Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for March, 2023
Posted March 1, 2023 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
February might be a bit shorter than other months, but that doesn’t mean that we album art/artist fans were short-changed in the news department. Starting off with the Grammy Awards and continuing with new exhibitions, art and book releases and a lot of ancillary items, there’s plenty for us fans of album cover art/artistry to dig into, so let’s cut the chit-chat and take a look at what I’ve put together for you.
Preliminary judging has begun on the entries vying for another noted industry award – the Making Vinyl Packaging Awards – and, as one of the judges on the panel tasked to review the hundreds of submissions received, I’m curious and eager to see what always turns out to me a fascinating cross-section of examples of album covers/packages coming in from all over the world.
This month’s newsletter contains a human-curated (as opposed to an AI-generated – we’re old school here at the ACHOF) summary of the news in all of the main topic areas, with updates and info about several new museum and gallery exhibitions, new auctions and sales and a goodly number of art and artist-related articles. As always, I’d like to once again say “thanks” for your help and support, so let’s get started with some updates on the award shows recently ended and currently in progress:
Special Award Show updates:
Originally posted 2/5/23 – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2023/02/05/achof-breaking-news-update-2023-grammy-awards-winners/
The 2023 Grammy Awards show – the 65th annual show, just 10 months after the COVID-delayed 2022 Award Show and taking into account music/packages that were released between the first of October, 2021 and the last day September, 2022 – took place at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, CA on Sunday, February 5th, 2023.
The Grammy Award winners in the “Packaging” categories were announced today during the web-cast Grammy Awards “Premiere Ceremony”, and I’m now pleased to share the info on who the winners were below:
In the “Best Recording Package” category, the nominees were:
Beginningless Beginning – Chun-Tien Hsia & Qing-Yang Xiao, art directors (Tamsui-Kavalan Chinese Orchestra)
Divers – William Stichter, art director (Soporus)
Everything Was Beautiful – Mark Farrow, art director (Spiritualized)
Telos – Ming Liu, art director (Fann)
Voyeurist – Tnsn Dvsn, art director (Underoath)
and the winner was Beginningless Beginning –Qing-Yang Xiao and his daughter Chun-Tien Hsia, art directors (Tamsui-Kavalan Chinese Orchestra)
Interview with Taiwanese duo who won in the Best Recording Package category – https://focustaiwan.tw/culture/202302060010
Xiao Qing-yang (蕭青陽) and his daughter Hsiao Chun-tien (蕭君恬) won the award for “Best Recording Package at the February 5th Premiere ceremony for their work for “Beginningless Beginning,” the soundtrack record for the short film “Tamsui-Kavalan Trails Trilogy” Xiao directed. It was Xiao’s seventh Grammy Awards nomination since 2005, and the first with his daughter.
This is the second consecutive year that Taiwanese designers have won the prize for Best Recording Package at the annual Grammy Awards. In 2022, Li Jheng-han (李政瀚) and Yu Wei (于薇) won the award for their cover design for the album “‘Pakelang” (八歌浪) at the 64th Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, which was the first-ever Grammy won by Taiwanese nominees.
In an interview with the Focus Taiwan web site after the award show, Mr. Xiao is quoted as saying that his various works were “created to communicate with the world, even though they are mostly about Taiwanese culture.”
In the “Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package” category, the nominees were:
Artists Inspired By Music: Interscope Reimagined – Josh Abraham, Steve Berman, Jimmy Iovine, John Janick & Jason Sangerman, art directors (Various Artists)
Big Mess – Berit Gwendolyn Gilma, art director (Danny Elfman)
Black Pumas (Collector’s Edition Box Set) – Jenna Krackenberger, Anna McCaleb & Preacher, art directors (Black Pumas)
Book – Paul Sahre, art director (They Might Be Giants)
In And Out Of The Garden: Madison Square Garden ’81 ’82 ’83 – Lisa Glines, Doran Tyson & Dave Van Patten, art directors (The Grateful Dead)
and this year’s Grammy was awarded to In And Out Of The Garden: Madison Square Garden ’81 ’82 ’83 – Lisa Glines, Doran Tyson & Dave Van Patten, art directors (The Grateful Dead)
I’m working with this team on an interview about their work on this package and hope to have it ready for you in the next month or so…
And, while we still don’t “officially” cover this category, here are the nominees in the “Best Album Notes” category:
The American Clavé Recordings – Fernando González, album notes writer (Astor Piazzolla)
Andy Irvine & Paul Brady – Gareth Murphy, album notes writer (Andy Irvine & Paul Brady)
Harry Partch, 1942 – John Schneider, album notes writer (Harry Partch)
Life’s Work: A Retrospective – Ted Olson, album notes writer (Doc Watson)
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (20th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition) – Bob Mehr, album notes writer (Wilco)
with Bob Mehr being awarded a shiny new Grammy Award for Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (20th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition)
The nominations for the 2023 Grammy Awards were announced during a live streaming event that took place this past November 15th (which you can re-watch on the Grammy Awards site – https://live.grammy.com/).
Congratulations to all of the winners (and nominees).
