (running through the 16th of October) in this recent article on the PrintMag.com site – https://www.printmag.com/daily-heller/the-daily-heller-die-plattencover/?
While the show’s site is in German ( https://www.galerie-stihl-waiblingen.de/), Mr. Google Translate was kind enough to help us get a read on what’s on display and the curatorial efforts of the team that put it together – “We will show you the highlights of record cover design from 1940 to the present day. Fascinating works by outstanding record cover artists are represented, including pioneers such as Alex Steinweiss and legends such as painter Emil Schult and designer Peter Saville, as well as labels with style-defining creative lines such as Blue Note Records.” The show’s lead curator – Dr. Anja Gerdemann – is featured in an intro video (in German and some English – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JubWIqHv3hw) and her press release continues with the following backgrounder – “To this day, cover designers create unique images of sounds on record sleeves and graphically express the self-image of labels or musicians. There are strict limits on the formal design, since the standard size of an LP record cover is only around 30 x 30 cm. On the occasion of the record revival of the last few years, the Stihl Waiblingen gallery is paying tribute to the square cardboard sleeve and the creative minds behind it… Loans from his private estate in the USA give visitors an insight into his extensive work. The artists from Chicks on Speed, who often design their collage-like covers themselves, have created a multimedia installation especially for the exhibition.”
Hometown talent is given the honors treatment in that the exhibition also includes the work of noted German musician/artist Klaus Voorman (“in 1967 he was the only German to receive a Grammy in the category ‘Best album cover of the year as a graphic artist’ for the Revolver cover for The Beatles, while another area of the exhibition is dedicated to the artist Emil Schult, who trained under Joseph Beuys at the Düsseldorf Art Academy, and whose love of experimentation is not only expressed in the music of Kraftwerk, but also in the unmistakable cover design of the band. His fascinating preliminary drawings and sketches will be presented to the public for the first time.” Other highlights include works from the portfolios of designer Peter Saville (Joy Division, OMD and others) and photographer Anton Corbijn but, according to the show’s advance press, “The centerpiece of the exhibition is the 50 square meter installation by the American artist Rutherford Chang, who deals with the “White Album” by The Beatles. Visitors can expect an overwhelming number of around 3,000 copies of the famous LP, which can be listened to on a record player in the walk-in installation.”
It’s my hope that I’ll be able to get hold of both Dr. Gerdemann and Rutherford Chang to get some more specifics but, in the meantime, I’d invite anyone who might be in the vicinity to take a tour through what looks to be a really well-presented collection.
b) The renowned Morrison Hotel Gallery turns its sights inwards to the amazing portfolio of one of the gallery’s founders, photographer Henry Diltz – in a new exhibition that launched July 30th at their New York City location on Prince Street in which the talented shooter/gallerists appeared at an opening evening soiree.
According the gallery’s PR, the new show, titled “Be Mused” (which runs through the end of August), “chronicles the life and times of a century’s greatest figures as narrated through the inspired lens of Diltz. His oeuvre includes photographs of The Doors (Diltz shot the legendary Morrison Hotel album cover), Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and Jimi Hendrix, among many other legends, and landmark cultural events like Woodstock and The Monterey Pop Festival, and beyond. Diltz’s images have been featured on album covers, books, magazines, and newspapers.”
Mr. Diltz was one of the initial inductees into the ACHOF in the “Photography” category (back in 2012, along with other greats including Joel Brodsky, Bob Gruen, Elliott Landy, Gered Mankowitz, Jim Marshall, Mick Rock, Norman Seeff, Bob Seidemann and Robert Whitaker), and I’ve always appreciated his willingness and ability to share the stories behind so many of his best-known shots, so if you’re in the area (or looking for a reason to head into the city), I’d strongly suggest that you pop on down to take a look at this show while it’s on display. You can read a bit of an intro to the show on the Broadway World.com site – https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Morrison-Hotel-Gallery-Presents-BE-MUSED-A-Career-Spanning-Retrospective-of-Photographer-Henry-Diltz-20220722 and learn more about the photographer and the show’s particulars on the gallery website at https://morrisonhotelgallery.com/collections/henry-diltz
c) And now, here’s a story of another well-known album cover artist – Ruby Mazur, who has done covers for B.B. King, Dave Mason, Elton John, Jim Croce, Rufus, Dusty Springfiled and, perhaps most-famously, was one of the original designers who developed the “Lips & Tongue” logo for the Rolling Stones – who has just opened his own retail gallery in Honolulu Hawaii’s Waikiki Beach area – https://artdaily.cc/news/148452/Pop-Art-legend-Ruby-Mazur-announces-opening-of-the-Ruby-Mazur-Gallery-in-Waikiki#.YuBdMXbMI7M
The gallery is run by Mazur’s twin sons, Cezanne and Miro, and the three thousand square foot Ruby Mazur Gallery space is located next to the Hard Rock Café and also features an illumination room where florescent paint is set alight by LEDs. “All the galleries in Hawaii showcase whales, turtles, sea life. We are strictly rock n’ roll. There’s not a fish in our gallery,” says the artist, and his collection includes paintings of many of rock’s best-known acts. Items for sale include original oil paintings on canvas along with what are called “high-volume paintings” which are, in actuality, giclee prints that have been hand-embellished and signed by the artist. Several t-shirt designs are also available. Mazur lives nearby on the island of Maui and visits the gallery every week.
The local news crew from KITV Island Television’s Good Morning Hawaii was on hand to witness the opening of this new emporium – https://www.kitv.com/news/ruby-mazur-illuminates-waikiki-with-rock-legends-gallery/article_28efb834-0b88-11ed-aea4-d7ce9bf27371.html
d) I’ve previously reported about the LA-area exhibition of photographer Norman Seeff’s “Fifty Years In Exile” collection of shots he produced as part of the team that came up with the cover for the hit 1972 album Exile On Main Street for the Rolling Stones, which closed in mid-July, but today I’m happy to share the news that the show will be moving to the Modern Rocks Gallery in Austin, TX, where it will premiere to local fans on the 19th of August.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this seminal recording, Mr. Seeff scoured his archives of the album’s photo sessions for rare and unseen materials, some of which have now been turned into special prints that will be sold during the show. Per the show’s press release, Seeff notes that “I’ve always wanted to use my photography as source material for creating art pieces. The photos serve as a jumping off point. I decided to use the exhibition as an opportunity to experiment. People have been very pleased with the results I think.” “We’re absolutely thrilled to be hosting ‘Fifty Years In Exile,’” said Steven Walker, owner of Modern Rocks Gallery. “These original darkroom prints are testament to Norman Seeff’s greatness as both a photographer and an artist.”
The show will be on display from August 19th – September 30th, with an opening reception at the gallery taking place on August 19th from 7 to 10pm. More info can be found at https://www.modernrocksgallery.com/events
e) The late designer Virgil Abloh’s career is given the star treatment this summer with a show at the Brooklyn Museum. Organized by guest writer and curator Antwaun Sargent, the show is on view from July 1, 2022, to January 29, 2023. Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech is a sweeping exhibition tracing two decades of the late artist and designer’s visionary work.
