ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF january, 2017
By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Greetings from Chicagoland. The other night, I went to my first local Grammy chapter event – something dubbed a “member celebration” (due to the fact that there are scores of Grammy nominees living in the area) and held in a ballroom at a local landmark – the Chicago Athletic Club on Michigan Ave. Having moved here from Portland and having participated on occasion in local events sponsored there by the Pacific NW chapter (based in Seattle, about 3 hours away), it was great to see an event so well-attended and easy-to-get-to at the same time. The highlight for me that evening was a performance by the Chicago Children’s Choir, a group of young people from all over the city who, when assembled and lead by a talented director, lifted spirits with an impressive set. It would also be inspiring to be able to work with both this and other local professional organizations to promote the talents of people that contribute great designs to the music industry, so wish me luck in my efforts.
This month’s summary, which comes just a couple of weeks before this year’s Grammy Award festivities (and, as you’ll read, just shortly after the announcement of the winners of the “Best Art Vinyl Awards” for this year) will continue to impress you with the displays of creativity put forth by people working for clients in the music business and that the galleries, publishers, curators, etc. who support and promote these works will continue to do what they do and share what they do with the rest of us. There continue to be regular contributions about album cover art/artists in daily the news cycle, adding items of interest and fascination to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information you’ll read on a wide range of related topics.
Please share this info with everyone you know who are fans of great album cover-related talent and, of course, your comments and feedback are quite welcome.
1) Upcoming, recently-launched, CURRENTLY-RUNNING and just-closed show/exhibitions –
a) Multi-Grammy-Award-winning photographer and Creative Director Hugh Brown, in addition to his impressive portfolio of album cover work created during stints at I.R.S. Records and Rhino Records before setting up his own shop – Hugh Brown Heavy Industries – has also been regularly-featured in museum and gallery shows throughout his career. As an artist “specializing in photography, print making, assemblage, and forgery”, his works include memorable portraits for a number of entertainment industry luminaries including Robert Downey Sr. & Jr., Chris Isaak, Mick Jones, Freddy Mutant, Jonathan Richman, Richard Thompson and Neil Young, among others.
Recently, the Robert Berman Gallery in Santa Monica, CA launched a 10-year retrospective show (“Looking Back: 10 Years of Photography from ROBERT BERMAN GALLERY”) featuring all of the photographers who have been on display during the various shows the gallery has staged since 2007 and, I’m excited to report, some of Hugh’s work is included, along with beautiful and impressive works from dozens of other noted shooters (it must be thrilling to have your works featured alongside icons of the photographic arts including Man Ray, Julian Wasser, Dennis Hopper and many others).
The show runs through the 11th of February, with more details available on the gallery’s site at – http://www.robertbermangallery.com/exhibitions/looking-back-10-years-of-photography-from-robert-berman-gallery
b) In advance of a new show launching at the Mr. Musichead Gallery in Los Angeles that will highlight the career of the photographer Chris Cuffaro (Chris Cuffaro: GREATEST HITS – 30 Years of Music Photography), the show’s sponsors will be staging a special event on Thursday, February 2, 2017, from 8:30 PM – 11:00 PM PST at the Gibson Brands location at 8801 W. Sunset in West Hollywood, CA (which some of us will remember as the former location of the best-known Tower Records store).
This music photography exhibition, auction and live music experience is being staged to benefit the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, an organization that gives help to musicians who need assistance in dealing with many of Life’s struggles.
The fundraising auction will put a collection of stunning images of from Cuffaro’s portfolio of some of the music industry’s best-known acts including Ice Cube, Jane’s Addiction, George Michael, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Slash, Gwen Stefani and dozens of other music legends. Cuffaro’s output has included a number of album images for clients including Bad English, Suicidal Tendencies, Megadeth and Burt Bacharach, among others. Music that night will be provided by performers including Givers & Takers, Josh Todd, Lauren Ruth Ward, Particle Kid, The Palms and others soon-to-be announced.
Tickets for this show begin at $30 and are available via the link – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chris-cuffaro-greatest-hits-30-years-of-music-photography-exhibition-auction-tickets-31015079939?
c) Just a reminder to you all regarding the soon-to-close “David Bowie by Duffy” exhibition at the Proud Gallery in London that began this past January 6th and runs thru February 5th. Bowie, who would have turned 70 on January 8th had he not left this mortal coil a year ago, was an often-photographed subject, but only a few photographers have produced images of the ever-changing artist that would be considered “iconic” – one of them being the late Brian Duffy, perhaps best-known for his photos used on the covers of classic Bowie records including Aladdin Sane, Lodger, Scary Monsters and others. According to the Gallery’s PR, the show will be “a celebration of the dynamic relationship between two of the century’s greatest artistic innovators. This exhibition of original prints signed by the late Brian Duffy is a moving insight into the minds of two exceptional creatives in partnership between 1972 – 1980. Duffy’s iconic images emphasize the longevity of Bowie’s distinctive persona and offer a poignant retrospective to one of the most pioneering and influential performers of modern times…”
Alison Maloney, writing for The Sun, gives us a bit more to read about regarding this show, including a nice selection of images that will be part of what’s on display – https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/2525673/unseen-david-bowie-photos-by-iconic-album-cover-photographer-go-on-show-to-mark-the-first-anniversary-of-his-death/ –
This show coincided with another significant Bowie-related event – a concert that was staged at the O2 Brixton Academy venue on January 8th (as well as other venues around the world, ending February 2nd with a show in Tokyo, Japan0 called “Celebrating David Bowie” and which featured an intro by Bowie chum Gary Oldman and a large cast of Bowie band alumni including Mike Garson, Earl Slick, Adrian Belew and many others in performance. Highlights from the shows can be seen at http://celebratingdavidbowie.com/
d) 1976 Stillwater High School graduate Daniel Corrigan began his career as a professional photographer when he started taking photos for the Minnesota Daily, delivering photo coverage for the arts and entertainment section, with the famed First Avenue club on his list… He now works in several roles at First Avenue, including as an assistant to the facilities manager and a staff photographer. You’ll recall that, back in October, I reported on the release of a new book that tapped into his 35+ year archive of great photos taken with music industry notables including Prince, Husker Du, Michael Jackson, U2 and many others. He collaborated with Josh Leventhal at the Minnesota Historical Society Press to produce both the book and the exhibition – Heyday: 35 Years Of Music In Minneapolis – now on display at the Mill City Museum (located at 704 S. Second St. in Minneapolis – http://www.millcitymuseum.org/heyday-exhibit) which includes a curated selection of the over 500 images included in the book, taken over the Corrigan’s career and including album cover shots for acts including Babes In Toyland, The Replacements, The Cows (Cunning Stunts – always loved that title), They Jayhawks and others.