BONUS CONTENT – AI-Powered graphics used on stage (and in related graphics packages) at this past Grammy Awards presentations – If you watched any of the Grammy Awards presentations – on TV or online – you’ll have noticed that there were some what we old folks call “trippy” (i.e., psychedelic) graphics used as backdrops. These were created by a young media artist – originally from Istanbul, Turkey – named Refik Anadol and were made using AI technology. There’s an article by Caroline Goldstein (no relation) on the ArtNet site – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/refik-anadol-machine-hallucinations-grammys-2251741 – that gives us some of the details about the artist and the artist’s “Machine Hallucinations” series of images that were used. The 38-year-old media artist is the subject of a show titled “Refik Anadol: Unsupervised” which is currently on view (thru March 5th) at the Museum of Modern Art in New York – https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/5535
Exhibitions and Gallery Show Info (new and upcoming soon)
a) Famed collage artist and music world imagemaker Winston Smith, along with Jonathan LeVine Projects & Destroy Art, recently launched an online (only) exhibition of Smith’s works in late February (titled “The Intolerance of Uncertainty” and running through March 24th) at https://jonathanlevineprojects.com/exhibitions/ According to the gallery’s PR, “The selection of works included in this collection spans more than 44 years of the artist’s career as one of the most prolific collage artists of our time.” Album art fans will note that Mr. Smith has been responsible for a goodly number of well-known and regarded album packages for music industry clients including Green Day, Jello Biafra, Ben Harper, One Hit Wonder and many others.
Winston first came to infamy by way of his hard-hitting political shock piece, “Idol” – a “bowling trophy style” Jesus nailed to a cross of dollars that was used for the Dead Kennedys’ album In God We Trust, Inc. That album, which was subsequently banned in England and condemned by the American Religious Right, landed Smith and Dead Kennedys “a permanent spot in the punk culture hall of shame.” I had the good fortune of selling some of Smith’s prints in my old gallery and, in support of those efforts, I also had the good fortune to interview him (way back in 2007) about the making of the collage for one of his most-famous album cover images, that being “God Told Me To Skin You Alive” – a mixed-media work that was used on the cover of Green Day’s 1995 release on Warner/Reprise records titled Insomniac – https://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2007/05/cover_story_gre.html
b) There’s a new street art show at Saatchi Gallery’s outpost in London that’s being lauded as “the biggest ever” and that includes original art, rare memorabilia ephemera, photography, immersive and site-speciﬁc installations, fashion and several “surprises” including a full-size recreation of a record shop – https://www.saatchigallery.com/exhibition/beyond_the_streets_london The show’s on until the 9th of May and has received many glowing reviews, beginning with this description found on the ArtDaily new site – https://artdaily.cc/news/154593/Saatchi-Gallery-presents-the-most-comprehensive-graffiti—street-art-exhibition-to-open-in-the-UK#.Y_Ph_XbMK00 and continuing with articles of varying lengths and details from scores of publications – https://www.saatchigallery.com/exhibition/reviews/beyond_the_streets_london_68
c) FOLLOW UP TO ITEM FROM LAST MONTH – As I’d reported last month, I’d learned about a new(ish) museum located in a renovated funeral home on the South side of Chicago called The Museum of Post Punk and Industrial Music which was opened in 2021 musician/artist/designer/collector and long-time Chicago resident Martin Atkins (of Public Image Ltd., Ministry, Killing Joke, Nine Inch Nails and the supergroup Pigface). Built predominantly from memorabilia he’s collected over the past 40+ years working in the music business, the museum’s collection and displays provide visitors with a fascinating look into both Martin’s career and the musical and visual arts surrounding the music scenes he’s so passionate about.
As promised, I reached out to Martin and asked him to join me in a couple of Zoom-based interview chats (see photo, above) so I could present my readers with more about the man and his efforts to share his knowledge with the public and he graciously accepted, so I will be working over the next several weeks to edit those meetings and present the results to you ASAP. In the meantime, since visits to the museum are currently by appointment only (as they’re escorted visits with Martin regaling visitors with stories about the things on display, I wanted to share the fact that they’ll be accepting reservations for one of their “open house” events in early March, with others to be scheduled going forward. If you’d like to join in on March 5th, I’d suggest hurrying over to the ticket site now to reserve your space ($25) – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/museum-of-post-punk-and-industrial-music-open-house-tickets-565161773077
Participation is free to Museum Founders. If you’re not a founder and would like to become one for lifetime free access to the museum, you can purchase the Founders’ Package here – https://martinatkins.bigcartel.com/product/founders-edition-museum-of-post-punk-and-industrial-shirt
I’m hoping to go and visit the museum sometime soon but, in the meantime, I’ll let you know when the interview article is ready and we’ll take it from there.
Ongoing and Upcoming Exhibitions
d) Just as we were going to press, I learned about an exhibition that’s opening in London in early April that’s meant to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane album. Here are two articles that provide us with some preliminary information about the show, which will be on display at the Southbank Centre in the city – https://www.rollingstone.co.uk/music/news/southbank-centre-celebrates-50-years-of-aladdin-sane-with-exhibition-southbank-centre-27162/ and https://uk.style.yahoo.com/aladdin-sane-50-years-exhibition-120000157.html? The show is going to be curated by Chris Duffy, photographer Brian Duffy’s son, and will be on display until the 28th of May. According to the press, “Aladdin Sane: 50 Years’ will feature a two-month long exhibition exploring the creation of the album’s iconic artwork, including the legendary lightning flash portrait by photographer Brian Duffy, as well as a stellar line-up of live music and talks inspired by the album.” Sounds like a great way to spend a day, no? More info is available on the venue’s site at https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/festivals-series/aladdin-sane-50-years
e) CONTINUING THROUGH EARLY 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 end it’s run on March 4th, 2023 in the library’s Donald and Mary Oenslager Gallery.
