Tag Archives: exhibition

Album Cover Hall of Fame Breaking News Update for March 8, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Album Cover Hall of Fame Breaking News Update for March 8, 2019

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Hope that you’re all looking forward to the day – soon, we hope – that the temps pick up, the buds appear on your trees and shrubs and all traces of ice and snow disappear from our lives. Enough already, right? In any case, you may recall when I said that I wasn’t going to be posting monthly news summaries for a while (in order to be able to devote more time to organizing the materials for my book and some other projects I’m involved with), I am still going to share a headline or two when I think that there’s something timely you should know about… Here’s some news about some exhibitions/apprearances you might want to look into, as well as info on a Kickstarter-hosted book project that will be of interest to fans of Hip-Hop and overall great photography…

a) My friends at the UK’s Hypergallery are debuting a new show in Berlin, Germany that’s built around the fan-pleasing covers created by the talented Michael Spencer Jones for the British mega-group Oasis that’s meant to show us that, 25 years later (since the release of Definitely Maybe), these memorable images still impress us with their beauty and inspired craftsmanship. Setting the Scene: Oasis 25 includes the cover images we all know and love along with many never-before-seen photos, alt versions and memorabilia used in the making of these covers.

The show – hosted by the Browse Gallery will also provide fans and collectors with retellings of how the images were made, what inspired them and several surprises that, if I told you, wouldn’t be surprises any longer, so if you’d like to go see the show yourselves beginning on March 9th(it runs there thru April 7th), click on over to the Ticketmaster site to reserve a spot now – https://www.ticketmaster.de/artist/setting-the-scene-oasis-25-tickets/1009188?

More details on the show, including dates and directions to the gallery, can be found on the Browse Gallery site at https://browse.gallery/en/exhibitions-2019/setting-the-scene-oasis25/

You can also preview some of the MSJ prints that will be on sale during the show on the gallery’s web site at https://www.hypergallery.com/shop/filter/designer/michael-spencer-jones?curpage=designer&dir=asc&order=name

b) My regular readers will recall my previous coverage of photographer Glen Wexler’s successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to produce a book (Glen Wexler: The 80s Portrait Sessions) of many of his most-memorable shots from that era, so it is now with great pleasure that I’d like to announce the upcoming book launch event and exhibition slated beginning on March 21st at the Mr. Musichead gallery/event space on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood, CA – https://www.mrmusichead.com/events/2019/3/22/glen-wexler-exhibition-the-80s-portrait-sessions

The night of the show opening will be a humdinger, for sure, with an opening cocktail reception beginning at 7PM local time and a series of live music performances, with a portion of the proceeds set to benefit the Silverlake Conservatory of Music.

If you’d like to learn more about Glen’s book, you can click on over to the video he and his publisher put together for the Kickstarter campaign – https://www.kickstarter.com/f820260b-0aa6-4b39-b820-908b9370db7a   You might also want to take a fast trip over to this page on the Bontena site – https://www.bontena.com/contents/2019/02/Interview-with-Glen-Wexler-Photographer-Director-and-Visual-Artist-19021802? to read a recent interview with Glen written by Melisa Kaya.

c) A recent article written by Victoria Priola for the SI Live site gives us the details about a rather-expansive album cover art exhibition currently on display (now through March 23rd) in the gallery at the College of Staten Island (NY) – https://expo.silive.com/life-and-culture/g66l-2019/02/d7d8fcf90e2068/the-college-of-staten-island-hangs-200-album-covers-in-art-gallery-for-new-exhibit.html Titled If A Song Could Be Freedom… Organized Sounds of Resistance, the show is built around a 200+ item collection of politically-themed album covers donated by Brookly’s Interference Archive (“a volunteer-run library, gallery, and archive of historical materials related to social and political activism and movements”) and is, according to the show’s organizers, works to “expose the broad scope of the intersection of music and politics.” Album sleeves from the 1960s to the present make up the bulk of what you’ll find there.

d) Sorry, almost missed this one, but it’s not too late for those of you in the Chicago area (hey, that’s me!) to traipse on down to the gallery in the café area of the Logan Center on the campus of the University of Chicago before March 31st to view a show of works from one of the local Hip-Hop music scene’s most-admired album cover artists – Nikko Washington, whose role as the artistic director of the Savemoney Hip-Hop collective has given him the opportunity to design some memorable covers and promo materials for musical acts including Vic Mensa, Noname and Towkio, among others.

A recently-posted article by Hannah Edgar on the Chicago Magazine site  – http://www.chicagomag.com/arts-culture/March-2019/Nikko-Washington-53-til-Infinity/– features an interview with the talented designer and includes his comments on some of the newer works he’s got on display. You’ll learn a bit more about Mr. Washington’s unique approach to creating his art, his past personal histories with some of the musicians he’s created imagery for and his frustration with how gentrification has wrung much of the original soul from where he grew up (Hyde Park), forcing a move to another neighborhood in the city (Pilsen, itself going through a lot of changes) to enable him to “keep it real”. It also gives you clues as to the where the title of Nikko’s show – 53 ‘Til Infinity – originates.