“Figures of Speech” is the first museum exhibition devoted to Abloh and was originally developed by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in 2019 before travelling to ICA Boston, the High Museum in Atlanta, and Qatar Museums. The Brooklyn Museum presentation features important objects from his multifaceted career, including collaborations with artist Takashi Murakami, musician Kanye West, and architect Rem Koolhaas; material from his fashion label Off-White; and designs from Louis Vuitton, where he served as the first Black menswear artistic director until his death from cancer in November 2021. The exhibition highlights how Abloh’s emphasis on collaboration reshaped popular notions of, and contemporary taste in, fashion, art, commerce, design, and youth culture. Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” is organized by Michael Darling, former James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
A new article gives on the ArtDaily site gives us an update – https://artdaily.cc/news/148019/Exhibition-surveys-the-prolific-career-of-late-artist-and-designer-Virgil-Abloh#.YsxQQHbMI7M
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/?
Ongoing and Upcoming Exhibitions –
CONTINUING THRU LATE AUGUST, 2022 – In an exhibition that opened on July 21st at the Pelham (NY) Art Center, the top vote-getters from the latest juried competition featuring “remixed iconic album cover art” that ended on July 10th will be on display for all fans of great album art to see and appreciate. On display until August 27th, Cover Lover Remix (CLR) – an annual competition that launched back in 2011 in Brooklyn, NY – explores (as is stated in the show’s advance PR) “the transition of visual artists from consumers of album art to creators of reimagined album covers.”
The show is organized by curator, writer, DJ and cultural observer Dick Burroughs and “selected artists are chosen for their style, energy, and vibrancy to create exceptional expressions of the Cover Lover Remix curatorial theme,” with more information available on both the contest’s site – https://coverloverremixii.artcall.org/ and in this release on the local Patch.com site – https://patch.com/new-york/pelham/cover-lover-remix-exhibition-summer-pelham-art-center
While there are several examples of entries shown on the Patch.com site article, I’ll try to get some additional images of the show once it’s been set up so we can all get a better idea of what highly-rated “remixes” of album art look like…
CONTINUING THROUGH SEPTEMBER, 2022 – 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 – brought his career-retrospective collection – one he calls “Our Immortal Stars” – to a gallery in his home town for a show that opened on June 3rd and is set to run through September 5th at the ISObar Gallery in downtown Sarnia (a town in Ontario, Canada, just across the St. Clair River from Port Huron, Michigan).
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
CONTINUING THROUGH OCTOBER, 2022 – One of the more-interesting types of exhibitions that popped-up with more and more frequency during our long battle against COVID has been the timed-ticket “immersive” show, typically staged in a large gallery/warehouse space that’s been converted for this specific purpose. The first one of these that I had the pleasure of touring took place several years ago here at Chicago’s Navy Pier, that being one called “Exhibitionism”, which featured a tour through the music and memorabilia of the Rolling Stones (covered with photos here in an early-2018 news summary – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2017/12/29/album-cover-artist-and-art-news-summary-and-preview-for-december-2017-january-2018/ )
There have been similar shows staged around the world built around the careers of other famed artists and musicians, such as Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Frida Kahlo, Banksy, Pink Floyd, Coldplay and, most-recently, that most-purple of all musicians, Prince. “Prince: The Immersive Experience” is done in cooperation with the Prince Estate and Paisley Park Enterprises, staged in a customized space on Chicago’s north Michigan Ave (on now through the end of October), and produced by “an experience company” based in NYC called Superfly who, according to their web site, is “obsessed with activating and amplifying communities around common passions and unforgettable moments”. In an article I found on the Axios.com site – https://www.axios.com/local/chicago/2022/06/07/prince-immersive-experience-chicago – one of the ways that a visitor can become more personally immersed into the world of Prince is via a display (one of several) they’ve set up that allows you to sit on a deep purple customized Honda motorcycle just like the one seen on the cover of Purple Rain and be photographed in front of a re-created backdrop of the album’s memorable cover graphics.
I contacted the show’s PR person – Acasia Gibson from the Chicago PR firm of Carol Fox & Associates – who was able to give me some additional information about some of the visual elements included in the show, along with some images of some of the displays, props and original photos you’ll find during your tour of the show. There’s a “discography hall” that includes the covers of The Purple One’s recorded output, plus other elements from Prince’s production career, including the props and some original photos from the “Diamonds and Pearls” music video shoot and a re-creation of the “When Doves Cry” music video” along with sketches, renderings and examples from his trend-setting wardrobe.
In late July, my wife and I spent the day in the city and decided to take the tour, with some of my photos from that visit shown above. While I thoroughly enjoyed the visual presentations – including one that highlighted the artist’s efforts to promote what he viewed as his “slaveholder/slave” relationship between the music industry and musicians/songwriters and the opportunity to make my own feeble attempt to look cool while sitting on the famed custom Honda motorcycle featured on the cover of Purple Rain – I had hoped to be able to listen to and see more of the musician in action via videos and recordings, but I did spend the entire next day playing all of the Prince cuts in my own record collection, so I did come away inspired and also awe-inspired with the unique talents he shared with us during his sadly-shortened career.
The show runs through mid-October, 2022, with more information available at
CONTINUING THROUGH DECEMBER 2022 – It’s so nice to see that some collectors are more than eager to share works from their collections with the viewing public, but I have to admit that I was surprised to see a work that was just purchased at a recent auction included in a new museum show! Regular readers will recall that, in last month’s newsletter, I’d shared the info about the intense bidding and final purchase of the painting by the late Ernie Barnes titled The Sugar Shack, an image well-known to both album art fans (it was the cover of Marvin Gaye’s 1976 album I Want You) and viewers of the popular comedy show “Good Times” (where it was an integral part of the show’s opening credits sequence). Houston, TX-based hedge fund guru and entrepreneur Bill Perkins shelled out over $15 million at a mid-May auction at Christies for the second, larger version of the painting (the one seen on Good Times, with the first, smaller version going to crooner Gaye for his use), and on June 15th at Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts, the colorful 1976 painting of partygoers enjoying a night out at a segregated music hall in North Carolina was put on display at the museum, where it will be on loan through the end of 2022.
This article on the ArtDaily news site provides us with some additional info about this work, its owner and why he was so eager to share it with fellow Houstonians/art fans – https://artdaily.cc/news/147252/Ernie-Barnes–The-Sugar-Shack-goes-on-view-at-the-Museum-of-Fine-Arts–Houston-June-15
CONTINUING THROUGH DECEMBER, 2022 – Friend of ACHOF Dr. Richard Forrest’s 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) – which opened in late May at the former International Center of Photography Museum. 250 Bowery, New York, and is slated to run through December 31, 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. This is a truly-impressive, multi-media exhibition of one of the world’s most-talked-about artists, with more info on the show available at – https://www.newyorkbanksy.com/
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/ ).
CONTINUING THROUGH FEB. 2023 – I’m excited to report to you about the recent launch of a new exhibition at New York City’s Universal Hip Hop Museum. The show’s titled “[R]Evolution of Hip Hop: Golden Era 1986-1990” and, according to the venue’s advance PR, makes note of the fact that “the artistic and technological advancements made during the years of 1986 and 1990 were remarkable. The lyrical skills of Rakim, Kool G. Rap, Big Daddy Kane and others would transform the definition of an MC. The production mastery of chopping up beats and sampling sounds by the likes of Marley Marl, Prince Paul and the Bomb Squad would redefine the sound of Hip Hop forever.”