According to the show’s PR, “the exhibition showcases 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”.
Some of the items on display include 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 album covers produced by the Drate/Salavetz design firm. Two of the works they produced that were used to package a couple of Mr. Reed’s memorable albums on Sire Records are featured 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.
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
f) CONTINUING THROUGH MARCH, 2023– Launched in early February, there’s a new Markus Klinko exhibition in Houston, TX at The Nicole Longnecker Gallery – https://preview.houstonchronicle.com/art-exhibits/houston-beyonce-photographer-icons-klinko-markus-17728127 Having been introduced to rocker David Bowie after shooting the cover photo for his wife Iman’s 2001 book (I Am Iman), Klinko made such a good impression on the man that he was then hired to photograph Mr. Bowie for the cover of his 2002 record Heathen, and since then, Klinko’s portfolio has grown to include portraits of many other musicians and celebrities and cover/promo images for Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Mary J. Blige and countless other stars from all areas of the entertainment world.
The gallery is located in the ALARA Garage complex in the West Houston Heights, with more info on this show, including hours, dates and appointments, available at https://www.longneckergallery.com/show/nicole-longnecker-gallery-klinko
g) CONTINUING THROUGH MAY, 2023 – There’s an exhibition continuing at the Groninger Museum in Groningen, Netherlands that puts on display the talents of the design team responsible for dozens of iconic (it’s a word I hate to use but, in this case, absolutely fitting) album covers – i.e., Storm Thorgerson, Aubrey Powell and the others who contributed to the Hipgnosis design agency, with the initial details reviewed on the ArtDaily site – https://artdaily.cc/news/153798/Groninger-Museum-unveils-a-world-first-with-exhibition-The-Art-of-Hipgnosis#.Y81vtXbMK00
The Art of Hipgnosis opened during a huge music fast in mid-January, and here’s how the museum describes the show, which will be on display until the 14th of May, 2023 – “Their illustrations have decorated the walls of millions of teenage bedrooms since the 1970s. Yet many people have never heard of the London design studio Hipgnosis. Now the Groninger Museum is honouring the group, which designed legendary album covers for some of the world’s biggest rock acts, with its first ever major exhibition: The Art of Hipgnosis: Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Paul McCartney, Peter Gabriel & 10cc…produced long before the invention of digital photography and Photoshop, The Art of Hipgnosis gives you an up-close look at the design, process and stories behind the most iconic album covers ever made.”
Groninger Museum director Andreas Blühm curated the exhibition with Hipgnosis founder Aubrey Powell. All the photographs and objects in The Art of Hipgnosis come from Powell’s private archive, and you can learn/see more on the museum’s website at https://www.groningermuseum.nl/en/art/exhibitions/hipgnosis
h) CONTINUING THROUGH MAY, 2023– NYC’s Fotografiska Museum continues its display of a show built around an impressive collection of historic rap/hip-hop photos that was put together to help mark the 50th anniversary of mostly-agreed-upon date of the event that launched the genre that’s now one of the world’s most impactful (in terms of music, dance, fashion and the visual arts that surround it).
Hip Hop: Conscious, Unconscious opened in late January with a star-studded event and will be on display at the venue landmark building on Park Ave. South through the 21st of May of this year. According to the Museum’s website, the show was co-curated by Sally Berman and Sacha Jenkins, Chief Creative Officer of media giant Mass Appeal and “presents images ranging from iconic staples of visual culture to rare and intimate portraits of hip-hop’s biggest stars from legendary pioneers including Nas, Tupac, Notorious B.I.G, and Mary J. Blige to modern icons such as Nicki Minaj, Megan Thee Stallion, and Cardi B.
The works on view traverse intersecting themes such as the role of women in hip-hop; hip-hop’s regional and stylistic diversification and rivalries; a humanistic lens into the1970s-Bronx street gangs whose members contributed to the birth of hip-hop; and the mainstream breakthrough that saw a grassroots movement become a global phenomenon.” Visitors will find over 200 photos taken by noted photographers including Campbell Addy, Charlie Ahearn, Janette Beckman, George DuBose, Johnathan Mannion, Theo Wenner and many others, with more details available at https://www.fotografiska.com/nyc/exhibitions/hip-hop/
i) CONTINUING THROUGH JUNE, 2023 – Another interesting show, this one featuring 14 examples of works from the 1960s and 1970s produced by celebrated music photographer Barry Wentzell, continues at The Portsmouth Music Experience at the Portsmouth Guildhall in Portsmouth, Hampshire, U.K. – https://www.aboutmyarea.co.uk/Hampshire/Portsmouth/PO6/Culture/Music/337052-Portsmouth-Guildhall-welcomes-UK-retrospective-of-iconic-music-photographer-Barrie-Wentzell
Running through the 30th of June, 2023, ‘Icons of Rock: Portrait & Performance’ offers visitors “a rare opportunity for music and photography fans to see some of Barrie’s works in the flesh. The exhibition has been arranged by a lifetime fan and follower of Barrie’s work, Nigel Grundy, Curator of the Portsmouth Music Experience, who was also a music photographer during the 1960s.” Wentzell is perhaps best-known as the chief staff photographer for Britain’s Melody Maker music magazine for many years and he also contributed to the retail packaging of records from top performers including YES, Cat Stevens, John Mayall, Wishbone Ash, Fleetwood Mac, Rory Gallagher, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and many others.