Patty Dexter gives us an overview of the show in her article for the Eden Prairie News – http://www.swnewsmedia.com/eden_prairie_news/news/entertainment/exhibit-highlights-minneapolis-music-history-in-photos/article_61b9f44b-87b5-5736-9b56-89790fe78757.html
Bonus materials – fans of Corrigan’s work will enjoy watching some/all of an 8-part video interview with Daniel that was put together by the Minnesota Historical Society and is available via their Facebook page – begin at the beginning – https://www.facebook.com/minnesotahistoricalsociety/videos/10154570590455600/
e) Prog Rock and Fantasy Art fans on the other side of the globe were in for a treat the weekend that began on Thursday, January 19 when Roger Dean, the artist responsible for many of the best-known logos and album covers for bands such as YES, ASIA, Uriah Heep and Virgin Records, manned a display at the Singapore Contemporary Art Show. On display were over 20 different prints, including fan favorites such as Tales From Topographic Oceans (YES), Magician’s Birthday (Uriah Heep) and the several variations available in his Arches and Dragon’s Garden Over 90 artists and galleries were included in this show and, as a special treat, Roger hosted two demonstrations during which he painted and discussed how he creates his fantasy landscapes. A rare chance to watch and learn from a master!
More on this show and Mr. Dean’s presence there is available via the link – http://www.asiacontemporaryart.com/artists/artist/Roger_Dean/en/
f) Famed rock photographer Ethan Russell brought his travelling multi-media presentation and exhibition – “The Best Seat In The House” – to fans in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on Thursday night, January 26th with a show at The Studio (AKA The Studio at Hamilton Place). A man with a truly impressive resume, having provided us with memorable photos of top music acts including The Beatles (Let It Be and many intimate photos of John and Yoko), the Rolling Stones, The Who (including the iconic “pissing on the wall cover found on Who’s Next), The Doors, Linda Ronstadt and so many more, shares the stories behind the photos, with some 375 of them included in the presentation. Visitors were able to view a number of shots on display before the show and then, after the show, purchase prints to add to their own collections.
The show’s local producers – CORE Entertainment – provide us with an introduction to the man and his work and, via a link on their site, an interview with Russell produced by a local TV station – http://www.coreentertainment.ca/events/detail/ethan-russell
g) Throughout the history of commercial photography, photographers have used contact sheets (you know, those pages of thumbnail-sized prints made from the negatives created during a photo shoot) to be able to review a session’s work (alone, or with their clients) prior to making decisions about which images are going to be used or printed. In addition to their specific business purposes, these sheets are also a way for viewers to get an insight into how photographers strategize, experiment and ultimately select the “perfect” image for a job.
In a new exhibit that ran through January 28th at the Fahey/Klein Gallery on N. LaBrea Ave. in Los Angeles simply titled CONTACT, organizers selected a series of important photos from the archives of an impressive list of image-makers and have put those prints alongside their contact sheets so viewers were able to get a better understanding of what went in to “the making of” each photo. Album art fans found a lot to look at in this group show, with the works of photographers including Joel Brodsky, Daniel Kramer, Herb Ritts and Norman Seeff putting on display images of illustrious musicians including Joan Baez, The Doors and Carly Simon, among others.
In addition, visitors found contact sheets that included shots taken during Lawrence Schiller’s time on the set with actress Marilyn Monroe and Julian Wasser’s memorable shot of the then-unclothed photographer Eve Babitz (who also has a nice portfolio of album cover shots) playing a game of chess with famed conceptual artist/chess aficionado Marcel Duchamp. According to an article posted recently on the Loeil De La Photographie site – http://www.loeildelaphotographie.com/en/2017/01/04/article/159931923/contact-iconic-images-contact-sheets/
Also on display were works by noted photographers including Harry Benson, William Claxton, Arthur Elgort, Robert Jackson, Roxanne Lowit, Christopher Makos, Steve Schapiro (shots of artist Andy Warhol and his entourage from Warhol’s Factory), Stephen Somerstein, Phil Stern and Bob Willoughby. More photos of the show can be found on the gallery’s site at – http://www.faheykleingallery.com/photographers/various/installation/contact/contact_in_01.htm
h) There’s a new exhibition of rare psychedelic posters, album art, etc. – a “collection that highlights the ideas and culture of the 60’s and 70’s, which can still be related to today” – that is being hosted by the Wilma W. Daniels Gallery on the campus of the Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, NC. The show, which is titled “Psychedelic Posters: From The David Poppe Collection” is built around selections made from the personal archives of producer David Poppe, who also hosts a video show called “The Poppe Show”, which takes viewers behind the scenes of film and stage productions.