More info on the solo show now up is available on the University’s web site – https://arts.uchicago.edu/event/nikko-washington-53-til-infinity – and if you’d like to enjoy a deeper look into the artist’s portfolio of work, I can think of no place better to do that than on his web site at https://www.nikkowashington.com/

e) As a photojournalist who began documenting the local Hip-Hop music scene in the early 2000’s with a disposable camera (and has since gone on to become the official photographer for the always-in-demand musical group The Roots), Mel D. Cole has also shot album photos for Jadakiss, Trey Songz and The White Mandingos and established himself as one of the principal documenters of the Modern Era of Hip-Hop. Mel’s come up with a great title for his new bookGREAT: Photographs of Hip Hop 2002-2019 – which features photos of many of the genre’s most-noted artists at various stages of their careers. You’ll see candid shots, beautiful portraits and performance photos of A$AP, A Tribe Called Quest, Erykah Badu, Common, Rihanna, The Roots, RZA, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West and many others, and the book’s forward is being provided by famed drummer, music historian and late night TV star Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of The Roots.

The Kickstarter program now live (through March 29th) at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/greatthebook/mel-d-cole-presents-great-pictures-of-hip-hop-2002? offers fans a number of different ways to help Mr. Cole raise the $55,000 he needs to complete his project, with support levels beginning at $25 (which gets you a very nice postcard deck) up to $400, which will secure you one of 500 “Personal Photographer’s Edition” packages that includes a signed book, the aforementioned postcard package and a limited-edition signed photo print all packed in a custom clamshell case. The book itself will cost you $65-$75 including shipping, with a targeted delivery date of December of this year.

I wasn’t familiar with Mr. Cole’s portfolio of work until recently, but after visiting his site at https://meldcole.com/allaccess and seeing the scope of his archives, I’m now a fan (and suspect that you will be, too).

Album Cover Hall of Fame Art and Artist News Update for February 1, 2019

 

Album Cover Art and Artist News Update for February 1, 2019

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

We made it! It was rather exciting to step out into a -54 F wind chill (-21 F actual temp) yesterday morning here on Chicago’s North Shore – it’s amazing how fast your eyeglasses freeze to your nose.

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Album Cover Hall of Fame Breaking News Update for January 11, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Breaking News Update

posted January 11th, 2019 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

For your weekend reading pleasure – here are a few timely links to articles or events I thought you should know about….

– Noted British artist/musician/illustrator Rodney Matthews is kicking off 2019 with a return to his English roots and a two-day-only album cover show in a city – Birmingham – often considered the birthplace of “heavy metal” music. With album cover clients (including Amon Duul, Asia, Hawkwind, Magnum, Nazareth and many others) who’ve relied on Matthews for just the right fantasy imagery to keep their fans happy, it’s no wonder that Rodney has been kept busy (over 140 covers and counting!) for over 50 years.

The show’s titled “Electric Rock” and will be staged the weekend of January 19th and 20th at Highbury Hall in Birmingham (4 Yew Tree Road, B13 8QG) and Matthews’ entire portfolio of album cover art will be on display, including many never-been-shown original artworks and related memorabilia. Fans of the Stormbringer book and the Shadow Master video game, as well as collectors of fantasy artwork and Big O posters will find much to see (and to buy to display proudly at home). More on the show – as well as details of special VIP admission packages – can be found on the artist’s site at – https://www.rodneymatthewsstudios.com/pages/electric-rock

I’ve also been hording links to the many recent “making of” articles that have been published over the past 4-8 weeks, and so without further delay:

Revolver Magazine’s J. Bennet shares the details behind the collaboration of two talented visual artists (designer P.R. Brown and painter/musician Marilyn Manson) that resulted in the the making of the cover for Mr. Manson’s 1996 record (produced by Trent Reznor) Antichrist Superstarhttps://www.revolvermag.com/culture/marilyn-mansons-antichrist-superstar-story-behind-album-cover-art

Juxtapoz Magazine’s “Sound & Vision” series of album cover art-related articles continues in fine form with the following:

– While photographer Karl Ferris and guitar legend Jimi Hendrix shared a mutual admiration for one another’s talents (with Hendrix once telling Karl that “You‘re doing with photography what I’m doing with music – going far out beyond the limits”), there were times when Hendrix and his bandmates were less-than-happy with the covers that the record companies produced for their retail products. Here’s the story behind one of those times – the Hindu-inspired psychedelic cover for the Experience’s Axis: Bold As Love LP – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/illustration/sound-and-vision-the-jimi-hendrix-experience-vibrant-axis-bold-as-love/

– An existing shot – a stark, red and black photo from designer/photographer Sean McCabe’s portfolio -seems like the perfect image to illustrate the cover of the 2002 debut record – titled Turn On The Bright Lights – from NYC-based rockers Interpol –  https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/design/sound-and-vision-interpol-s-2002-debut-turn-on-the-bright-lights/

– Is it cute, weird or just a little bit dirty…influential designer/artist Mark Kelley was asked by his chum, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, to come up with the cover image for their second major-label release (1992’s Dirty), and whether you get it or not, it certainly became something that stuck in our collective memories – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-sonic-youth-dirty-album-cover-art-by-mike-kelley/

That’s all for now – back to you sometime soon with more on our favorite people working on our favorite album packages.

Mike G

Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2019 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.

Album Cover Art & Artist News Update for January 4th, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update

posted January 4th, 2019, by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Hope that you all had happy new year celebrations (some of you may still be in the midst of one!) and, while I said that I wasn’t going to be posting monthly news summaries for a while (in order to be able to devote more time to organizing the materials for my book and some other projects I’m involved with), I am still going to share a headline or two when I think that there’s something timely you should know about…

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Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For November/December, 2018

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER, 2018, WITH PREVIEWS FOR DECEMBER.