Learn more about this show, which is free and open to the public, on the venue’s website at http://www.portsmouthmusicexperience.org.uk/index.html
j) CONTINUING THROUGH JUNE, 2023 – Now at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles – the organization is currently staging a show built around the late photographer Jim Marshall’s portfolio of shots he took of the Rolling Stones back in 1972 and described in a posting on the Billboard.com site – https://www.billboard.com/music/music-news/grammy-museum-rolling-stones-1972-photo-exhibit-1235165692/
The Rolling Stones 1972: Photographs By Jim Marshall is on display on the museum’s Fourth Floor Mike Curb Gallery until June 4th, 2023, with more info and tickets available via the link – https://grammymuseum.org/event/the-rolling-stones-1972-photographs-by-jim-marshall/
Notable examples of Marshall’s album cover work – Allman Brothers Band – Live At Fillmore East; Moby Grape – Moby Grape and Commander Cody’s Country Cassanova, among others. Born in 1936 in Chicago, Illinois and spending his early years in the pro photo business shooting memorable images for record labels such as ABC, Columbia and Atlantic Records and also The Saturday Evening Post newspaper, ehe 1970s found Jim continuing his streak of award-winning images, many of which graced the covers of Rolling Stone and LIFE magazines, including photos of the Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson, T-Rex, Joni Mitchell, jazz greats Carmen Mcrae and Dizzy Gillespie and Karl Malden and Michael Douglas on the set of the TV series Streets of San Francisco. Jim died in 2010, but you can still page through his portfolio and purchase prints on his “official” web site – https://www.jimmarshallphotographyllc.com/
k) CONTINUING THROUGH JULY, 2023 – The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, OH is hosting a new version of the Bruce Talamon photo exhibit titled Hotter Than July that, according to the museum, is “an ethnographic study of a visual representation of blackness and personal analysis of a culture during the golden age of Soul, R&B and Funk (1972 – 1982).” I’d written about the previous iteration of this show that was presented at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles (which closed August 1st), so I won’t rehash that info, but the show – which will be up until July of 2023 – has generated a lot of local press attention – https://www.rockhall.com/exhibitions/hotter-july
l) UPCOMING IN 2025 – In a press item found on the Artnet.com site, the U.K.’s Victoria & Albert Museum has announced that there will be a comprehensive exhibition put on display sometime in 2025 culled from the nearly 80,000 items the organization has acquired recently from the estate of the late rocker/artist/iconoclast David Bowie. Set to open in the new V&A East Storehouse outpost in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the David Bowie Centre for the Study of Performing Arts will be the first of many shows and related activities crafted from this incredible archive. Read more at https://news.artnet.com/art-world/victoria-albert-museum-acquired-david-bowie-archives-2260275 and some examples from the collection can be found on Bowie’s official website – https://www.davidbowie.com/blog/2023/2/22/vampa-secures-bowies-archive-for-the-david-bowie-centre-for-the-study-of-performing-arts
Artist News and Interviews
a) Just able to sneak this into today’s newsletter…Here’s a link to a recently-recorded video interview that music photo fans will want to watch. In the clip posted on YouTube, you’ll find musician Kris Gruen leading an interview with his rather-famous father, photographer Bob Gruen, that was staged as part of a show at the Gary Lichtenstein Gallery in NYC – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFQAteqWT8c I haven’t yet watched it myself but, based on both my previous interactions with the noted shooter and the fact that this is a son interviewing his father, I’m certain we’ll find a lot to enjoy. My thanks goes out to Melissa Marr at GLE for getting this to me in the nick of time to be included in this month’s newsletter, and here’s a link to the gallery’s page where you’ll find a selection of Mr. Gruen (Sr.)’s prints available for sale – https://www.gleditions.com/bob-gruen
b) The project that’s been working hard to produce a film about the life and creative output of one of the world’s best-known illustrators – that being the late Richard Amsel – is moving closer to completion and, in a recent teaser video they published, it looks like it will surely be something that fans of album cover/music promo art will want to be seeing.
Richard was responsible for the promo imagery created for the launch of Bette Midler’s recording career and, in the following clip, you’ll learn more about how that relationship started and blossomed into something quite memorable – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhUPQV0lHro To learn more about the project and the life and career of the man who is considered one of the entertainment industry’s most-accomplished illustrators (and to watch the movie’s trailer), be sure to visit www.richardamselmovie.com.
c) In a recent article on the Blackbird News celebrity info site, photographer Lenny Gerard shares some stories about working with top-tier clients (Madonna, Nicole Kidman, etc.) – https://www.blackbirdnews.com/interview-with-celebrity-photographer-fortune-500-creative-designer-lenny-gerard/ Holding both a BA in Liberal Arts from NYC’s New School University and a BFA in Photography and Videography from the city’s illustrious Parsons School of Design, this talented young man seems more than capable of working with demanding clients and making them quite happy with the results.