Local news station WWAY has posted a brief intro to the show on their site – http://www.wwaytv3.com/2017/01/04/rare-psychedelic-posters-on-display-in-new-cfcc-exhibit/ and local fans can learn more about this display, which will be up until February 11th, via the gallery’s Facebook page at – https://www.facebook.com/CFCCs-Wilma-W-Daniels-Gallery-304162049742025/
Directions to the Wilma W. Daniels Gallery on the CFCC campus – http://cfcc.edu/danielsgallery/about/
Exhibition update – As it is my goal to be able to provide my readers with the most-complete info available on the items I highlight in this news summary, I felt like I’d let you down a little when I published some basic info on the art show now on display at the Wilma W. Daniels Gallery (on the campus of Cape Fear Community College) in Wilmington, NC that features selections from the private collection of David Poppe (it was all I could find at the time). Since then, I was able to get hold of Mr. Poppe and he sent me a link to a new article in the local pub called Encore Magazine that gives us much more about both Mr. Poppe and his collection. It turns out the David was employed years ago at a place in Tampa, FL called The Losers, a donut shop-turned-rock club that hosted many of the better-known travelling and local acts in the late 1960s-early 1970s (and who featured Lynyrd Skynyrd as their house band). Poppe befriended many of the acts that came to play and, over the years, built up a collection of over 400 rare posters (of which over 130 are on display in this show) crafted by the creme-de-la-creme of psychedelic artists of the era – Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley, Joe Petagno and Wes Wilson, among others.
As I reported previously, Psychedelic Posters: From The David Poppe Collection will be up until February 11th, with more info available via the gallery’s Facebook page at – https://www.facebook.com/CFCCs-Wilma-W-Daniels-Gallery-304162049742025/
2) Artist interviews/profile articles –
a) When photographer Mike Searle was a young man back in the late 1970s, he had taken some photos of one of his favorite bands – The Jam – when they performed in concert and stuck them in a drawer, where they remained for many years while he finished his schooling and went on to start his career. Recently, he posted some of them on his blog and while he’s now a publisher of surfing-related books and magazines such as Carve and The Surf Cafe Cookbook, he’s very happy that the nice folks at Universal Music stumbled across his old photos as they then reached out to him to license them for a new Jam album package.
Writing for the Cornwall (UK) Live site, Lee Trewhela recently posted an article that documents this wonderful case of “never too late to be a rock photographer” wish fulfillment –
b) I’d like to note the passing of a photographer of impeccable – yes, even Royal – credentials. Anthony Armstrong-Jones AKA Lord Snowdon, former husband of the U.K.’s Princess Margaret and a photographer with a portfolio that includes scores of portraits of A-list celebrities from all over the world, including entertainment celebrities such as Cher, Madonna, Prince, Queen (of course) as well as several album cover images for French pop star Serge Gainsbourg and British singer Shirley Bassey, died earlier this month at the age of 86.
Nathalie Atkinson’s article for The Globe and Mail site chronicles the details of a life well-lived – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/lord-snowdon-the-photographer-as-famous-as-hissubjects/article33623114/ and, to read something on a more-personal relationship between Snowdon and one of his appreciative subjects – Queen guitarist Brian May – Dave Lifton’s article on the Ultimate Classic Rock site – http://ultimateclassicrock.com/brian-may-queen-greatest-hits-lord-snowdon/ finds May retelling the story of the making of the album cover for the band’s best-selling records – their 1981 Greatest Hits release – which, in the end and because of Snowdon’s deft touch, produced a photo of the band “with all of us looking quite decent”.
c) Alternative Press video interview with Mike Cortada – APTV’s Orlando-based correspondent Tori Kravitz recently posted a video interview with designer Mike Cortada, principal of MCHC Design (http://www.mikechardcore.com/) and a much-requested artist with a number of clients in the hardcore metal music scene. Recent clients include musical acts such as A Day To Remember, Pierce The Veil, Misfits, Wonder Years and Fall Out Boy, as well as many companies looking for leading edge illustration talent for their logos and advertising imagery. When you look at the designer’s portfolio, you’ll find a wide variety of styles and techniques used, so it’s nice to be able to hear more about Mike’s inspirations and how he goes about collaborating with this clients – http://www.altpress.com/aptv/video/mike_cortada_talks_designing_the_scenes_biggest_album_covers
One suggestion from an old-time video producer to the APTV team – please do something to better-mic your reporters and your interviewees. A couple of lavaliere mics will go far in reducing the echo… 😉
d) Continuing on with coverage of the first anniversary of art/music/fashion trend-setter David Bowie’s death last year at the age of 69, ArtDaily writer Shaun Tandon recently posted an interview with award-winning sax player Donny McCaslin regarding his collaboration with Bowie on what would turn out to be his final album, Blackstar. While their friendship and musical partnership lasted less than a year, the impact has been profound on the experimental musician, who went on to include an unused song from the Blackstar sessions on his own recent release titled Beyond Now. http://artdaily.com/news/92822/Year-on–Bowie-remembered-as-engaging-until-end .
One final note on the topic – I think that you’ll enjoy Daniel Benneworth-Gray’s recent article for Creative Review regarding Grammy-nominated designer Jonathan Barnbrook’s “easter eggs” for the Blackstar album – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/secrets-of-david-bowie-blackstar/ Daniel shares that he’d bought the record when it was released a year ago and put it away, seal un-broken, music un-listened to, until opening it for this article, and what he discovered (beyond the music) serves as a nice analog to most art-lovers’ thoughts about Bowie’s more-than-skin-deep contributions to the art world throughout his career.
e) Owatonna, Minnesota is quite proud of the recent achievements of one of its graduates – artist/art director Eric Carlson – as is evidenced in this article by Ryan Anderson on the local Owatonna People’s Press site – http://www.southernminn.com/owatonna_peoples_press/arts_and_entertainment/article_5d0aff7d-c52c-5412-97dd-e27ca3afb718.html – regarding Carlson’s Grammy nomination for “Best Album Package” for the work he produced for Bon Iver’s latest record, titled 22, A Million.