Fans of the genre will be able to revisit many of the highlights of the era, one which “established rap as a commodity and its acts as marketable stars that could sell products like the Adidas they wore on their feet…From the city streets and the clubs of New York to the suburban neighborhoods of Compton, California, Hip Hop expanded by leaps and bounds as regional sounds and styles established themselves. The phenomenon of Yo! MTV Raps would further intensify this expansion on a worldwide basis between 1988 and 1990…experience the street fashions of Dapper Dan, the beats of DJ Scott LaRock, the rhymes of Biz Markie and the culture of Hip Hop that was chronicled by Video Music Box, Word Up Magazine, the Source, The Arsenio Hall Show and scores of other outlets. The show opened to the public this past June 28th and is running thru 2/28/23, with info/tix available at https://uhhm.vbotickets.com/events?mc_cid=2e35322f80&mc_eid=1aeceeec6c
CONTINUING THROUGH MARCH, 2023 – The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts’ Music & Recorded Sound Division acquired the late musician Lou Reed’s archive in 2017 and, in early June, to correspond with what would have been Reed’s 80th birthday, they launched a new show – Lou Reed: Caught Between the Twisted Stars – that’s set to run through March 4th, 2023 in the library’s Donald and Mary Oenslager Gallery.
According to the show’s advance PR, “the exhibition will showcase rare and never-before-displayed material from the Lou Reed Archive at the Library for the Performing Arts, spanning Reed’s creative life from his 1958 Freeport High School band, The Shades, to the Velvet Underground, to his solo albums and tours, to his final performances in 2013. Highlighting his life and work, the exhibition will feature audio and video of performances and interviews, photographers’ original prints and contact sheets, handwritten lyrics, personal correspondence, studio notes, album proofs, press, tour posters, and Reed’s personal record collections”.
In addition to the visuals put up for viewing, the exhibition includes (until the 7th of January, 2023, in the Vincent Astor Gallery) a specially produced “Lou Reed Listening Room” curated and designed by Raj Patel of the design/engineering firm Arup that will (according to the firm) “allow visitors to experience a range of Reed’s work in the original intended format including mono, stereo, quadraphonic and full ambisonic spatial audio with accompanying light and visual installation. Most notably, the room will enable ‘Metal Machine Trio: The Creation of the Universe’, a sound installation developed in 2012 by Reed and Arup, to be experienced in New York for the first time”.
The show is curated by Lou Reed Archive archivist Don Fleming and Jason Stern, who worked as Reed’s technical director. More info about this exhibition can be found on the venue’s website at https://www.nypl.org/events/exhibitions/lou-reed
Ben Sisario covers the music industry for the NY Times and published an article recently about his visit to the show – https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/06/arts/music/lou-reed-caught-between-the-twisted-stars.html – that includes a photo of a sweater Reed received as a gift that is decorated with the cover art from his Transformer album, featuring a photo by the late Mick Rock. The show also includes examples of the covers produced by the Drate/Salavetz design firm, who sent along several photos of their own recent visit to the show. Two of the works they produced that were used to package a couple of Mr. Reed’s memorable albums on Sire Records were included in this show’s display, including the covers for the 1989 release New York (Art Direction & Design by Spencer Drate, Judith Salavetz and Sylvia Reed, with photo by Waring Abbott) and 1992’s Magic & Loss, again by the team of Drate/Salavetz/Reed, with this image including a shot by French photographer Louis Jammes.
JUST MISSED BUT STILL WORTH LOOKING INTO – Those of you who know me from the time long ago (when I was an art gallery owner) will recall that one of the artists whose work I was proud to represent was the man responsible for some of Prog Rock’s best-known imagery – Mr. Paul Whitehead, creator of memorable album images for Genesis, Van der Graaf Generator, Peter Hammill and the wonderful “Mad Hatter” logo for Charisma Records, among many others. In the years since, I’ve reported on Paul’s career (including his 2016 induction into the ACHOF in the Illustrator category) and today, once again, I’m pleased to be able to share that Paul was a featured artist in a new themed group show that opened the weekend of July 9th at the Hive Gallery and Studios, 729 S. Spring St, Los Angeles, CA (closed on July 30th) that’s sure to have pleased fans of the rock group Genesis in that the art that was included in the display was all inspired by the music of original Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett.
Presented by The Chicago Narratists Visual Arts Collective and curated by group director JC Baez (with Hive Gallery director Nathan Cartwright), the show is titled Steve Hackett: Horizons and is, according to the advance PR, “a visual exploration and celebration of the music of Genesis and Steve Hackett.” I reached out to Mr. Baez (who, like me, is based in the Chicago area) to learn more about the show’s inspirations and what would be on display and he was kind enough to share the following details (and images) with me. “Hi Mike – Thanks for your interest in our show. I’m attaching the show’s press release with all the pertinent info but allow me to explain how the show came together and then I’ll tell you a little about me.
I’m a huge Genesis and Steve fan and Steve and I have known each other since about 2005, when we met each other after a show in Chicago at the Abbey Pub. I asked if I could do a painting of him based on that night’s photos and he agreed. He later connected me to Peter Gabriel for a project that I can’t mention and that allowed us to continue communicating about said project. Back in 2019, I saw Steve at Copernicus Center in Chicago for his Selling England By The Pound Tour and I asked him if he would like to collaborate on a project with the Art Collective I had started recently, The Chicago Narratists. We were already working on a project with YES’s Jon Anderson and, being a friend of Jon’s, I had already been working on a graphic novel titled Violin Stories (I had also illustrated his children’s book When Toola Forgot Her Song). I thought a similar collaboration with Steve would be good, especially as a celebration of his creativity and a way to show how his music had inspired another generation of artists.
I presented Steve with the concept of him choosing 10 to 15 solo and Genesis songs for the artists in my collective to create paintings based on. We would provide sketches and he would provide feedback, based on the ideas he had when writing the songs and what inspired them. We ended up with 12 paintings. The previous year, I had exhibited at a great gallery in Los Angeles – The Hive Gallery and Studios downtown – and the owner Nathan Cartwright and I had discussed having another show this year. I presented him with the idea of the exploration of Steve’s work in painting form and he was very interested, especially because he’s a friend of Paul Whitehead’s. We decided to invite Paul as our special guest, and we are so excited because Paul was an early inspiration for some of us in my collective who were very familiar with Genesis. Even more exciting is the premiere of Paul’s new piece, “Watcher of the Skies”.
The pieces created by the artists for the show were the following:
J.C. Baez – “Firth of Fifth”, “Blood on the Rooftops”, “Spectral Mornings”, “Wolflight” and “Horizons”.
Manuel Avila- “The Fountain of Salmacis”, “Shadow of the Hierophant” and “Sierra Quemada”.
Jon Lyons – “After The Ordeal”, “After the Ordeal (Swing)” and “After the Ordeal (Shore)”
And from special guest artist, Paul Whitehead – “Watcher of the Skies” and various prints.
JC continued – “The criteria for the works included in the show was for the artists to follow the suggestions of songs to paint that Steve gave us and to have created the artwork with feedback from Steve, who was very generous with sharing ideas and the history of the songs visualized in these paintings. You have to understand that Steve knows a lot about art, since his father was an artist himself. He was an amazing collaborator!