Lenny’s portfolio can be found on his web site at https://www.lennygerard.com/about-me
d) Writing for the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Media web site, Isa Johnson submitted this story/interview about and with a team of young creatives from So. CA who worked together to create the cover for a collaboration between rapper Cordae and rapper/producer Anderson.Paak (along with producer J. Cole) titled “Two Tens.” The song’s sleeve features an image of “two young Black models both strategically placed across a colorful blanket, wearing matching outfits as they fully encompass the songs title. Many may not know that it was shot and modeled by team of three Black female creators from USC.” – https://www.uscannenbergmedia.com/2023/02/01/meet-the-two-tens-behind-anderson-paaks-new-cover-art/
e) Writer/album art historian Guy Minnebach recently posted a nice story about the relationship between two NYC-area art icons – artist Andy Warhol and musician/tastemaker Deborah Harry of Blondie fame – and how several different paintings Warhol did in the early 1980s were used (ultimately) on Ms. Harry’s band and solo recordings – https://warholcoverart.com/2023/02/26/the-debbie-harry-portraits-or-the-face-andy-warhol-would-have-liked-to-have/ Included in the article are snippets from interview articles in which Harry recalls her first meeting Warhol while working as a server at the Max’s Kansas City club and how things proceeded from that initial encounter.
f) As a follow-up to the news shared last month on his special award from the Grammy organization, here’s an interview with Henry Diltz by Pamela Chelin titled “The Accidental Photographer” on the Spin.com site – https://www.spin.com/2023/02/henry-diltz-interview/ I also found an article on the Best Classic Bands site showing him at a pre-Grammy show party the night before he was to receive his award and it was quite the star-studded event. He’s obviously made a lot of friends in the music business and they were happy to celebrate with him – https://bestclassicbands.com/henry-diltz-grammy-trustees-award-2-22-23/
g) Famed album art designer Neville Brody – whose strong influence on early 80s British record design was shown in his work for music industry clients including Desmond Dekker, The Slits, Cabaret Voltaire, 23 Skidoo, Depeche Mode and Throbbing Gristle, among many others – is serving as the President of the Jury panel for this year’s D&AD Awards and recently challenged those working in the graphic design industry to try and be a bit less mechanical, a bit more creative and much more aware of the multi-media needs of their clients in their efforts to separate themselves from the pack – https://www.dandad.org/en/d-ad-graphic-design-needs-friction-says-jury-president-features-opinions/?
After hearing about the increasing number of students who are using AI writing programs to do most – if not all – of the heavy lifting in their creative assignments, I believe that this advice from a successful designer couldn’t have come at a better time.
h) The latest string of album art-related features on the Muse By Clio site finds the editorial team behind the “Art of the Album” series asking several artists/production execs/musicians and album art fans to share some of their favorite covers and why it is that they stand out amongst all others.
First, there’s “9 Great Album Covers, Chosen by Danny Paul of The Electric Factory – Beach House, Douglas Dare, Cat Power and more” – https://musebycl.io/art-album/9-great-album-covers-chosen-danny-paul-electric-factory
Danny Paul is the executive creative director at The Electric Factory and, as I only recognized two of the nine musical acts he included in his selection, it seems as though he has very different musical tastes than I do. The description of what his company does is also beyond my old man comprehension – “a creative innovation company focused on elevating the present by applying the opportunities of the future.” He seems to have a lot of happy clients, so there you go.
Later in the month, the Muse By Clio team posted a list of album art favorites chosen by members of a Welsh band called The Trials of Cato – https://musebycl.io/art-album/10-great-album-covers-chosen-welsh-band-trials-cato
Items for Sale and/or at Auction
a) Jacques and the team at Backstage Auction recently launched a new auction based on the 450+ item collection of a long-time fan of the Rolling Stones named Nathan Levy that includes several items that should be of interest to album art fans. Included in the mix are prints and posters of imagery from Exile on Main Street, Beggar’s Banquet, Stripped, Goats Head Soup, Forty Licks and several more. One item that caught my eye was a limited-edition print (done in 2013/14) of Ernie Cefalu’s version of the famous “Lips & Tongue” logo which was personalized by Ernie to the collector. All in all, lots of fun things to look at and, if you’re lucky, own! Bidding ends on the 5th of March – https://www.backstageauctions.com/catalog/auction.php
b) One of my most-prized possessions – something I look at nearly every day, as it decorates one of the walls in my office (see photo, above) – is a gold record presentation of Black Sabbath’s debut record, Black Sabbath or, as many fans know it, “the one with the witch standing in in a field on the cover”. Mine is particularly meaningful to me as the cover art bears the signatures of Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler, who signed it “To Mike, Best Witches!” (the two of them visited the studio I worked in back in the mid-2000s and were kind enough to sign it for me). In any case, this is one of the albums that most metal fans credit for kicking off the “heavy metal” scene over 50 years ago, so to say that the cover image is “iconic” may be an understatement and that photographer Keith “Keef” McMillan’s somewhat-fuzzy image of the slightly-green girl standing near an ancient water mill that stares out from the cover is one that has tantalized fans for years, so when I learned that the team at KnuckleBonz has begun accepting pre-orders for a limited-edition statue of that timeless character as part of their 3D Vinyl series of products, I knew that I had to share that info with you ASAP.
But wait – there’s more! Not only are they releasing a statue of one well-known Sabbath-related character, but they’ve also gone ahead and produced another one, this based on one of the two masked British fighter pilots featured on the Hipgnosis-designed cover of the band’s 1978 classic Never Say Die.