Carlson continued his education in Minnesota, attending art school in Minneapolis and integrating himself in the local art/music scene (he’s also a working musician) before leaving five years ago to seek new opportunities in The Big Apple, where he lives and works currently. A mutual friend introduced Carlson to Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and the two had discussed working together some day, but it wasn’t until the 22, A Million project presented itself that they were able to collaborate on what would become a Grammy-nominated cover project.
You can read more about Eric and the story of his life – from a family that promoted creativity through his schooling and earlier accomplishments to his more-recent successes (including comments from his mother Catherine!) via the link.
f) The things that news reporters have to put up with sometimes…having done hundreds of interviews myself, I know that sometimes a subject doesn’t have a lot to say or, for whatever reason, isn’t pleased with being asked about this or that. While I know that, throughout the course of an artist’s career, he or she may be asked the same questions over and over again – particularly, when they’ve created an image that’s become quite famous – I’d hope that, after a while, a subject would realize that newer generations might want to gain a better understanding about his/her work and, once they’ve granted permission for an interview, would be able to deliver replies that serve to enlighten and/or entertain.
Noted photographer David Bailey, now in his late 70s, has lived a life that includes details that could only come via an association with the biggest names in the entertainment business – he’s dated top fashion models; Mick Jagger served as his best man at his wedding to French movie star Catherine Deneuve, etc. – but as you’ll see when you read through Elizabeth Howcroft’s recent interview article posted on the Varsity (U.K.) web site, the shooter best-known to album art fans for the pictures he took that were used on the covers of records including Goats Head Soup and Get Yer Ya-Yas Out for the Stones, The Way We Were for Barbra Streisand and others for Cat Stevens, Procol Harum, Marianne Faithful and others seems rather two-faced in his answers regarding the value of his work by first saying “I don’t like photography. I’m not interested…anyone can be a fucking photographer!” and then following up with a statement where he agrees with Leonardo Da Vinci’s statement noting the artistry in painting and extends it to photography (…is photography art? Of course it’s fucking art”).
Whatever you take away from this interview (personally, I was happy to see that the reporter came through the effort relatively unscathed), you will certainly find it an intriguing look into the psyche of someone who has experienced and then processed a life quite apart from what most mere mortals are exposed to. https://www.varsity.co.uk/culture/11647
g) A 2X Grammy nominee for “Best Album Package”, photographer Elliot Gilbert shares his insights about his efforts that have resulted in scores of images that have graced a number of your favorite records in this recently-posted interview conducted by Loring Kemp for her Cover Our Tracks site – http://www.coverourtracks.com/single-post/2017/01/09/Elliot-Gilbert-on-his-work-with-The-Cars-Tom-Waits-Van-Halen-and-The-Motels
During this in-depth discussion, Gilbert talks about his first forays into the world of commercial photography (he was such a fan of those shooting for the ad industry that he spent untold sums of money on magazines each month just to be inspired by their work) and, with great detail, his efforts in creating the memorable cover and package images for records including The Cars’ 1978 debut record (w/famed CBS Art Director Ron Coro), Van Halen and Van Halen II, The Motels, Look Out For #1 for the Brothers Johnson and Tom Waits’ 1978 release Blue Valentine, which also featured then-girlfriend Rickie Lee Jones on the back cover.
As always, Loring does a great job in pulling out the most-interesting details from her subjects, so enjoy the interview – you’re sure to learn something new.
h) There will be a new show staged soon – tentatively titled “Trevor Key’s Top 40” and organized as part of the Hull City of Culture celebrations – that will be based on selections made from the archives of the late designer Trevor Key by designer Scott King and stylist Lesley Dilcock (along with photographer Toby McFarlan Pond, who had served as Key’s assistant). I first read details about this show on work of the talented Mr. Key (who died in 1994 from a brain tumor) in an article written by Patrick Burgoyne for the Creative Review site that also features quotes from designers and former Key collaborators and fellow artists including Peter Saville, Brian Cook and Wolfgang Tillmans.
You’ll also be able to watch a short video of their exploration through the late Key’s archives – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37pgycx6hiw during which King and Pond discuss Key’s influence on their respective careers and the unearthing of some of the production elements used to create one of Key’s best-known works – the cover for Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells LP. Further digging finds other one-of-a-kind items used to create a number of other iconic images from his catalog of cover work for clients including the Sex Pistols (for which his design goal for a record released after the band’s break-up was to discourage sales – very punk, no?) and New Order. One written design brief they uncovered talks about Key (working with designer Jamie Reid) hoping to come up with a design template incorporating a swastika that would be used on as many music products as possible in order to illustrate “the oppressive nature of the music industry” (again, as punk as can be).
Show info – https://www.hull2017.co.uk/whatson/events/trevor-keys-top-40/ We’ll share more info on the dates/locations of this show once it becomes available…
i) In a recent article on the Artsy.com web site by Nora Landes titled “These Photographers Captured Blondie, Joan Jett, and the Women of Punk”, the author assembles samples of the works of several photographers who “saw it all” as they worked to show that “punk rock had a look. In the punk scene of the 1970s and ’80s, both onstage and off, style was just as important as which bands you went to see. Attitude was the greatest accessory. Amid the sea of leather jackets and tight pants, the punk aesthetic was captured by daring photographers along for the ride.”