Steve is touring New Zealand and Asia with his Seconds Out tour and will not be able to attend, as much as we tried and as much as both he and I wanted. That’s why we are so fortunate that another member of the Genesis family, Paul, will be joining us.” The show was up until July 30th.
I asked J.C. to tell me a bit more about himself and, as it turns out, he’s an artist and illustrator with a pretty impressive resume who, in addition to the aforementioned folks he’s collaborated with in the past, has worked on a graphic novel with fellow Chicagoan Walter Koenig (Ensign Chekov from Star Trek), storyboards for Neil Gaiman’s upcoming Amazon mini-series Anansi Boys and album covers/package art for a broad range of recording artists including Jon Anderson, guitarist Phil Keaggy, multi-instrumentalist Tony Gerber, rock band ShowPony and U.K. Hip-Hop artist Akala. I think that both JC’s CV and Mr. Hackett’s active participation in the project adds a lot of credibility to the show’s premise and guarantees that what attendees will find will be both unique and impressive (see more about JC’s latest work down in the Items For Sale section later on in this news summary).
All in all, it looks like this was a great show for fans of both classic rock music and beautiful, music-inspired imagery, so I’d invite you to click on over to the gallery’s site to learn more about it – https://hivegallery.com/exhibitions/2022/horizons-steve-hackett-show-more/
Artist News and Interviews –
a) Chris Biggs talks about designing the latest album cover for the Pixies in this recent article by Emily Gosling on the Creative Review (UK) site. The former (and then-partner of Vaughan Oliver) in the v23 Design group discusses his work with 4AD label acts including The Breeders, Throwing Muses and others and now, since Oliver’s death back in 2019, taking on new work for one of the label’s most-enduring bands – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/chris-bigg-pixies-album-art/ (subscription required, sort of – you can scroll the article behind the pop-up if you’d like!).
b) Denny Miller, the founder and creative director for the NYC-based creative/design group High Tide and whose own career includes stints designing album covers for Sony Music and Atlantic Records, shares his thoughts on several design-focused books that have influenced his career, including the comprehensive book by Joaquim Paulo about a genre of album covers that in my opinion doesn’t receive enough attention from the fine art/collecting world – Funk & Soul Covers – https://www.creativeboom.com/features/danny-miller-five-books/
c) A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing a Chicago-based artist by the name of Faheem Majeed who’d authored a piece about his favorite album covers for the Muse By Clio site that I read and had been impressed with. If you’ll recall the interview, you’ll remember that Mr. Majeed is an accomplished sculptor and multi-media artist, educator (he currently is an assistant professor of art at the University of Illinois at Chicago). co-founder of the Floating Museum arts collective and someone whose work has been included in a number of well-regarded exhibitions, including solo shows at the MCA Chicago, SMFA at Tufts and the Hyde Park Art Center and, while I know that he’s an in-demand artist, I have to admit that I was caught a bit off guard when, in late July, while I was touring our local (and truly impressive) botanic garden, I found myself face to face with one of Faheem’s monumental sculptures – one commissioned for the outdoor art display created for the garden’s 50th anniversary celebration.
A Ladder for Creeping Charlie & Bittersweet Nightshade by Faheem Majeed, on display at the Chicago Botanical Garden
Titled A Ladder for Creeping Charlie & Bittersweet Nightshade , the black and gold painted welded steel and forged iron ladder-shaped sculpture straddles a brick wall in the Helen & Richard Thomas English Walled Garden serves to illustrate, according to the artist, that “walls and barriers have been a part of human life since the dawn of time. Whether physical barriers like the Berlin Wall, the U.S.-Mexico border walls, the West Bank barrier, or systemic barriers like redlining and wealth gaps, barriers are designed to keep people/things in or out. I wanted to create a piece that thinks about what happens when the unwanted are supported to peek over the fence.” Living in the area that we do and understanding that we’re extremely fortunate to have such a wonderful resource available to us, my wife and I were just so happy to see this work of art and hope that its message resonates with those who come upon it.
More on this exhibition is available at https://www.chicagobotanic.org/flourish
d) Grammy-winning artist Lawrence Azerrad (a 2014 ACHOF inductee in the “Art Director” category) has added another unique entry to his already-impressive CV – he provided the design for the package that housed what must be one of the most-expensive recordings ever sold, that being the newly recorded, T Bone Burnett-produced one-of-a-kind “Ionic Original” record of Bob Dylan singing “Blowin’ in the Wind,” which sold at an auction at Christie’s in London in early July for 1,482,000 GBP, or $1,769,508.00, well-above its pre-auction estimate (read the details in this recent posting on the Variety.com web site – https://variety.com/2022/music/news/bob-dylan-auction-record-blowin-wind-sells-million-dollars-pounds-1235311170/ .
In a posting on his LinkedIn site right after the auction, Lawrence notes that this “could be the most expense album package I’ve designed: selling for $1.8 million last Friday at Auction. @tboneburnettofficial commissioned us to brand and package the first release for Neofidelity: a new recording of @bobdylan performing “Blowin’ in the Wind” on a one-of-one acetate on Iconic original 10-inch disk.” As you can see in the pictures that accompanied the item on the auction site, the record is packaged in a beautiful wood case with a slide-out drawer that reveals the disc and a simple plaque that reads “Neofidelity: Bob Dylan Blowin’ In The Wind One of One|2022” – https://www.christies.com/en/lot/lot-6381194 I’ll see what more I can find out about the project but, in the meantime, I’d like to congratulate Lawrence on this most-impressive commission.
e) A new U.K.-based gallery (Dark Earth) that promotes art that leans to the Dark Side opened in late June (on the 21st, the day of the Midsummer Solstice) with an exhibition built around the paintings of Berlin-based (but Israeli-born) artist Eliran Kantor, and artist well-known in the heavy metal music world for the covers he’s produced for bands such as Helloween, Kreator, Sodom, Testament and others. This is the first time Kantor’s work has been shown in a solo show in the U.K., and in this article I found on the Braveworlds.com site – https://bravewords.com/news/acclaimed-helloween-and-kreator-artist-eliran-kantor-debut-uk-solo-exhibition-at-dark-earth-to-run-until-january-2023 – you’ll learn more about his background (which included stints as a commercial designer, with clients including Renault and Visa), who his most-admired artists are and his long-term focus on creating some of the most fascinating-yet-disturbing album art ever to grace a record cover over the past 20 years.
The show runs through January, 2023, with more up-to-date information available at https://mobile.twitter.com/darkearthmetal
f) Peter Saville’s work on Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures has established itself as one of pop music’s most-well-known images (oh, for a penny for every t-shirt made sporting this design), but we have read very little about the artwork featured on the group’s second and last record (released posthumously after the death of Ian Curtis) so it was quite interesting to find this recent article on the topic – https://www.radiox.co.uk/artists/joy-division/whats-on-the-cover-of-closer-by-joy-division/
g) This month’s album art-related features on the Muse By Clio site finds the editorial team asking two new artists to share some of their thoughts about album art and design, beginning with an article titled 10 Great Album Covers, Chosen by Katie Tingey of Struck – https://musebycl.io/art-album/10-great-album-covers-chosen-katie-tingey-struck which details the favorite covers of this art director at the Salt Lake City-based design firm Struck who, according to their web site, have 20+ dogs (“non-human employees”) on their team, which endears me to them greatly. Take a look through her portfolio online at https://katietingey.com/ includes work for the Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Overbrook Entertainment (French Princess children’s book series), Drive Apparel and Squatty Potty (home of the pooping Unicorn!), among others.