You can review the both on the company’s website at https://knucklebonz.com/product-category/black-sabbath/ There will only be 1970 of the witches and 1978 of the NSD pilots made, so place your orders soon ($164.00 each, or the both for $295, a 10% savings when you purchase them together).
c) Designer and publisher Simon Robinson – the author of album art-related books including Graphreaks and The Art of the Bizarre Record Sleeve – has announced that two books that have been on the back-burners for a variety of reasons are now about ready to hit the shelves…
The first book, titled Boom Boom Boom Boom, will certainly pique the interest of music/art fans of late mid-century American R&B and is built around a collection of photographer Brian Smith’s shots of many of the top acts of the time (1962 – 1966) – https://easyontheeyebooks.wordpress.com/forthcoming/boom-boom-boom-boom/
Simon’s also shared info on another book he’s working on that’s due out this year – the second in his series on metal music gods Deep Purple called Fire In The Sky (and you know why) – https://easyontheeyebooks.wordpress.com/forthcoming/c-deep-purple-fire-in-the-sky/
You can flip through some of the imagery featured in these upcoming books on the Easy On The Eye site (in the “forthcoming” section) and then pre-order them if you so desire.
d) Photographer Elliott Landy has launched a new Kickstarter program to raise the necessary funds to produce and deliver a second book of photos (and the stories behind them) derived from his huge and very behind-the-scenes archives of The Band – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thebandbook2/elliott-landys-the-band-photographs-book-volume-2 As was in the first project, supporters will be able to pre-order both books and book packages that include one of the many prints Elliott has on offer. The program is up until April 8th, so let’s all pitch in to help bring this new book to life.
e) New Mick Rock photo book released on what would have been his 74th birthday – article in the UK’s Daily Mail – https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-11697961/Mick-Rocks-scenes-photos-music-icons-David-Bowie-Lady-Gaga.html
f) And the hits keep on coming! The Flood Gallery, in cooperation with Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson, have begun to take pre-orders on a few more soon-to-be-released prints in their Jethro Tull Art series of album cover prints. Now available for pre-order are prints (in a variety of sizes and prices) of the covers of Stand Up, This Was and Benefit – https://jethrotullart.com/collections/1968-to-1970?
g) Brian Cannon and his cohorts at Microdot are expanding their retail empire to a second location, this one on King Street in Manchester, UK. In addition to Oasis-related items – prints, t-shirts, books, etc. – team Microdot has created well-known graphics and imagery for musical acts including Primal Scream, Ash, Suede, The Verve, Northern Soul and others and so there’s an impressive array of products to peruse and consider for purchase. The first boutique was launched in Kendal, so it’s nice to see that fans have been generous in supporting Brian’s efforts.
The local paper – The Manchester Evening News – was happy to promote this new store on its website at https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/man-who-created-cover-oasis-26301206# and if you’d like to see what’s for sale, feel free to visit their website at https://www.microdotboutique.com/
h) New Funko Pop! Albums – the line’s been expanded to include TLC, Motorhead, Cyndi Lauper and more – https://themusicuniverse.com/cher-cyndi-lauper-tlc-among-new-music-funko-pop-figures/
See them all on the Funko site – https://www.funko.com/shop-music?filter:productType=Pop!_Albums&page:on=1
i) Since we’ve previously discussed the new retrospective show now on display in the Netherlands on the subject of Hipgnosis-produced album art, I’d like to point you to this updated bit of info and a review of the upcoming Mark Blake-penned book on the famed design group – https://www.brain-damage.co.uk/books/us-and-them-the-authorised-story-of-hipgnosis-mark-blake.html
Auction Results Updates:
GRAMMY/MUSICARES AUCTION RESULTS – There were a lot of people who were looking to take home a souvenir from this year’s Grammy Awards festivities, that being done via the MusiCares auction, one of the organization’s biggest fund-raising events and hosted again this year by the venerable Julien’s Auction House. The MusiCares organization provides programs that support both music education and health care for those working in the industry without it, so it’s always great to see the support given the group by the people who both donate items for the auction and those who bid big for the chance to take something unique home.
Based on the auction results, which you can review via this link – https://www.julienslive.com/auctions/catalog/id/453 – collectors were willing to give generously in order to secure their most-wanted items, with many lots selling for well over their pre-auction estimates. For example, an autographed copy of Paul McCartney’s book of lyrics (titled “The Lyrics”) that had a pre-auction estimate of $1-2,000 sold for over $25,000, while another collector took home a guitar fully-signed by Fleetwood Mac, which had an estimated value of $4-6,000, after bidding a little over $19,000 for it. Another item – a signed Taylor Swift guitar featuring the cover art from her mega-selling Evermore album – was purchased for $25,000 (5X the estimate) and a signed artwork by former Van Halen frontman titled Dark Ocean raised over $10,000 for the organization. The biggest surprise – perhaps no surprise, though – was the money raised by the sale of a pair of Nike Air Max sneakers autographed by rapper Eminem, which totaled a bit over $40,000. Nice kicks!