Featured in this collection are details and sample images from photographers including Brad Elterman (Joan Jett & The Blackhawks), Ray Stevenson (Souxsie & The Banshees), Chris Stein (Debbie Harry & Blondie) and Jim Jocoy (Exene Cervenka from X), who each documented the similarities and unique aspects of the styles and attitudes on display in the punk scenes in the U.S. and the U.K..The original “nasty women”, perhaps?
3) Sales/Auctions –
a) Just received an email from the team at Backstage Auctions regarding their efforts to kick off the new year with a sale of merchandise left unsold from recent auctions and, looking over the listings, I’ve found a number of album art-related items that the collectors in the audience might want to take a look at, including a) several production proof prints of artist Mark Ryden’s fantastic album art for Michael Jackson’s 1991 hit record Dangerous; b) a set of production proof prints for the LP, CD and cassette versions of Pink Floyd’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason, featuring the multi-bedded cover art created by Storm Thorgerson and Colin Elgie; c) a collection of various LP cover proofs for Bruce Springsteen records including Born In The USA and Tunnel of Love and other original art pieces featuring works for musical acts including Aerosmith, Metallica, Van Halen and others. You can find out more about these and the many other items available via the link at http://www.backstageauctions.com/catalog/original-artwork/st/0/32/
4) New Print/Book Publishing –
a) The folks at the U.K.’s Flood Gallery have just announced that they’re taking pre-orders on a new book that will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles album with what has become one of the most-praised (and copied/recreated/spoofed) cover images of all time – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The 176 page hardback book, titled Sgt. Pepper At Fifty, was authored by Bill DeMain, Gillian Garr and a man responsible for another one of rock music’s best-known covers – Mike McInnerney, creator of the gatefold cover for The Who’s Tommy – presents Peter Blake and Jann Haworth’s mind-bending collage by looking at several aspects of the image’s creation and ongoing legacy in the worlds of music and Pop Culture.
Scheduled for release on the 15th of May this year, fans can reserve their own copies on the Flood Gallery site at http://www.thefloodgallery.com/products/the-beatles-sgt-pepper-at-fifty?variant=37416861959 and for another example of the impact that image continues to have on the world of design, I’d invite you to read about Sir Peter Blake’s latest iteration in the article found below in Section 5.
b) Writing for the Hyperallergic site, reporter Megan N. Liberty takes us on a deep dive of a book built around the travelling Total Records album art show (currently on display through April 23rd in Berlin, Germany at the C/O Gallery there) – http://hyperallergic.com/347107/a-spin-through-the-history-of-photographic-album-covers/
The book, edited by Antoine de Beaupré and published recently by Aperture, is one I’ve been eager to see as I’m told that it promotes what we’ve been saying here at the ACHOF all along – i.e., that the works created to illustrate and promote record packages should be treated with the same respect and deference as all works of fine art due to the way that they combine (at least, the good ones do) the best aspects of the fields of design, photography, historical writing and impact marketing. And while she states that “the record is an obsolete medium” (when, in fact, the sales of vinyl continue to grow impressively each year), she goes on to say that, in today’s image-happy environment, where everyone is carrying and using a camera, a well-crafted image can still take your breath away…
The Total Records album art exhibition – featuring 500+ of the most-impactful record covers produced over the past 50+ years – continues on in Berlin, with more info available to fans via the gallery’s site (in English) at http://www.co-berlin.org/en/total-records
c) When, at the age of 35, you’ve already amassed a portfolio of work that is so impressive that it can serve as the basis of an art book, you know that you’re working at a level a notch or two higher than your peers. Now that publisher Floating World Comics has published a new book based on the career (thus far) of Lexington, KY-based artist/designer Robert Beatty, whose imaginative digital artwork for clients in the music business and publishing world including Tame Impala, Neon Indian, Real Estate, the New York Times and The Wire has both amazed fans and left many of them asking “just how did he do that” (to which he has, in some cases, provide them with tutorials on how to manipulate images in Photoshop in order to achieve something similar in their own work)?
Titled Floodgate Companion, the 112-page book shows us many more examples of his creative output and gives us some of the stories behind these efforts. In a recently-published overview of this new publication, The Washington Post’s Aaron Leitko, you’ll see several examples of Beatty’s mind-boggling work, including the cover for Oczy Mlody, the most-recent release by psychedelic rockers The Flaming Lips, whose frontman Wayne Coyne had discovered Robert’s work on Instagram and just had to have it for his own (little did he know that Beatty had already done scores of record covers!).
To take a look behind the scenes at Beatty at work in his favorite place (at home in Kentucky), you can watch this “Pitchfork Unsung” video from Octorber, 2015 – http://pitchfork.com/tv/50-pitchfork-unsung/1562-pitchfork-presents-unsung-robert-beatty/
d) The prolific album cover art book author/editor Julius Wiedermann of the Taschen publishing house has recently announced the details of a new book coming out next month titled Art Record Covers that, according to the press announcement, “showcases an alphabetized collection of artists’ record covers from the 1950s to today. Highlighting the relationship between image-making and music production, the anthology presents 500 covers and records by visual artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Ed Ruscha and many more.”
The new book was assembled by “contemporary art and visual culture historian, writer and artist” Francesco Spampinato who, in addition to be an art professor at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, has authored two other recent books on design, including 2015’s Can You Hear Me? Music Labels by Visual Artists, published in 2015 by Onomatopee (Eindhoven, NL).
While I’m working to get a more-detailed look at the book and its contents put together for you soon (Julius has been kind enough to work with me on a special feature for the ACHOF that you’ll see soon), I’d invite you to read reporter Rebecca Fullylove’s recently-posted article on the It’s Nice That site for a bit of a preview on what should be a thoroughly-comprehensive (at 448 pages!) look at, as the publisher puts it, explores how modernism, pop art, conceptual art, postmodernism and contemporary art have all informed the art of album visuals over the years.” http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/taschen-art-record-covers-040117?