Included in Katie’s list are covers for Harry Styles, Tegan and Sara, Taylor Swift and others – nothing from before 2003 so, boy do I feel old.
The second article finds artist Carolina Mercado exploring how the color blue has been used so effectively, and in so many ways, on album imagery over time, with Ms. Mercado taking a look at covers from all over the world and from many genres, with examples including Joni Mitchell’s 1971 album Blue, Yo La Tengo’s 2000 record And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out and photographer Brett Stanley’s true-blue underwater shot found on the cover of Weyes Blood’s Titanic Rising, among others.
What does the use of this color have to say about the music found inside the package? Find out more at https://musebycl.io/art-album/what-album-covers-drenched-blue-say-about-music-within
Items for Sale and/or at Auction –
a) Chicago-based artist JC Baez, whose work on the exhibition featuring art inspired by the music of Genesis and guitarist Steve Hackett was covered earlier in this newsletter, also shared the news about a new project he’s worked on that he’s quite excited about, and for good reason. For the “Prog Supergroup” Six By Six (featuring multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Robert Berry, Saga guitarist Ian Crichton and Nigel Glocker, drummer for Saxon), JC and the band wanted to deliver a full-bore multi-media offering, producing a graphic novel as a companion to their forthcoming debut album (titled Six By Six) which is set for release on August 19th, 2022 via InsideOutMusic/Sony Music. THE JOURNEY INTERNAL will be published on September 30th, 2022 with the following pre-release press giving fans all of the details – https://mailchi.mp/1a659976ed1d/six-by-six-announce-publication-of-graphic-novel-as-companion-piece-to-debut-album?e=3cf544b458
“Though not conceived as a concept album, the band and the artist have woven the songs into a compelling tale of one man’s adventures and struggles. THE JOURNEY INTERNAL is a poignant and captivating story of his quest to find beauty and peace.” The graphic novel can be ordered in the U.S. on Berry’s merch site – http://stnickspicks.com/product/the-journey-internal-a-graphic-novel/ with fans in Europe and the U.K. being sent to https://burningshed.com/six-by-six_jc-baez_the-journey-internal_book? To place their orders.
Read more on the LouderSound.com – https://www.loudersound.com/news/enjoy-six-by-sixs-debut-in-visual-form-with-their-companion-graphic-novel
b) U.K.-based gallery and print publisher Hypergallery recently announced three things that peaked my interest and, therefore (I’m hoping) yours as well… It’s the 50th anniversary of the rock band Styx and, in celebration of that milestone and the band’s return to touring, the group collaborated with the always-impressive artist/designer Ioannis to release a limited-edition print of his artwork for the Return To Paradise live album package – https://hypergallery.com/en-us/collections/styx/products/return-to-paradise . Available in an edition of 100 prints, each work is signed by both the artist and by the members of the band.
Hypergallery and Ioannis also paired up to highlight the artist’s new album cover art for Alan Parson’s latest album – titled From The New World – which is is now available as a limited-edition print. The press release for this collaboration shares the following – “Celebrating the new album’s release, this fabulous archival high-end print has been published by the HYPERGALLERY in LONDON UK, the world’s premier gallery for authentic signed album cover art, and printed by Visual Impact Studios in Connecticut, USA. The print is numbered and hand signed by both Alan Parsons and the artist, Ioannis. It is limited to only 100 pieces and will not be available in any other configuration…” The release continues with these additional details – “Ioannis has worked closely with Alan and his team on the image for Parsons’ latest album. They agreed from the start that it would be published as an art print, giving fans something special to commemorate this highly anticipated release.” The autographed prints are available to purchase at a special price of $400 each.
Mr. Parsons is an esteemed musician, composer and recording engineer with a nearly-unmatched resume, having produced albums for The Beatles (Abbey Road and Let It Be) and Pink Floyd (The Dark Side of the Moon) and several top-selling albums of his own material (such as I, Robot and Eye In The Sky) which have resulted in an impressive thirteen Grammy Award nominations and a 2018 win in the Best Immersive Audio Album category for Eye in the Sky – 35th Anniversary Edition.
Commenting on the beauty and quality of the art prints featuring his new record’s artwork, Alan said that “when Ioannis met me backstage at a show in NJ for me to sign the prints, I was quite pleased with the end result. The prints were just beautiful.”
Take a look at this new print on the gallery’s web site at https://hypergallery.com/products/from-the-new-world and, to read more about this creative alliance on the Braveworlds.com web site at https://bravewords.com/news/alan-parsons-hypergallery-announces-limited-edition-from-the-new-world-album-cover-print-by-acclaimed-artist-ioannis
I’m happy to announce that I’ll be publishing an interview with Ioannis about this latest work in the coming months, so stay tuned for further information.
Also from Hypergallery – a new series of prints based on artist Bill Smith’s torn-paper designs created for the double-platinum selling Abacab album from prog rockers Genesis – https://hypergallery.com/en-us/collections/bill-smith Other notable album cover work examples include two other albums for Genesis (Genesis and Duke); King Crimson’s Starless & Bible Black; Who Are You? for The Who; The Jam’s Setting Sons and In The City; Eric Clapton’s Time Pieces: The Best of Eric Clapton and other packages for Mike Oldfield, Paul Carrack, Ian Matthews, Queen and many others. Before getting into the music business, Bill worked as Art Director for Octopus Books from 1974-76, leaving there to accept the same post at Polydor Records, where he worked from 1976-78. He set up his own studio – Bill Smith Studio (BSS) – and served as the Creative Director there from 1978-2002.
At Bill Smith Studios and subsequently, Bill has specialized in work for the entertainment and sports sectors, acting as consultants to a number of record companies and organizations such as International Amateur Athletic Federation and British Athletic Federation. Bill was creative director for hundreds of music artists including Rolling Stones, Kate Bush, Genesis, The Jam, Van Morrison and Mike Oldfield.
In my last bit of Hypergallery-related news, I’d like to note that the gallery is launching an exhibition at their home space in Henley-on-Thames that brings the great James Marsh-designed visuals produced over the past 40 years for the U.K. new wave band Talk Talk. Per the gallery’s pre-show press, “Hypergallery is delighted to be able to bring this exhibition of signed, limited edition silkscreens and archival inkjets showcasing the jewels in Marsh’s impressive and distinctive portfolio home to Henley, following it’s inaugural outing in collaboration with Haddenham Arts Centre in Ely, Cambridgeshire and Easter week at Show Off Gallery in Whitstable.”