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

With the holiday season fully upon us, I know that you don’t have much time for reading (other than ads and reviews for the electronic gadgets you must buy this season), so I’ll get straight to the point – I was happy to announce the names of the talented individuals and design teams that were selected for inclusion in this year’s Class of Inductees to the Album Cover Hall of Fame a short while back, and with the Best Art Vinyl and Grammy Award noms and voting straight ahead of us, there’s been a fair amount of album cover artist/art-related news this past month. With my book project back on track, I really have only had the chance to gather a small selection of album cover artist/art-related news tidbits for you (and I’m even late doing that) so, without any further delay, here are those highlights, for your reading pleasure (as always, I ask that you 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):

Inductees announced for the Class of 2018 of the Album Cover Hall of Fame – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-class-of-2018-inductee-intro-page/

Best Art Vinyl voting has begun – https://www.artvinyl.com/award-year/2018/

Grammy Award nominations are to be announced on December 7th (originally was to have been 12/5, but delayed in deference to the funeral for former U.S. President George H.W. Bush), so I’ll post those in the album cover-related categories in a special announcement later this week.

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Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For October/November, 2018

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ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF OCTOBER, 2018, WITH PREVIEWS FOR NOVEMBER.

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Let me be straight with you – with both the upcoming mid-term election here in the U.S. and this year’s nominating/voting process for the Album Cover Hall of Fame Class of 2018 dominating my time, I really have only had the chance to gather a small selection of album cover artist/art-related news tidbits for you (and I’m even late doing that) so, without any further delay, here are those highlights, for your weekend reading pleasure (as always, I ask that you 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):

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Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For September/October, 2018

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ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2018, WITH PREVIEWS FOR OCTOBER.

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

With the cool breezes of Autumn now upon us, we can all look back at the memories created this past Summer with a combination of happiness for the times spent with friends and family and with sadness for those who experienced the wrath of Mother Nature (you can still donate to provide some relief to those driven from their homes due to floods and fire – the folks at Mercy Corps continue their quest to bring better solutions and immediate assistance to those in need around the world – https://www.mercycorps.org/ ). With the mid-term elections soon upon us here in the U.S. (please do all you can to vote and help others to get registered and vote, too – click on over to Vote Save America https://votesaveamerica.com/ to find out how) and the Holiday season following soon after, it’s also time for the annual Album Cover Hall of Fame nominating and voting process to begin, so rest assured knowing that yours truly and my merry band of album cover gurus will be working hard to deliver a fresh crop of inductees to you by November’s end.

I’m  happy to share the news that, in spite of all of the distractions pitched at us by various media outlets and hyper-active Twitter feeds, there’s been a goodly amount of album art/artist-related news to review – more interviews, profiles, news about new books and prints, etc. – and as you’ve seen in my previous news summaries, all you’ll need to do is just read the summaries I’ve written and then click the links provided in order to be able to find out more about the details from sources from around the world on items featuring many of the world’s most-talented album art creators.

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Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For May/June, 2018

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF MAY, 2018, WITH PREVIEWS FOR JUNE.

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

The past month of May was an emotional one for me in that two things happened – one, a bit depressing and another that gave me some hope for the future – that showed me that the life of a researcher and writer will often be one that can be both rewarding for the work itself (e.g., the pleasure felt for completing a task as best as it could have been done) and one that will serve as a reminder that not all the rewards will be easily or rightfully measurable. Of course, I’m speaking about the campaign I ran to raise start-up funds to produce a collector-oriented, special-edition version of the book I’ve written (tentatively titled Unsung Heroes of the Music Business) that ended in early may after raising less than 10% of the money required to produce the book. The project ran on the popular Kickstarter site for 33 days and, if it had been successful, would have provided me with everything needed to get the new book designed, printed and shipped (along with any special rewards that were available to sponsors at higher dollar levels). And while I do greatly appreciate the support I did receive, both in terms of the words of encouragement from fans/readers all over the world and the pledges I did receive, I do wish that I’d somehow been able to better-convince you to back me in this effort.

Well, all is not lost, as I do have encouraging news as a follow-up – I have been talking with a boutique publisher in the UK to produce a retail version of the book sometime soon and, with any luck, I’ll be able to get those who are interested in the book and all its wonders a copy (or two) sometime soon. More news to come as it’s made available and, of course, will be posted on the ACHOF site.

May was another month in which a goodly number of news releases and articles were made available on the exhibitions, interviews, artist profiles, book/print publications and other album cover art/artist-related topics and, in the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll get the details from sources from around the world, including a) information on album art shows in the U.S. (Los Angeles, Brooklyn and NYC) and the U.K. (Liverpool and London); b) profiles (including two obituaries) on album art-makers including photographers working in the hip-hop and punk music areas; c) a new U.S. postage stamp featuring John Lennon and a limited-edition poster series showcasing Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour; and, as always, d) a nice selection of articles on a wide range of topics including news about several different artists fighting for just and fair compensation for the use of their works, an opportunity to meet one of the world’s most-respected commercial photographers (and have your own portfolio reviewed by him), Kanye West’s most-recent attempt to shock and confuse most everyone and much, much more. So much, in fact, that I might be forced to post some today and the balance ASAP…

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Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For April/May, 2018

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ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL, 2018, WITH PREVIEWS FOR MAY.

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

I don’t know how the rest of the world is handling the changing of the seasons – or the lack thereof – but I’m really hoping that we see a regular Spring weather pattern here in the Chicago area soon (I really want to plant my herbs). Spending more time indoors has had one benefit, though – I’ve been able to research and gather a very nice selection of articles to fill each of the five regular sections included in my monthly news summary. Indeed, the information about the exhibitions, artist profiles, new books and prints, auctions and sales and other items of interest serves as an ongoing testament to the fact that music industry-related visual artistry continues to make fans and draw audiences world-wide.