Pre-orders are now being solicited on the Taschen site – https://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/music/all/03430/facts.art_record_covers.htm
e) When Arthur Kanofsky was young, he was fascinated with fairy tales, fantasy illustrations and, as a Boy Scout in his Bronx troupe, reptiles (earning himself a Reptile Study merit badge!). Hoping to become a world-famous artist when he grew up, he took the first step in preparation for this career when he enrolled in NY’s Cooper Union College but, a year into his studies, he was drafted into the Army, bringing his talents to a special unit – the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops AKA “The Ghost Army”. These artistically-trained troops were sent in to areas where they created the illusion of the presence of actual Army units, fooling the enemy into thinking that they were out-manned/gunned via inflatable tanks, artillery, sound effects and dummy battalions. After his deployment, he returned to the U.S. and worked briefly in the theater before returning to his studies in art, design and photography at Cooper Union and graduating with honors in 1950. With his experience and impressive talents clear to prospective employers, Arthur (now Kane) accepted a position as the art director for Seventeen Magazine becoming, at age 26, one of the youngest holding this position at a major publication.
With his highly-unique talents and experiences combining to give Kane exceptional conceptual/compositional skill set, Kane became a must-have photographer for all of the best-known photo journals and magazines of his time, with his works appearing in the U.S. in Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Life, Look, McCall’s and others and overseas in the Italian versions of Bazaar and Vogue, Amica, Stern, German Vogue and Zeit. His subjects included celebrities in the fields of music (Bob Dylan, Cream, Aretha Franklin, Jefferson Airplane, Jim Morrison, Sonny & Cher, The Who and Frank Zappa), art (Christo, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers and Cy Twombly) and photo illustrations for a wide range of subjects, from the concentration of talent in Harlem, NY illustrated in his famous 1958 portrait titled Jazz to the struggle for civil rights down South as well as the plight of wounded war vets and many other aspects of the politics and cultural changes that were taking place in the 1960s and 1970s.
Austin, TX-based Modern Rocks gallery has just released a new collection of Art Kane photos for sale to collectors, with some of your favorite album cover images (such as those for The Who’s The Kids Are Alright and Jim Morrison’s An American Prayer) included in the mix. Although Kane died in 1995, his son Jonathan has made sure that his legacy lives on via the careful curation of his father’s archive and the release of limited edition, fully-authenticated prints of these beautiful photographs.
5) Other articles of interest –
a) “Those were the days, my friend” – ah, yes, remember when those with all of the money and power and connections all worked together to create something new and exciting for the buying public? Back in April of 1969, when the Rolling Stones were beginning to organize the team that would work on the record that would ultimately become their April, 1971 release Sticky Fingers – the one that would incorporate the first use of the “Lips & Tongue” logo that would become their core graphical element for years to come – Mick Jagger sent artist Andy Warhol a note that established the terms of the relationship that would produce what would become one of the best-known album cover images of all time.
As you’ll read when you click on over to writer Nathan Giannini’s recent article for the Yahoo! Music site, Jagger gave Warhol (who’d later do a pair of very Warhol-like cover images for the band’s Love You Live LP and a later solo record for the singer as well), Jagger basically told Warhol that he could do whatever he pleased and charge whatever he wanted just as long as he remembered that anything “more complex than just pages or fold-out” would most-probably be delayed in production. As we all know by now, Warhol responded by producing a design incorporating multiple layers, a die cut cover and a zipper that could damage nearby packages, sending sleeve design/manufacturing company head Craig Braun and his team (hey, Ernie!) into a scramble to build a package that would work better (these travails have been retold in several sometimes-conflicting interviews with the parties involved, including one I did several years ago – http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2009/07/uncovered-interview-part-2-rolling-stones-lips-logo-by-ernie-cefalu.html
Let’s not even get started on who in fact was the actual model used in the final photo…
Bonus content – Exhibition producer Raj Prem has put together a new display of rarely-seen photos of the Rolling Stones taken by photographer Peter Webb during his 1971 shoot for the band’s Sticky Fingers release. “Lost” (i.e., buried during a move) for 40 years and then re-discovered, this presentation – Sticky Fingers: The Lost Sessions – Photographs by Peter Webb can be viewed on (and prints purchased from) the San Francisco Art Exchange’s web site at http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400120
b) Not long ago, I reported on a series of stamps issued by the Isle of Man Post Office built around the album cover images of artist Roger Dean (which will soon also be the subject of an interview I’ll publish with one of the stamp series’ creators), showing off another example of an enlightened government agency paying tribute to the talents of one of its better-known citizens. Now, as we mark the one-year anniversary of the death of David Bowie, I’d like to share some information (in the form of two articles) about an upcoming collection of stamps that will be released in mid-March by the U.K.’s Royal Mail that commemorate both the musician and his deep catalog of artistically-created album cover images.
With record covers such as those created for Aladdin Sane, Hunk Dory, Heroes and, most-recently, Blackstar serving to mark milestones along the timeline of the always-changing artist’s career trajectory, the postal service will be producing a set of 10 stamps that include those covers (and others) as well as several photos taken during the Ziggy Stardust and Serious Moonlight tours. Reporting for Linn’s Stamp News, writer Denise McCarty gives us an intro to the series from a philatelist’s viewpoint (I’ve always wanted to use that word in a sentence!) – http://www.linns.com/news/world-stamps-postal-history/2017/january/david-bowie-royal-mail-commemorative-stamp-set.html#
while over on the Artnet.com site (https://news.artnet.com/art-world/david-bowie-stamps-royal-mail-831404?), Brian Boucher notes that while several other bands have been honored with U.K. postage stamps (the latest being Pink Floyd), this is the first time that a solo act has been so honored.