In addition to the prints that will be on display (by appointment throughout the month of July), the gallery we will be showing off Marsh’s collection of small-edition artist books along with the third edition of the hugely successful tome Spirit of Talk Talk by James Marsh, Chris Roberts and Toby Benjamin, published by Rocket 88. Learn more about this show on the gallery’s site at https://hypergallery.com/en-us/collections/flights-of-fancy and, if you have a minute, I’d like to invite you to read (or re-read) the interview I did with the supremely-talented Mr. Marsh about his work for Talk Talk – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/james-marsh-talk-talk-interview/
c) One of the music world’s most-interesting and idiosyncratic personalities and perhaps the most-famous proponent of Afrofuturism – that of course being Sun Ra and his Arkestra – always presented their recorded output packaged in sleeves that were at once thought-provoking and visually expressive. Music journalist, radio personality and administrator of Sun Ra’s musical estate Irwin Chusid recently announced the upcoming publication (due out in October from Fantagraphics) of a new book called Sun Ra: Art on Saturn — The Album Cover Art of Sun Ra’s Saturn Label that gathers examples of artwork from Sun Ra’s Saturn record label sourced from collections around the world and presents them to music and art fans who appreciate their artistry.
According to this recent posting on the UDiscoverMusic.com site, “The covers of Saturn LPs, issued from 1957 to 1988, are iconic—some rolled off commercial printing presses, but many were hand-crafted. These records were sold at concerts, club dates, and by mail order. As collectibles, original handmade Saturn covers sell for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars. More than just packaging for a slab of vinyl, they are works of art in their own right…(the book) is the first comprehensive collection of all Saturn printed covers, along with hundreds of the best hand-designed, one-of-a-kind sleeves and disc labels, decorated by Ra himself and members of his Arkestra.” In addition to Chusid’s words on the subject, the book includes essays by noted Sun Ra scholar John Corbett and the man who initially signed Ra to his distribution deal back in the 1970s, Glenn Jones. Read more about this new book and the people who brought it all together for us at https://www.fantagraphics.com/products/sun-ra-art-on-saturn-the-album-cover-art-of-sun-ras-saturn-label
Article on Udiscovermusic.com site – https://www.udiscovermusic.com/news/futuristic-sounds-sun-ra-60-years-reissue/
d) One of rock music’s longest collaborations – the relationship of photographer Mick Rock and rocker David Bowie – produced many iconic images over the years, so it was with great interest that I learned more about a new lenticular print that was to be published in July – https://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/photography/all/26905/facts.mick_rock_david_bowie_changes_lenticular.htm? The limited-edition print, from an edition of 500 signed by Mr. Rock prior to his death in 2021, is priced at $750 and is described as follows on the publisher’s site – “Four classic Mick Rock portraits of the scene shifting David Bowie blend seamlessly together in a single, framed lenticular portrait of the glam-Rock superstar. It is an experience that propels you right into the center of the Ziggy Stardust universe.” Fans of this unique form of photography will certainly appreciate the slow morphing from one persona to another that’s delivered in this new print.
e) While the most-current method of photo production and printing known as “lenticular” printing has been used to create “moving” artworks since the 1950s, new forms of 3-D artworks that take advantage of the latest technologies continue to create new products for fans and collectors. One new company called CAMOworks has recently launched a new series of CAMO 3DLA™(3-Dimensional Layered Artform) collectibles which, according to the company, are “a whole new way of visualizing some of pop/rock music’s most-enduring images – Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead, Bob Marley, Notorious BIG, Miles Davis, AC/DC and others yet to come…As music lovers, the CAMOWORKS team honors our music icons at every step of the creative process. Our artists, illustrators, and industrial designers hand-draw and design each CAMO 3DLA™, 3-Dimensional Layered Artform, with precision, love, and obsessive attention to detail.” I suppose that the best word to describe these works is “sculpture” but that’s really just scratching the surface of just how unique these limited-edition, licensed items are. Rather than read more here, I’d suggest that you trek on over to the company’s site to see what’s on offer – https://camoworks.com/pages/about-us
f) As a follow-up to a “Brief Bit” I had included in the April 2022 newsletter that shared the news about artist Rodney Matthews’ coloring book, I’d like to share the announcement of another addition to the line of Rock N Roll Colouring Books being published by Eyesore Merch that feature the work of surrealist artist extraordinaire Mark Wilkinson, the designer and illustrator behind some of the best known album covers for bands such as Fish, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Marillion and others – https://eyesoremerch.com/pre-order-the-official-mark-wilkinson-colouring-book-limited-signed-edition-release-date-12th-august-2022/
The book includes outlines for twenty-five of his classic rock and metal cover designs, just waiting for your young ones to color in and share with Grandma and Grampa. See the entire line of similar products from this publisher at https://eyesoremerch.com/brands/rock-n-roll-colouring-books/
On a related note – Mark Wilkinson will be exhibiting a selection of his original artwork at the RAM Gallery at Bloodstock Festival in Derbyshire, U.K. between August 11 and 14. The festival, founded by another artist of great repute – Paul Raymond Gregory – will also be the place where Wilkinson and Gregory serve as judges for an art contest built around submittals to their RAM (Rock and Metal) Gallery – https://www.bloodstock.uk.com/pages/the-ram-gallery-art-competition Fantasy art fans – you’ve been warned (and hopefully enticed to attend).
g) The perfect gift for your favorite paranoid, sweet leaf toking, fairy boot-clad skateboard aficionado was recently released on the Black Sabbath band site – an album art decorated skate deck sporting the well-known cover image from the band’s 1970 self-titled album printed on the front and the Henry logo on the back. It measures 8.25″W x 33″L and is priced at $65.00 – https://blacksabbathapparelshop.com/products/self-titled-skate-deck? Iron Butt lives again….
h) Brought to you by the creators of The Proud Archivist and Idea Generation Galleries, Mobile Art Disco (MAD) is an “itinerant urban art gallery on a mission to publish and programme the most inspiring editions and exhibitions around playful (and occasionally attention-seeking) themes,” with one of their first offerings being a series of six limited-edition prints from a collaboration between a top photographer (Dennis Morris) and a world-renowned designer, Shepard Fairey based on Morris’ photos of the late Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious. The series is titled SID, Superman Is Dead and commemorates the recent exhibition at London’s Rock & Roll Wall of Fame Gallery of selections from the portfolio of Mr. Morris – https://rnrwof.co.uk/blogs/upcoming-exhibitions/superman-is-dead
Prints are priced (in US Dollars) at $429 each and can be viewed and ordered on the gallery’s site at https://mobileartdisco.co.uk/collections/dennis-morris
i) There’s a new Funko Pop! Album package due out in time for the Holidays that offers grunge rock fans something new and exciting for their collections, with this one offering up a Funko-ized version of Alice In Chains’ 4X platinum-selling 1992 album Dirt – https://themusicuniverse.com/alice-chains-celebrates-dirt-30th-anniversary-with-funko-pop/ The set is expected to ship on November 30th.
j) REMINDER – It always makes me happy when I have the opportunity to promote the work of Chicago area creatives, so I’m pleased to share the announcement of the upcoming publishing (due out now in early September) of photographer Paul Natkin’s new book, titled Natkin: The Moment of Truth –
Publisher’s description – “Over the past four decades, Paul Natkin has had a front-row seat for music history, attending over 10,000 shows and concerts to chronicle the excitement and excess of the music industry. Since the 1970s, he has photographed most of the major music stars of the last half of the 20th century, shooting album covers for Ozzy Osbourne and Johnny Winter and countless magazine covers, including Newsweek, People, Spin and Ebony. The Moment of Truth is Natkin’s documentary as a witness to the music industry during his illustrious 40-plus years as a photographer and fan.”