On a personal note – while, at the moment, it seems as though the Kickstarter project I launched in support of my new book project will fall (far) short of its goal, I’m trying not to get too down about it and, in fact, am now quite energized to find a publisher or two who might be able to help me bring this book to album art/artist fans both here in the U.S. and to readers/fans overseas as well. There are still a few days before the KS project draws to a close, so if you are interested in reserving a copy of the limited-edition version of the book for your very own, I’d invite you to visit the project page at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/232122114/unsung-heroes-stories-from-your-favorite-album-cov before May 8th.

As I mentioned previously, the last 30 days has given us a lot to look at in the area of album art and artistry and, in the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll get the details from sources from around the world, including:  album art and rock photo shows in the U.S., the U.K. and Italy featuring works by and/or about David Bowie, photographers Charles Moriarity and Art Kane and John Lennon/Yoko Ono, among many others; profiles on album art-makers including creative director Craig Braun, photographers Frank Ockenfels and Gunnar Stahl and the designer/illustrator known as Sixmau; another intriguing podcast from GOLDMINE Magazine about an impressive line of portable record players; info on the upcoming NY-area art show booth hosted by printmaker Gary Lichtenstein featuring new works by former Def Jam Records creative guru Cey Adams; new books coming out by two noted photographers – long-time Rolling Stone photographer Mark Seliger and Astrid Kirchherr, who chronicled the early growth of a band called The Beatles – as well as a book of Amy Winehouse photos by the aforementioned Mr. Moriarity, plus my mini-review of John Foster’s recent book on album art/artists (titled ALBUM ART: NEW MUSIC GRAPHICS and, as always, a nice selection of articles on a wide range of topics such as the premiere of a new documentary film about famed Japanese photographer Masayoshi Sukita (perhaps best known for his enormously-influential folio of portraits of David Bowie), a new 35th anniversary DVD about the making of the album cover for Michael Jackson’s huge hit Thriller, a “best album cover art” listing that is actually fairly thought-provoking, a restaurant in Wisconsin that offers rock music-themed craft cocktails (with an LP-style menu to match), details on vinyl LP-inspired bathroom fixtures (!!) and much, much more.

As always, I ask that you 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) To follow-up on last month’s details about the David Bowie Is show currently running at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, there’s a new article by Claire Voon on the HyperAllergic site that shows you just how far NYC-area promo teams are willing to go to deliver “All Bowie, All The Time” to his legions of fans – https://hyperallergic.com/438500/david-bowie-metrocards-spotify-mta/

You’ll read more about how NYC’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) newly-released line of pre-paid fare cards (AKA “MetroCards”) that feature one of five (5) well-known DB images, with each one representing one of his best-known personas (Aladdin Sane, Ziggy Stardust, etc.). Customers at the Broadway/Lafayette and Bleeker Street stations can step up to the special kiosks and try their luck on collecting one, two or all five of the specially-designed cards ($6.50 minimum for 2-rides) and also look around the station for several other Bowie-themed art displays, including silhouettes on the famed white tile walls, lyrics printed on stair risers and a very cool photo image that has been sliced into strips and laid in sequence along a number of cross-beams, allowing viewers standing at just the right angle to see the entire image at once.

250,000 total cards were printed, but with 5 million+ subway riders using the service every day, they’ll probably be snapped up rather quickly. I’ve already found sets of all five cards being offered on eBay for approx. $150.00!

The Bowie archive-sanctioned, Victoria & Albert Museum-organized David Bowie Is show has now moved on to what looks to be its final exhibition space – the Brooklyn Museum in New York – where the impressive display of costumes (over 60 of them), music, videos, photo and graphic imagery, Bowie’s own paintings and ephemera from his own collection – over 400 items in total – will be available for viewing by fans thru July 15th – https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/davidbowieis

b) Irish photographer Charles Moriarity was first introduced to singer Amy Winehouse in London in 2003 while she was looking for – and not finding – “just the right shot” for the cover for her debut album Frank. They stopped for a bottle of white wine and spent some time wandering the streets of the city, getting to know each other a bit better. The two hit it off nicely and, ultimately, found a pub on Princeton Street and a chum with a couple of cute dogs, both which served as the backdrops to what would end up being that cover shot (they also rendezvoused again in New York City while she continued recording in order to get some additional shots for the rest of the album package. Over the course of the next several years, while Winehouse worked hard on recording and touring, Charles would stay in close touch until he made the decision to move from London back to his native Ireland several years later, after which they lost touch.

While we all know that the story doesn’t end well for Ms. Winehouse (Charles admits that he was shocked when he saw her obvious decline in the press coverage she received throughout the remainder of her short-but-glorious career), Moriarity had rebuffed some of the more-exploitative offers he received to use these early photos commercially in the immediate aftermath of her death in 2011 but more recently, after the National Portrait Gallery asked that one of his photos be added to their permanent collection and a meeting with Asif Kapdia, the director of the acclaimed 2015 documentary about Winehouse (Amy), he decided that the world would benefit from the opportunity to see a collection of these images, with the results being a photo exhibition in Dublin featuring a collection of 25 early shots by Charles Moriarity – http://chq.ie/amy-winehouse-photo-exhibition-comes-to-chq/

along with a book (Before Frank) that shows, in 50+ photographs, the transformation from a young girl (recording Frank at the age of 19) to a world-renowned recording artist. The hardbound book’s 144 pages contain an introduction by Dazed Arts and Culture editor Ashleigh Kane, a foreword by Academy Award-winner Asif Kapadia (director of Amy) along with an interview with Charles Moriarty by acclaimed author Martin Belk.