Alongside the standard-issue collector’s packages, this issue will feature several limited edition David Bowie souvenirs, including a special “David Bowie Album Art Fan Sheet” – a 24-image sheet that, in addition to the six covers included in the new stamp series, adds 18 others, from his earliest records to his last (in an edition of 10,000 sheets) and a framed, limited-edition (950 numbered copies) giclee print of the Heroes album cover with a post-marked stamp set into the mat. Pre-orders are being taken now on the Royal Mail site. More details can be found at http://www.royalmail.com/davidbowiestamps?iid=PEVU_MGProjectDJ_DD_05
c) An upscale London hotel – the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, a place that has played host to hundreds of celebrities, recently hired collage artist Sir Peter Blake to create a Sgt. Pepper’s-inspired collage to cover its façade while going through a major renovation. Using the hotel chain’s fan-shaped logo as a design cue, Sir Peter created a new collage – titled “Our Fans” and captioned with a sign reading “Still Open To All Our Fans” – using the images of 99 of the chain’s better-known past guests, including actors Morgan Freeman, Sigourney Weaver, Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren, musicians including Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr (only seems fitting) and many other notables from the fields of fashion, food, design and more. Standing next to Mr. Freeman (and two down from Dame Edna) is Sir Peter himself – very Hitchcockian, I must say.
According to reporting done for the ArtDaily.com site – http://artdaily.com/news/93235/Sir-Peter-Blake-creates-bespoke-collage-for-Mandarin-Oriental-Hyde-Park – the artist noted that, while similar in style to his best-known album cover, “this artwork was very different to my usual way of working”, he said. “A collage is very time consuming and laborious, but this was more a matter of arranging the figures and making them work together – making sure no one had a cut-off shoulder or missing legs – that’s the skill of it. It was an amazing project to work on. Hopefully, people passing by will try to spot celebrities they recognize,” he added.
Still active at 83, Sir Peter is currently developing several new projects, including his contributions to a series of murals that will be installed outside the Turnham Green tube station in West London that celebrate the performers who appeared in the 1950s at the nearby (and now-demolished) Chiswick Empire Theatre.
d) Most record art fans know that many of their favorite cover photos were taken in real-life locations, and some of them (think the crosswalk in front of Abbey Road/EMI Studios in London) have become tourist magnets. In Bill Wiatrak’s article for Houstonia Magazine, you’ll find a list of album cover spots slightly less-travelled, such as the rocks that make up Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, where the Hipgnosis team let loose a troop of naked toddlers for the cover of Led Zeppelin’s Houses Of The Holy. Any true cover fan with a lot of time/inspiration/money will want to use this list as a reference for a whirlwind tour of well-known cover spots – https://www.houstoniamag.com/articles/2016/12/20/10-places-to-recreate-your-favorite-rock-n-roll-album-covers
Of course, if you do go ahead and take this tour, please let me know as I’d love to interview you for our site….
e) Photographer Nick Knight is well-known to album cover fans for a career of well-known cover shots for top musical acts including Bjork, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Lady Gaga and many others. He’s also a go-to shooter for celebrity portraits, with one of his better-known subjects being England’s Royal Family. In this recent posting in The Guardian (U.K.), you’ll now have a chance to see some previously unreleased shots taken from a portrait session with Queen Elizabeth II and her son (the other Prince, but not nearly as talented) which were originally commissioned by Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Q’s 90th year – https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/dec/18/queens-90th-birthday-marked-by-fashion-and-rock-photographer
At least this Queen and Prince are still alive and in original form…
f) Throughout history, album covers and album cover artists have often times expressed the political views of either/both the artists and their music industry clientele. Artists such as Jamie Reid (Sex Pistols) and Kosh (John Lennon/Yoko Ono’s “War Is Over”) have created iconic anti-establishment images and, in light of today’s somewhat-controversial inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, artist Shepard Fairey, who produced the renowned “Hope” poster for Barak Obama’s campaign as well as album covers for Led Zeppelin, Smashing Pumpkins, Tom Petty and others, has created (along with several others) a series of protest posters that look to convey messages of strength, dignity and equal rights for all.
The “We The People” series – done in Fairey’s trademark style – was commissioned by the Amplifier Foundation and funded by a wildly-successful Kickstarter campaign. The posters feature images of some of the minorities – Muslims, Hipsanics, Native Americans, etc. – who were on the receiving end of some of Mr. Trumps campaign rhetoric and include tag lines such as “We The People – Are Greater Than Fear” and “We The People – Defend Dignity”. The images were inserted as full-page advertisements in local Washington, D.C. publications so that people either attending or protesting near the inauguration ceremonies were able to display them at will (protesters carrying traditional picket signs were banned from the area).
You can also download the posters from the organization’s web site (http://theamplifierfoundation.org/wtp_wmw_highresart/) and use them however you see fit. Amah-Rose Abrams just posted an article on the Artnet.com site with more details on the project – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/shepard-fairey-releases-we-the-people-series-824468?
This effort answers one of the questions I always pose to artists during my interviews with them – “Does art reflect or influence what’s current in Popular Culture?” In this case, a little of both…
g) While the customization tools made available to potential customers on the sites of many companies that offer made-to-order products were created to promote and simplify the process of buying these products, there are many examples of creative types using these tools to both practice and promote their skills to a broad audience. One recent example can be found on the Instagram site of a Bristol, UK-based designer/shoe fan Sam Brandt, where you’ll find images of the designs he created on the Nike site that show his deep appreciation of the color schemes and tag lines found on a number of well-known rap/hip-hop records.