The publisher is offering customers ordering from their site an exclusive – buying the book in one of five exclusive paperboard slipcases featuring some of our favorite images from the book. https://trope.com/collections/books/products/natkin-the-moment-of-truth
Preview the book in this article I found on the NY Post site – https://nypost.com/2022/06/20/prince-bowie-van-halen-behind-the-scenes-of-famous-photos/ and feel free to visit the publisher’s site to see both the book and the collection of fine art prints of Paul’s that are on offer there –
While perhaps better-known as a concert photographer, Paul does have several fine album cover images in his portfolio, including works for Iggy Pop, Johnny Winter, The Smithereens, Ozzy Osbourne, John Lee Hooker and others.
FINAL REMINDER FOR US customers – While we’re on the subject of good new books to add to your collection…Just a reminder that there’s a newly revised and updated version of author Paul Gorman’s book on the art of the late great designer known as Barney Bubbles that hit the shelves in the UK in late June and which arrived at U.S. booksellers in late July. 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 order your copy of Paul’s book at –
The folks at Creative Boom recently published a bit of a deep dive (nicely illustrated, too) into Paul’s new BB book, if you’d like to see a bit more about what’s included and what the package looks like (plus some nice quotes from Paul about his new work) – https://www.creativeboom.com/features/barney-bubbles/
Auction Results Updates –
a) Original paintings made during singer/songwriter Halsey’s latest tour were recently auctioned at Sotheby’s, with proceeds from these sales destined to benefit that National Network of Abortion Funds, a group and cause the multi-media performer has been wholeheartedly promoting. Created during the recent “Love And Power” tour (in support of her 2021 album If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, which also featured a rather controversial cover image of the artist (taken during her pregnancy and derived from Renaissance-era religious art, showing the singer as both a Queen and the Madonna), the paintings were promoted as part of Sotheby’s Contemporary Discoveries auction, with bidding that ended on the 19th of July.
According to the auction house, “each painting was created on stage within the confines of a three-minute song during the gigs, with five pieces from the tour now available to bid on until July 19. The paintings were created at performances in Gulf Shores, AL, Nashville, TN, Detroit, MI, Boston, MA, and Portland, OR.” Each painting was given a pre-auction estimate between $5,000 and $7,000, but her fans and supporters came through in a big way, with each painting selling for between $25, 200 and $30, 240 and netting the targeted charities well over $125,000 – https://www.udiscovermusic.com/news/halsey-sothebys-auction/
Here’s a video of her 2019 appearance on Saturday Night Live during which she painted an illustration for her song “Eastside” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySmBqIKZi3E
Miscellaneous Items and other Brief Bits –
As always, I’m going to have to keep these short-and-sweet (well, most of them, anyway):
a) Arnold Skolnick, the creator of one of the best-known graphic images of the late 1960s – that being the poster for the August 15-17, 1969 “Woodstock Music and Art Fair” that took place on farmland in Upstate New York serving up “3 Days of Peace and Music” to an estimated half-million attendees, died this past June 15th in Amherst, MA of respiratory failure. He was 85 years old.
After the show’s producers (and local record retailers) rejected the original promo poster design, which featured a naked woman and, ultimately, the wrong address for the event, Skolnick was paid $12,000 for the job (which he divided with copywriter Ira Arnold) and was told he had two days to deliver it. As he’d been sketching birds while vacationing, he had a basic main image ready (but originally put it on a flute, changing his mind later on) and worked around the clock to deliver what would be the artwork we all know and love (with the final address inserted last-minute)
Skolnick actually did make it out to the festival grounds for one day but left right before it started raining. Good move – we all saw the mudslide.
While he might be best-remembered for his Woodstock poster, Mr. Skolnick did go on to a distinguished career as a commercial designer, artist and book publisher, founding both Imago Design, a design company that specialized in art books and, in 1990, Chameleon Books, another fine art book publishing concern that has released over 50 titles.
Obit on the ArtDaily.com site (originally on the New York Times site) – https://artdaily.cc/news/147812/Arnold-Skolnick–whose-poster-embodied-Woodstock–dies-at-85#
Obit with picture of the artist – https://www.legacy.com/news/celebrity-deaths/arnold-skolnick-1937-2022-woodstock-poster-artist/
b) Acclaimed metal album cover artist Mariusz Lewandowski has died – two articles announce the death of this popular fantasy artist whose works graced scores of metal music album packages –
a) Most “what ever happened to” stories we see have to do with older rock acts or “one hit wonders”, so it was with great interest that I read this recent article about everyone’s favorite tiger cub – i.e., the one Michael Jackson is seen cuddling with on the sleeve of one of the world’s best-selling albums – 1982’s Thriller – https://www.grunge.com/933371/what-happened-to-the-tiger-from-michael-jacksons-thriller-album-art/ After reading the article, I’m not sure that the mystery has been solved – can you tell?
b) American Songwriter magazine has recently published a string of album art-related articles that, on the whole, have added a bit more exposure to the stories behind a number of better-known cover images. First off, Catherine Walthall shares the little-known story behind Led Zep’s Physical Graffiti album cover – https://americansongwriter.com/the-little-known-story-behind-led-zeppelins-physical-graffiti-album-cover/ Peter Corriston’s work features two buildings on St. Mark’s Place in NYC…
The next entry I found did come with a somewhat-curious title – “The Story Behind The Velvet Underground’s Iconic Banana Album Art” – in that the album in question was titled The Velvet Underground & Nico, with artist Andy Warhol’s banana-based cover image providing him with a way to both tantalize and slightly offend those who chose to peel the sticker to reveal the pinkish version underneath. The writer (Winnie Litchfield) does provide a nice backgrounder that explains about the relationship between the band and Pop Art’s #1 bad boy at the time – https://americansongwriter.com/the-story-behind-the-velvet-undergrounds-iconic-banana-album-art/
AS’s Walthall continues with another article about an interesting collaboration between a well-known visual artist – Takashi Murakami – and a musical act known for pushing the boundaries of album cover design for both his own records and those who hire his DONDA design group, that being Mr. Kanye West. They produced a package early on in the rapper’s career that established a large teddy bear (AKA “Dropout Bear”) as his mascot (alter-ego) and who’d appear on later albums and related materials as well – https://americansongwriter.com/graduation-kanye-west-album-cover-story/
Lastly but not leastly, I also saw this article on the American Songwriter website by Catherine Walthall about the making of the cover for Hotel California by the Eagles and saw a quote that sounded vaguely familiar… turns out it was from an old interview of mine – https://americansongwriter.com/hotel-california-the-eagles-album-cover/ The story of how Kosh and his crew risked life and limb to put themselves in the perfect spot for the memorable cover photo is an intriguing one (one that I shared back in 2007) but certainly worth reading again in this expanded form.