Irish Mirror contributor Demelza De-Burka has penned an article/profile that intros this show, the corresponding book  and shares some of the details about the relationship between the two young artists  – https://www.irishmirror.ie/showbiz/irish-showbiz/irish-photographer-who-close-friends-12386226

­­c) 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, over the years 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 Harper’s 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 struggle for civil rights down South to the plight of wounded war vets and many articles on the politics and cultural changes taking place in the 1960s and 1970s.

Having developed his skills as a playwright, songwriter and videographer, Kane was able to offer his advertising and commercial clients a broad range of services including, as we now know, photos for album covers by many of the music industry’s best-known acts. Examples of his album cover credits include – Johnny Winter – White, Hot & Blue; Jim Morrison – An American Prayer; The Who – The Kids Are Alright, The BBC Sessions and Greatest Hits; Judas Priest – Point of Entry; Gloria Gaynor – I Am Gloria Gaynor and I Am What I Am and Bob Dylan – The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: The Royal Albert Hall Concert. Beginning in 1989, Kane led a series of week-long summer photography workshops featuring a number of his notable peers at his studios in Cape May, New Jersey, which he continued hosting until his death in 1995.

His works were honored many times during his career, with major awards including the “Photographer of the Year” Award in 1964 from the American Society of Magazine Photographers, the “Page One Award” in 1966 from the Newspaper Guild of America, the Augustus Saint-Gaudens Medal for Distinguished Achievement awarded by Cooper-Union in 1967 as well as medals and awards from the Art Directors Clubs in Chicago, Detroit, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. His works were also included in a number of museum and gallery shows around the world, with the last one on display back in 2015 at the Palazzo Santa Margherita in Modena, Italy – a retrospective show titled Art Kane, Visionary. This year, beginning May 3rd, a somewhat-abridged version of that show, curated by the Wall of Sound Gallery’s Guido Harari, brings examples of Kane’s great works back to Italy (in Turin, at the Spazio Don Chisciotte tthrough July 14th as part of the FO.TO.” Festival (see more at https://www.fotografi-a-torino.it/art-kane-visionary – it’s in Italian, of course).

According to Mr. Harari, he’ll have 40 iconic images, “including all of Kane’s rock portraits – those of The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Jim Morrison, Cream, Johnny Winter, Aretha Franklin, Sonny & Chér and the historic ‘Harlem 1958’, considered quite likely the most significant image in jazz history. All the photographs on show and more are featured in the catalogue published by Wall Of Sound Gallery.”

d) Down in Austin, TX, the team at the Modern Rocks Gallery kicked off a new show called “The Art of the Contact Sheet” with an opening reception on Friday, April 27th that featured examples of this unique photo art print format from rock photographers such as legendary Columbia Records photographer, Don Hunstein and the photographer responsible for the iconic Aladdin Sane album cover for David Bowie, Brian Duffy. Other leading music photographers included in the show are Barrie Wentzell, Alec Byrne, Tracy Anne Hart, Alan Messer, Allan Ballard, Matt Anker, David Corio and more.

Featuring large-format (several sizes, from A2 to A0) contact sheets from photo shoots of musical acts such as AC/DC, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Nirvana, Ramones, Keith Richards, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Frank Zappa and several others, the prints show several of the artists at different times during their careers and often include alternative shots where their true personalities shine through. I’m particularly fond of Don Hunstein’s shots of a young Bob Dylan, shot in 1963, mugging for the camera, with his best work and world-wide recognition just ahead of him. I’m sure you’ll all find something that resonates with you so, if you’re in the area, be sure to stop by the gallery sometime between now and the show’s close on August 31st  and say “hello” to Steven (the owner) or, if you can’t attend in person, be sure to look at what’s available on the gallery’s site at https://www.modernrocksgallery.com/contact-sheet-prints

e) Here’s a reminder for folks of the designer persuasion – in last month’s summary, I’d reported on an exhibition/competition currently being managed by noted album cover designers/authors Spencer Drate, Judith Salavetz and Sylvia Reed that’s looking for submissions. According to the info I rec’d from Mr. Drate, the curators are asking designers everywhere to send in their best examples of well-designed record packaging for consideration, with entries due no later than June 1, 2018 to be eligible for consideration for this show.

After the initial competition is over and the best entries selected, the curators will be teaming up with the folks at NYC’s One Space Art Gallery to put up a show (actual dates TBD) that will be called For The Record: The Vinyl Cover Show 2018, the latest in a series of such shows the curators have staged over the years, including a well-received show that took place at The One Club back in 1995 called the “Special CD Packaging Show” (which featured over 100 examples of album art on display) and another show that was held in May, 2004 at the sadly-closed CBGB Gallery built in support of the release of their Rock Posters of the 90s books and which included 250+ posters sourced from 50 different designers.  It’s quite clear that this team has been working hard for years to promote the talents of the artists working in the music business with their fans and collectors of these works.