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) The editorial team at Far Out Magazine continues on with their The Cover Uncovered album cover art series, with lead vocalist and #1 Spaceman Jason Pierce breaking down Spiritualized’s epic artwork in this article by Aimee Ferrier – https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/jason-pierce-breaks-down-spiritualizeds-epic-artwork/
Far Out also posted an article (written by Tim Coffman) about the somewhat-obsessive work of super Beatle fan and group historian Chris Shaw to track down and make note of every photo used by designer Peter Blake and team to create the collage featured on the cover of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/beatles-fan-original-images-sgt-pepper-cover/ Chris has been posting his findings on his Twitter feed since 2017 and it makes for a fascinating read (he’s quite the super-sleuth). For another look at the Sgt Pepper’s cover – this one, created by an art lover and technologist who has built interactive/educational web products for The Louvre – read on…
b) We’ve all seen examples of great album cover photography and I am always fascinated by the images that were created by happenstance. Sometimes, it’s an example of “right place at the right time” while other times things happen as the result of a photographer trying out a new piece of equipment and presenting the resulting output to their clients to get their response to something a bit unusual (think of covers shots such as those infrared shots done by Karl Ferris and Elliott Landy for Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan, or the fisheye lens-crafted photo Vic Singh did for Pink Floyd’s The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn). In this article by Catchik Jordan I spied on the web site of The Bubble – https://www.thebubble.org.uk/culture/resolution-in-the-face-of-desolation-photographing-u2s-the-joshua-tree/ you’ll learn more about how Anton Corbijn’s use of a rather-foreign Kalimar Widelux panorama camera produced a memorable image of U2 in the American desert that graced the cover of one of their best-known albums.
c) More AI-related items – Since the initial posting of my recent article about Chat/Art/Music/Writing bots – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2022/12/23/why-bother-with-bots-album-cover-journalism-in-the-age-of-artificial-intelligence/ , I’ve seen some other articles on the topic that you might also want to read to learn even more about the latest advancements in the field and how people are reacting to them –
- Bruce Jenkins of the Vinyl Connection site embarked on his own test of AI-written articles, with his focus on the topics of Prog Rock and best records of 1973. In a strikingly similar set of results to those I had, Bruce found the answers to the questions he posed just as unsatisfying – https://vinylconnection.com.au/2023/02/01/prog-bot-vinyl-connection-dives-into-ai/
- A recent article in WIRED Magazine by Kate Knibbs asked (and answered) this album cover-related question – “Why Does AI Art Look Like a ’70s Prog-Rock Album Cover?” and, I must admit, the first thing that popped up in my mind when I saw the image that illustrates the article was the thought “doesn’t that remind you a bit of Mati Klarwein’s cover for Bitches Brew”? https://www.wired.com/story/generative-ai-style-movement-throwback/
- What do you get when you combine pop album covers, AI graphics tools and Tik Tok (I mean, can you get any more trendy than this combination)? You get the work of Dev Patel, who has taken some of his favorite album covers for Taylor Swift, Harry Styles and Dua Lipa (among many others) and run them through an AI tool or two to produce a series of video reveals for his work that are getting a nice number of views and a nice article about him on the Petapixel site – https://petapixel.com/2023/02/22/artist-expands-iconic-album-cover-photos-using-ai/
d) Hudson Valley (NY) Radio Station 101.5 WPDH (“Home of Rock ‘n’ Roll”) offers info on the Spring 2023 reopening of the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors in Wappingers Falls, NY – Alex Grey is an American visual artist known for creating spiritual and psychedelic paintings and examples of his work can be seen as the cover artwork on the band Tool’s albums Lateralus and 10,000 Days. His work has also appeared on albums by groups like the Beastie Boys and Nirvana, among others. “CoSM’s mission is to build a Sanctuary of Visionary Art to uplift the global community. CoSM is a place of contemplation for community honoring the practice of art as a spiritual path.” Read more at https://wpdh.com/rock-album-cover-designer-to-reopen-chapel-of-sacred-mirrors-in-wappingers-falls-ny/ and if you’d like to dig more into the artist’s mind-blowing (though, perhaps, I should rephrase that to say “consciousness-expanding”) portfolio, you can visit https://www.alexgrey.com/ and https://www.alexgrey.com/about/
In the online shop, you can purchase Grey family-made artwork (including several Tool-specific items) for your own music room – https://shop.cosm.org/collections/prints
e) Sometimes, it pays to scroll down a page… I was reading the sad story about the continuing rift between Roger Waters and his former bandmates in Pink Floyd (Waters is working to release a revamped version of Dark Side of the Moon, greatly down-playing the contributions of any of his former band mates) when I found a long article titled “The cover stars of 26 famous albums revealed” and, rather than being a pure clickbait play, it actually provides a fair amount of detail regarding “the regular people” – mostly unknowns – who’ve graced the covers of some of our favorite albums – https://planetradio.co.uk/absolute-radio/music/news/roger-waters-the-dark-side-of-the-moon/ One thing I discovered was that the naked model found on the cover of Pulp’s 1998 album This Is Hardcore (with design by Peter Saville) went on to be a successful journalist and politician who ran as a presidential candidate against forever-president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, in 2018. While Ksenia Sobchak didn’t win, she still seems to be alive, so I’m grateful to learn that.