c) Tour through Beyonce’s album covers, including the not-leaving-much-to-the-imagination recreation (with very modern updates) of Lady Godiva’s ride found on the package for July 2022’s Renaissance – https://www.billboard.com/photos/beyonce-album-covers-1235109316/7-beyonce-renaissance-cr-carlijn-jacobs-billboard-1240/ and in a related story on the Numero website (written by Violaine Schütz), you’ll find that the cover artwork made by the Dutch photographer (based in Paris) Carlijn Jacobs is full of symbols – tributes to Lady Godiva, Bianca Jagger, Grace Jones and Joan of Arc – https://www.numero.com/en/music/beyonce-visual-album-renaissance-lady-godiva-bianca-jagger-grace-jones
d) While most articles with a title like this one – “The 12 Most Dangerous Album Covers of All Time,” by Phoenix New Times contributor Serene Dominic – are mostly clickbait, with little to share for most readers, I was pleased to see that the writer actually did some research and then proffered some interesting facts and opinions about album covers that, for a variety of reasons, can be labelled “dangerous”. Some were hit with this designation due to their racy and/or disturbing imagery, while others were tagged as it seems that the people featured on these covers were quite possibly in danger due to the situations the designers/photographers posed them in. Personally, I was most struck by the inclusion of a couple of covers that featured imagery that was, unfortunately, badly-timed, which doomed them to eternal inclusion in lists like this one. Enjoy, but don’t say I didn’t warn you – https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/music/most-dangerous-album-covers-of-all-time-10464323
e) Frame-makers have long worked to enable those looking to decorate their living/working spaces with examples of great album cover art, but this is the first time I’ve seen an article in which the writer works to examine the important aspects of style, color and graphic design found in a selection of well-known record albums, with the goal of helping designers/decorators understand whether the design/color aspects of a given work of art will work in a particular design and furnishings scheme. More about album artworks as decorative items can be found on the Zoella (UK) website – https://zoella.co.uk/2022/07/08/12-of-the-prettiest-record-covers-made-for-your-vinyl-wall-display/
f) In album cover true crime news…An un-named writer who absconded with over 100 pages from a notebook of lyrics belonging to musician Don Henley relating to his work on Hotel California, a rare book dealer and a curator at the esteemed Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum were all charged in mid-July with conspiracy relating to their attempt to sell the clandestine memorabilia for over $1m. According to this report found on the Relix.com website, “Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg showed evidence that the three men conspired to sell the documents they knew were stolen to auction houses, including Christie’s and Sotheby’s, forging proof of authenticity and attempting to sell the lyrics back to Henley, himself.”
g) NYC renames intersection in honor of its having been featured on the cover of a Beastie Boys album – https://ew.com/music/ny-intersection-on-beastie-boys-album-cover-officially-named-after-rap-group/ article by Justine Browning for Entertainment Weekly (EW.com) site. The New York intersection featured on the cover of the Beastie Boys’ 1989 album Paul’s Boutique has been named after the rap trio. The site, which consists of the intersection of Ludlow Street and Rivington Street in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, will now officially be known as “Beastie Boys Square.”
More Legal Case Updates –
a) Last year’s most-covered album image-related case, if you’ll recall, involved the young man who was featured as an infant swimming naked in a pool (as seen on a Nirvana album) and which, I’ll remind you, was thrown out of court. More recently, a long-awaited case (postponed by both the COVID pandemic and the birth of the rapper’s new son) involving a man who claims that his image was used without his permission on a rather-explicit cover photo for rapper Cardi B’s 2016 debut album (Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1) is going in front of a judge and jury on August 3rd, with both sides confident that they’ll prevail. In this case, a So. Ca. musician who sports a rather unique back tattoo says that he was shocked to see what appears to be his back on the person shown performing simulated oral sex on Ms. B (actual name, Belcallis Almanza). The defendant says that it wasn’t him (the tattoo was super-imposed on the actual model’s back, it is claimed) and, besides, there was not any actual sex taking place. Screening the jury pool involved asking whether they’d heard of Cardi B, whether or not they like rap music, whether or not they like tattoos, etc., and will not be shown the actual art until the trial begins. Initial details on this trial can be found at https://lawandcrime.com/celebrity/judge-thinks-case-details-could-entice-jurors-to-serve-at-trial-over-cardi-bs-sex-themed-first-album-art/ Please note that the makers of Corona Extra beer, also seen on the same cover, have not sued for being included in this cover image.
a) Another Rolling Stones-related “who did what cover” story – John Pasche and photographer Phil Jude collaborated on the alt cover for Sticky Fingers when the original Warhol image was deemed obscene in Gen. Franco’s Spain back in 1971 – https://www.yahoo.com/now/why-rolling-stones-sticky-fingers-135538205.html
b) CD sales also going up – Last month, I shared some updated info about the ongoing growth of sales of vinyl records, etc – now CDs are coming back, too. Booklet designers and writers, here’s your chance to shine! https://www.engadget.com/how-to-survive-the-inevitable-cd-revival-130013506.html?src=rss
c) Found this documentary film on YouTube about the album Selling England By The Pound by Genesis during which a bit is shared (from 08:15 to about 09:50) about the making of the always-intriguing cover painting done by UK artist Ada Elizabeth Edith “Betty” Swanwick who, in addition to producing this work, was well-known for her illustrations for London Transport – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAdl6hS0bjw
d) Ringo Starr credited with photo for a classic T. Rex album cover – https://ultimateclassicrock.com/t-rex-slider-cover-ringo-starr/
e) Yoko Ono’s painting of China’s Chairman Mao and US President Richard Nixon dancing naked together that was featured on the newspaper-style cover art for hubby John Lennon’s Some Time in New York City album did not please the censors, who forced the record company to affix an impossible-to-remove sticker on its retail products. No stranger to the effect that censors can have on the packaging of his records (remember the original “Butcher Cover” for The Beatles’ Yesterday & Today?), John wasn’t happy with this bit of governmental/retail censorship over-reach – https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/cover-john-lennons-album-some-time-in-new-york-city-censored.html/
f) Now here’s something I’ve never really thought much about…take this quiz on the RadioX site (UK) to see how many famous feet you can identify from the album cover shots they were included in – https://www.radiox.co.uk/games-quizzes/quiz-can-you-name-these-album-cover-feet/ I got seven out of eight (need to study my White Stripes covers more closely it seems). How did YOU do?
g) The newest entry in Far Out Magazine’s “The Cover Uncovered” series of articles finds writer Tom Taylor bringing light to the fact that there have been some really bad album cover images used to package and promote some of the music industry’s most-respected and beloved musical acts – “From David Bowie to Bob Dylan: The 10 worst album covers ever to befall great artists” shows us that even the most design-forward musicians can find themselves victimized by their labels’ art directors from time to time – https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/10-worst-album-covers-great-artists/
h) Just can’t escape the clickbait “best album covers of all time” articles, can we? https://www.thisisdig.com/feature/best-album-covers-iconic-record-sleeves/
R.I.P. Actor Nichelle Nichols and basketball great Bill Russell. True trendsetters.
That’s all for now – stay tuned and be on the lookout for timely news alerts on our news feeds (sign up below to get an automatic email every time there’s something new on the ACHOF site). With any luck, I’ll be returning right around the first of next month with another news summary for you. Until then, enjoy your Summer season (assuming that fires and oppressive heat aren’t dampening your plans), any travel and gardening you might be busy with and whatever else brings joy to you and those you love. Peace and Love and wishes of Good Health, belief in what’s real and compassion for those less fortunate to you all.
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.