More details about this show and the folks behind it can be found on their Facebook page –  https://www.facebook.com/spencer.drate/posts/10156195245043288

Of course, I’m hoping to be able to share more info on the winners of this competition and the gallery show as it becomes available.

f) While its opening is still a few weeks away, I am still excited to report the news of a new John/Yoko exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool in Liverpool, UK that will include a lot for those of us who’ve always appreciated that pair’s contributions to the world of music-related art. Double Fantasy – John & Yoko is one large part of the city’s celebration of its 10th anniversary as “European Capital of Culture” and will, according to the Museum’s PR, have visitors “taking a chronological journey… the exhibition starts with two unique individuals – a leading figure in the avant-garde art world and a global rock ‘n’ roll star. From a tender first meeting at Indica Gallery in London, it was 18 months later that the album ‘Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins’ was issued. What followed was breathtaking in its rapidity and productivity until John’s tragic and untimely death on 8 December 1980.”

On display during the shows run, which begins on May 18th and will stay up for nearly a year (through April 22nd, 2019), are many items of original art created by the pair (individually and together) such as Yoko’s Ceiling Painting/Yes Painting, Painting to Hammer A Nail and Apple: Acorn Peace, War Is Over and others, along with a selection of hand-written lyrics by John Lennon, including those to songs including “In My Life”, ”Give Peace a Chance”, “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” and “Woman”. There will also be a music room where visitors can listen to the couple’s music and review all of the album art that we remember and love. You can learn more about this tantalizing show on the museum’s web site at www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/doublefantasy while those with a bit of patience for poorly spaced and punctuated overview articles can read more on one found recently on the Music-News.com site – http://www.music-news.com/news/UK/111842/John-and-Yoko-s-story-in-their-own-words-at-Museum-of-Liverpool

http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mol/exhibitions/double-fantasy/

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) Craig Braun, a man with some pretty-impressive album cover credits including packages for Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix, Alice Cooper and, working with Andy Warhol and a talented design team, brought us both the famous “banana cover” for the Velvet Underground & Nico’s debut record and Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones in 1971, is featured in a multi-page spread in the March issue (Issue #12) of Long Live Vinyl (U.K) magazine. In this interview with writer Teri Saccone, Craig takes us through some of the details of his storied career, including his start in the record business in Chicago (go Cubs!) in the early 1960s to the formation of one of the best-known vinyl record packaging companies (Album Graphics, Inc., or AGI) and on to his partnership with designer Tom Wilkes in 1973 to form the design firm Wilkes & Braun, Inc. where, in addition to being awarded a number of illustrious album cover art commissions, the pair were awarded a Grammy Award in 1974 for “Best Recording Package” for their designs for the London Symphony Orchestra’s 1973 recording of the orchestral stage version of The Who’s Tommy.

After earning a reputation as a somewhat “over-the-top” creative director (i.e., one not afraid to spend his client’s money on one-of-a-kind packaging ideas), Braun’s success found him enjoying both the good and the bad of a “rock-star lifestyle” before moving on to “corporate jobs” at several large record labels in the 1980s. After the recorded music business began to take a hatchet to packaging budgets, Craig chose – at the age of 55 – to pursue another passion of his – acting. He spent years studying his craft with legendary acting coach, Milton Katselas, in his master class and, in 2010, Craig was named a Lifetime Member of The Actors Studio. He has since appeared in many films (inc. Great Expectations in 1998, Flawless in 1999 and Swordfish in 2001) and TV shows including Law & Order, Cold Case, E.R. and Gone. Returning to his design roots for a special occasion in 2017, Craig was enlisted to emcee the rejuvenated Alex Awards ceremony at the “Making Vinyl” trade show.

While you can’t yet read the article online, I did find that the publication has also had several album art-related articles in the past, including 2 posts in their Essential Covers section (http://www.longlivevinyl.net/category/classic-album/essential-covers/) where you’ll see career-spanning summaries on Roger Dean and Tom Gundelfinger O’Neal and in their “The Story Behind The Sleeves” archives, you’ll find postings on covers for Alice Cooper, Bjork, Miles Davis and the Mothers of Invention – http://www.longlivevinyl.net/category/story-behind-sleeve/

For more information on this artist, please visit http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0105733/

b) Keeping his passion for photography mostly to himself while growing up in a suburb of Niagrara Falls, NY, young Frank Ockenfels’ talents weren’t truly discovered until his senior year in high school, when he was asked to shoot the scores of photos needed for his high school yearbook. In 1978, he moved down to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts there, whereupon he met a fellow student named Jodi Peckman. Jodi got a job working at Rolling Stone Magazine and asked her friend to help her with projects here and there, once being sent to photograph Buster Poindexter at a New Year’s Eve performance. After graduation, he worked as an assistant to photographer Joshua Greene (famed celebrity photographer Milton Greene’s son) and at other related jobs until his “big break” came in 1988, when Rolling Stone selected a photo he’d taken of singer/songwriter Tracy Chapman to run full-page in the magazine. Her new album was a hit and, as a result, others wanted to hire the guy who’d taken the best-known picture of the new star, which began a string of commissions to capture the images of many of the world’s best-known celebrities that continues to this day. Ockenfels is perhaps best-known to rock music fans for his portfolio of images taken of the late David Bowie from 1989 to 2006, including album cover/package shots for records including Earthling, Reality and Hours…

The School of Visual Arts is particularly proud of the achievements of many of its alumni, illustrated here by this recent article and intro video found on the school’s site and corresponding to the inclusion of a number of Ockenfels shots in the David Bowie Is exhibition currently on display in Brooklyn, NY. Just goes to prove that both a good education and strong social networks  can work together to bring talented people great opportunities (I sound like a school recruiter, don’t I?) – http://www.sva.edu/features/sva-features-alumnus-and-photographer-frank-ockenfels-3-strikes-with-light-video

c) While fans and journalists alike are working hard to figure out which drug reference – “Kidz on Drugs,” “King Overdose” or “Kill Our Demonz” – is the true meaning behind rapper J. Cole’s new album titled KOD, album art fans have a new artist to focus their attention on – 22-year-old Detroit artist Kamau Haroon, a.k.a. Sixmau. He’d just completed work for rapper Childish Manor when he was commissioned to come up with a memorable cover image for this recently-released new record and, as J’na Jefferson describes it in this recent posting on the VIBE web site – https://www.vibe.com/2018/04/sixmau-j-cole-album-artwork/, delivering a painting that depicts “a glassy-eyed Cole is featured wearing a crown. Children smoking, drinking lean, snorting coke and dropping acid are seen beneath his elegant robe, and two eerie skulls are pictured above them.”