And if one such article wasn’t enough, I also found another similar article on the Ultimate Guitar site, with some duplication but also some unique stories and bits of trivia that make it worth a browse – https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/articles/features/what_happened_to_the_people_on_famous_album_covers_part_ii-146996
f) Robby Krieger, guitarist for The Doors, talks a bit to GOLDMINE Magazine about the cover art that was on the package for their post-Morrison album Full Circle, with Ernie Cefalu and Joe Garnett collaborating on a cover that gave fans something to play with besides the record… https://www.goldminemag.com/interviews/robby-krieger-comes-full-circle-about-post-morrison-album
g) Is this article of any real value – covers all of the basics, but… https://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2023/01/multiple-ways-to-create-eye-catching-album-art.html The article is written by someone named Bear Green of the MusicRiser.com site, but it seems as though the main purpose of the site is to recommend products (of which he receives a commission on any resultant sales). Am I just a snob, or simply someone who is tired of finding articles like this one?
More Legal Case Updates – Still waiting for a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court in the copyright/fair use case of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. vs. photographer Lynn Goldsmith…the parties are anticipating to hear from the Court before their June, 2023 recess. It’s an important case on a number of levels, so we’ll do our best to keep you up-to-date on whatever we hear.
h) Artists!! How many times must I tell you that you MUST get your paperwork in place BEFORE you do the work, much less deliver it? Here’s another sad story about an artist who took his client’s word that “everything would be OK” only to find out that it wasn’t – https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/music-news/megadeth-sued-the-sick-the-dying-and-the-dead-cover-art-1235320010/
According to the court documents, “Plaintiff Brent Elliott White is a freelance illustrator and designer based out of New York City whose work includes comics, concept design and illustration. Since 2007, Plaintiff has worked almost exclusively in the music industry providing cover art, merchandise designs, and other art products for clients, including the music recording artists Trivium, Job for a Cowboy, Death Angel, Arch Enemy and Megadeth”. As you’ll read, hard work isn’t always repaid, forcing some to resort to the courts to seek justice which, I’m told, is sometimes available. Follow the gory details here – https://www.scribd.com/document/624427996/White-v-Megadeth# Some of the organizations that work on behalf of freelancers have had success in several cities/states passing ordinances that protect the rights of artists/writers/coders who work. Here’s a link in case you’d like to learn more – https://www.freelancersunion.org/community/freelance-isnt-free/
i) As if to prove that the preceding item isn’t a fluke, here’s an article about the 7 times that album cover models have sued the rocks bands whose album covers they were featured on – https://wcyy.com/rock-bands-sued-album-cover-models/
j) Well, at least he’s honest about it – I’m often told that some fans find it either disturbing or boring when they find that some of the artwork they’re seeing seems like they’ve seen it before. In the heavy metal arena – most notably, the death and dark metal sub-genres – there have been times when those of us to aren’t regular observers find that the cover images are straight-out attempts to impress fans with their testosterone-forward outrageousness, so perhaps the folks who collaborated on the cover art for Gojira’s 2021 release Fortitude weren’t considering that the band might find themselves touring with Mastodon, from whose cover for their 2017 album Emperor of Sand it seems they borrowed liberally from. Gojira frontman Joe Duplantier considers the possibilities in this recent expose on the Revolver.com site – https://www.revolvermag.com/culture/joe-duplantier-admits-gojira-possibly-ripped-mastodon-fortitude-artwork
k) American Songwriter’s Alli Patton shares some of the details behind ten notable album covers done by pop art giant Andy Warhol, going back to some of his early (mind-1950s) jazz covers, stopping briefly at his Velvet Underground (& Nico) and Sticky Fingers masterpieces and up through his later contributions to packages for Liza Minelli, Billy Squire, Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin, among others – https://americansongwriter.com/10-iconic-album-covers-designed-by-andy-warhol/
l) A contributor to a Vanderbilt U publication (The Vanderbilt Hustler, since 1888) offers up the “Best and Worst album covers for 2022” – https://vanderbilthustler.com/2023/02/05/the-best-and-worst-album-covers-of-2022/
Lastly but not Leastly:
After he’d seen my interview with artist Jann Haworth about her role in the creation of many of the visual elements found in the world-famous Sgt. Pepper’s album cover collage, I received an email from Amsterdam-based Gert Nieveld, who shared some info and a link to a web site he’d built that provides visitors with an easy to use and understand view of those elements. According to Gert, the motivation to do these projects came from his lack of satisfaction with the info a museum visitor usually gets while touring an art exhibit – “The miniscule side notes that are placed next to paintings typically do not tell more than the name of the artist and the material. Many more complex paintings, or artworks like the Sgt. Pepper cover, deserve more details. Some people will only browse a few highlights (the TikTok/Insta crowds), other visitors like to explore the artwork in more detail.” Gert also has known Ms. Haworth and members of her family for a number of years and wanted to commemorate her 80th birthday last year with a unique gift to highlight her contributions to what many consider the most-famous album cover image ever created.
I told him that I was hoping to be able to share this with my readers and he was happy to oblige, so please visit https://www.antarticagalleries.com/sgtpepper/sgtpepper.html and take the tour.
To see more of Gert’s work, including some other examples of his interactive artwork, please visit – https://www.antarticagalleries.com/
That’s all for now – stay tuned and be on the lookout for the timely news alerts you’ll find on our news feed (sign up below to get an automatic email every time there’s something new on the ACHOF site). I’ll be returning at the end of March or the first day of April with another update and so, until then, enjoy what’s left of your Winter season, plant your tulip bulbs and get ready for warmer days ahead.
Peace and Love to you all,
Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2022-2023 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.