When you visit the site at https://www.instagram.com/hoekon/ you’ll find shoes that will certainly kick off conversations with fans of acts like MF Doom, J Dilla, Dr. Dre (gotta love the “Deeez Nuuts” text on the cuffs), Ghostface Killah and many others. Not sure if I’m ready to replace by Black Sabbath-themed Chuck Taylors but, if I was, I’d like to think I’d find some inspiration in Sam’s work.
h) Forward-thinking multi-media publishers are continuing to show us their ongoing attempts to give consumers products that put their best creative ideas front and center. Such is the case with the U.K.-based publisher Four Corners Books, who teamed with art director John Morgan (of John Morgan Studio) and tattoo artist/illustrator Liam Sparkes to come up with the impressive packaging for a record of music to accompany their latest release – a new version of the classic Jules Verne tale 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. The music is by Jonny Trunk of Trunk Records, with the project allowing the composer to create soundscapes for ” the only book I could think of that would allow me to make some underwatery music” and create an album cover with just the right matching sailory imagery.
Creative Boom’s Laura Collinson communicated with members of the team that put together this inspired package, available via the link at – http://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/20000-leagues-under-the-sea-beautifully-illustrated-record-sleeve-inspired-by-the-creatures-of-the-deep/
i) With sponsorship and merchandising having such important roles in the money-making aspects of a musical act’s career these days, if you’re a lesser-known act, you focus on t-shirts and custom-branded jump drives with MP3 files on them, whereas if you’re Roger Daltry, lead singer for The Who, you team up with British motorcar maker Rolls-Royce to come up with band music and image-inspired design motifs for hand built automobiles(!!)
According to this recent article posted on the News18.com site (CNN‘s partner in India), “the collaboration is the first of nine ‘duets’ that Rolls-Royce is planning with legendary British music stars (created under the name “Inspired By Music”, a project that launched in 2015( that it hopes will be music to collectors’ ears.” Of course, Daltry is undertaking the two design projects (the second, working in conjunction with artist Mike McInnerney, best-known for his mystical cover art for The Who’s rock opera Tommy) on behalf of his much-loved charity, the Teenage Cancer Trust, who’ll be the recipient of a percentage of the sales from these two very unique and collectable cars.
Very eager to see a customized Rolls-Royce Wraith (which are priced beginning at a tad over $350,000) with a bulls-eye on it. Hope it doesn’t end up being a target ;-(
The complete press release from Rolls-Royce on this project is available via the large and exquisitely detailed link at https://www.press.rolls-roycemotorcars.com/rolls-royce-motor-cars-pressclub/article/detail/T0266692EN/rolls-royce-and-roger-daltrey-celebrate-the-who’s-legacy-in-support-of-the-teenage-cancer-trust?language=en
Special announcement –
On January 5th, at the Hari Hotel in London, the “Best Art Vinyl 2016” Award Winners were announced. The results were based on the work of a nomination panel of 10 art and design experts, as well as the thousands of votes cast by music fans worldwide, and the winners were selected from the 50 record covers nominated late last year.
Top prize goes to Matthew Cooper for his work on Everything You’ve Come To Expect for the Last Shadow Puppets. Second prize was awarded to Jonathan Barnbrook for his package for the final David Bowie album Blackstar, while Jonathan Zawada received the third-most votes for his work on the Mark Pritchard album Under the Sun. The full list of the 50 nominated designs, along with details on the previous winners, is available for your review on the Best Art Vinyl site at http://www.artvinyl.com .
A window display of the nominated and winning art will be up at the Hari Hotel until the end of March, 2017.
Writer Miriam Harris has posted an article with details on the event on the Digital Arts Online site – http://www.digitalartsonline.co.uk/news/illustration/best-album-art-2016-see-winners-of-best-art-vinyl-awards/
Congratulations to the winners – your work continues to inspire and impress us all!
Just a reminder – the Grammy Awards for “Best Recording Package” will be handed out at a special pre-telecast ceremony – called the “Premiere Ceremony” – at 3:30PM EST on the 12th of February, with the winner for this (and the other packaging Grammy Awards) reported here ASAP they’re announced. To remind you of the nominated art directors in the category this year, here are the details –
- Ciarra Pardo & Rihanna for Anti (Deluxe Edition), performed by Rihanna
- Jonathan Barnbrook for Blackstar, performed by David Bowie
- Andrew Savage for Human Performance, performed by Parquet Courts
- Sarah Dodds & Shauna Dodds for Sunset Motel, performed by Reckless Kelly
- Eric Timothy Carlson for 22, A Million, performed by Bon Iver
Album Cover Hall of Fame All Points Bulletin –
Greetings to you all. Earlier this month, I received a request from photographer Brian Griffin for help in locating a copy of a record that he shot the cover for and, as I know that many of you have impressive collections going back many years, I thought that I’d ask you all for your help in this effort.
The record was a 1978 release by Peter Hamill titled “If I Could“. The particular image Brian’s looking for was used on a Canadian release on the Charisma Label (1211-200) – design was by the late, great Barney Bubbles and the photo, of course, was by Mr. Griffin.
He’s looking to either get a 300DPI scan of the cover or, if need be, find a copy of the record so that he can get the cover scanned himself.
If you can help in any way, please contact me either via Facebook or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s a link to the item on the Discogs.com site – https://www.discogs.com/Peter-Hammill-If-I-Could/release/3837669
Thanks to you all for your help – let the hunt commence!
R.I.P. John Wetton – “One thing is sure…that time will tell” that you gave us all a lot of pleasure.
That’s all for now – look for updates every week (typically, on a Friday) on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back early next month with another summary for you.
All text Copyright 2017 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.