The artist was happy to explain a bit about himself, his career and some of the inspirations and direction he received in this collaboration between two musically and visually-inclined talents, and you can see more of his work on his own site at https://www.sixmau.com/ (note – the home page features an image which reminded me of one you’d see after your computer had been hijacked, but fear not…).

d) With newer hip-hop acts showing more and more creativity when it comes to their related visuals, I was intrigued by this recent profile of 25-year-old hip-hop/fashion photographer Gunnar Stahl on the Coveteur.com site – http://coveteur.com/2018/03/15/gunner-stahl-hip-hop-photographer-profile/ as his portfolio now has been enhanced by the addition of  two newer album covers for Playboi Carti and Rae Sremmrud (both on Interscope). Writer Jodi Taylor spent some time recently in Atlanta with the young photographer, who’d she’d met late in 2017 when he’d just returned from a working trip to Tokyo and was getting ready to jet down to Miami for his next assignment and, after a whirlwind three months of work, had just returned from Los Angeles and had a lot of info to share about his rocket-propelled career these days.

According to the article, drastic circumstances had the self-taught photographer discovering and then settling on the use of film cameras, with Stahl describing it this way – “’I was doing digital, but then my camera broke,’ he explains. ‘I just had no other choice but to use film.’ Film is now what he is known for, with a quick scroll through his IG presenting you with film portraits of pretty much every rapper. You’ll see the likes of A$AP Rocky, Pharrell Williams, Travis Scott, Skepta, and even Jaden Smith all within one quick glance.”

Researching for this posting led me to find another interview and video profile of this in-demand shooter, which you can read and watch via the link at – http://www.thefader.com/2016/09/20/gunner-stahl-documentary-video-interview  More about his latest projects can be found on his blog at http://www.blog.gunnerstahl.us/

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) Last I heard from the folks at the famed Gary Lichtenstein Editions print house/gallery in New Jersey, they were hosting a gallery show late last year built around the ground-breaking hip-hop photography of Janette Beckman (“Legends of Hip-Hop”). Now, in a promo email I just received, I’ve learned that they’re going to be manning a booth at the upcoming Art New York fair (May 3 – 6 at the Pier 94 exhibition hall in NYC) and will have some new works by artist Cey Adams, who us album art fans know and love for his previous work as the creative director for Def Jam Records during their mid-late 1980s heydays, bringing us memorable covers for musical acts including Mary J Bilge, Notorious B.I.G, Faith Evans, Ice Cube, R Kelly and, most-notably, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs.

Since that time, Adams has gone on to work independently on a string of projects for clients on both coasts of the U.S. Included in this work were campaigns for Coca-Cola, HBO, Ervin “Magic” Johnson and Nike, NY-area radio stations Hot 97 and WBLS and, working with curators and designers at the Experience Music Project/Museum in Seattle, Adams brought meaningful designs to the hip-hop-centric  displays there. Additionally, he’s produced logos for Dave Chapelle’s popular The Chapelle Show, more album covers, stage designs, tour merchandise and more for a wide range of clients including Adidas, Burton Snowboards, Comedy Central, Eminem, Foo Fighters, Don Henley, Moet & Chandon,  Stevie Nicks and Roca Wear. Later this year, you’ll find Mr. Adams’ talents on display again in a special box set to be released by Smithsonian Records – the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap – which will feature both his packaging design and a special poster he created just for this set.

In 2008, Harper Collins Design published a book co-authored by Adams and Bill Adler, Def Jam’s former Director of Publicity, titled DEFINITION: The Art & Design of Hip-Hop that presented a comprehensive look at “hip-hop as a visual phenomenon. In 2011, Adams and Adler paired again, this time for Rizzoli, to produce Def Jam Recordings: The First 25 Years of the Last Great Record Label, a retrospective of Def Jam’s design output over the label’s first 25 years.

The photos of Cey’s new works look quite nice, but I’d invite anyone in the NYC area to head on over to the show and see them in person – https://www.artnyfair.com/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=10&tabindex=9&dealerID=36906

Last minute update – I’ve just learned that Cey Adams will be in the Gary Lichtenstein Editions booth at the upcoming Art New York Fair this Saturday, May 5th, 3pm-4pm to talk about his new work and sign copies of his new catalog of work. Gary Lichtenstein Editions – Booth ANY-107 at Art New York, Pier 94 Exhibition space, NYC.

b) An auction to raise funds for the Benefit Shop Foundation in Mt. Kisco, NY took place this past April 18th that featured large-format (6ft. square!) album cover artwork from noted artist Joe Taylor – http://www.artfixdaily.com/artwire/release/6071-choice-artworks-abound-at-benefit-shop-april-18 and, as a follow-up, I’m pleased to report that the item raised $2,000 – nearly 2X the pre-auction estimate!

The Texas-born Taylor is perhaps best-known for the mega-scale promo billboards he created to promote new releases inside Tower Records stores in the 1970s and 1980s. What made this particular auction item even more rare and unique was that Taylor took the large masonite boards he used on each project and painted them over after they were used with new artwork, so this huge re-creation of Buckwheat Zydeco’s Hey Joe LP is a rare remnant of his work, indeed (Taylor has also written a book, Art & Music, that shares the stories behind his billboard artwork).

Since leaving the art/advertising world a number of years ago, Taylor has spent his time as Owner/Operator of the Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum – a museum that presents the Earth’s history from a Creationist perspective – in Crosbyton, TX (near Lubbock). He has also put up a display at the museum of the remaining album art paintings he retained ownership of – http://mtblanco.com/2016/03/joe-taylors-album-art/

I’m sure that the winning bidder will soon be the envy of all his/her/their friends…

4) New Print/Book/Product RELEASES –

a) During his 15-year career as a photographer for Rolling Stone Magazine, Mark Seliger contributed countless images to the publication, including over 125 cover shots. He’d then expand his portfolio to include work as a popular director of music videos, directing shorts for Elvis Costello, Lenny Kravitz, Willie Nelson and others. In the area of album cover art, he’d contribute memorable cover images for records by Tony Bennett, Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, Ice-T, Lenny Kravitz, Paul McCartney, Britney Spears and many others.

In 2002, Mark left Rolling Stone to take on assignments for magazines within the Conde’ Nast publishing group, shooting photos for GQ, Italian Vogue and Vanity Fair while also taking on commercial assignments for Miramax, MTV Networks, Sony and Universal Pictures. His specialty is creating stunning, large-scale prints using a high-end photographic printing process called “platinum palladium printing”, similar to the technique used by artistically-inclined photographers such as Edward S. Curtis, Edward Weston and Alfred Stieglitz. To note his artistic output, throughout his career Seliger has been bestowed with many awards for his photographs, including the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award in 1999 and the Gold Medal Awards from the Society of Publication Designers in 2001 and 2004.

With such an illustrious background, it’s with great joy that I’d like to report that there is a new book coming out May 1st by Abrams Books that’s simply titled Mark Seliger Photographs. The 256-page publication features 173 illustrations, with portraits of celebrities including David Byrne, Kurt Cobain, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jay-Z , Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Jerry Seinfeld, Bruce Springsteen and Emma Stone, along with some great, never-before-seen examples of works taken during his travels throughout the world. There’s an interview of Seliger done by writer/director Judd Apatow during which Marc shares the stories behind some of his best-known shots, so it seems sure that there’s as much interesting to read as there is to see.

http://www.abramsbooks.com/product/mark-seliger-photographs_9781419726613/

b) While you’ve already read my intro article about photography Charles Moriarity’s new photo exhibition in Dublin, Ireland built around a selection of the photos found in his new book about the late Amy Winehouse (Before Frank), I took a look at his site and, in addition to more info on the book, there’s a nice 4-minute+ video intro on the site that gives you a somewhat-more-intimate look into the interactions between these two rising young artists – https://beforefrank.com/ The book’s set to be released this May.

c) Last month, I purchased my own copy of John Foster’s latest book on album cover design and designers – Album Art: New Music Graphics – the details of which I’d shared with you in last month’s news summary. As I said, what makes this book all the more interesting is that it’s been compiled and authored by an award-winning, working designer, with Foster serving as the principal of the MD-based design firm Bad People Good Things and in possession of a portfolio of notable album art credits. He’s also written a number of other design-oriented books included titles such as New Masters of Poster Design (Volumes 1 and 2), Paper and Ink Workshop and 1,000 Indie Posters, among others, and is an in-demand speaker at design industry conferences, so you know he knows his material through and through.

Now that I’ve had a chance to go through the book myself, I did want to let you know that, in addition to all of the nice images used to illustrate the book and interviews with several well-regarded designers I’ve covered over time here at the ACHOF (including Art Chantry, Stefan Sagmeister and Spencer Drate/Judith Salavetz, among others), there are portfolios of work and details of a world-spanning list of designers I’ve never seen before that serve to make this book very different from the many books we’ve seen on the subject in the past. For example, from Denmark, you’ll see cover images created by Jacob Jensen and Hvass & Hannibal for acts (new acts, to me) such as Prins Thomas and Efterklang; from Germany, designers Feld and SchultzSchultz and their work for Ben Lukas Boysen and Daniel Stefanik and, from Australia, Daniel Oorloff, whose crafted photo-collage-based covers for Lucid and Sam Setton, among others.

The 320 page book was being released in the UK on March 8th by the noted Thames and Hudson Ltd publishing house (I got mine via Amazon.com – https://www.amazon.com/Album-Art-New-Music-Graphics/dp/0500294151/ref=sr_1_1? ) , and if you’d like to see more of Foster’s work, I’d invite you to visit his company’s site at http://www.badpeoplegoodthings.com/?page_id=2

d) When the young designer/artist/photographer Astrid Kirchherr was attending college in Hamburg, Germany (the Meisterschule) in the late 1950s, she befriended two other students – Klaus Voorman and Jurgen Vollmer – who shared her interests in Pop culture and music. Voorman became her love interest and, in 1960, the two stumbled in to a club on the Reeperbahn called the Kaiserkeller where they listened to a band from England called The Beatles (who, at the time, consisted of five members, including drummer Pete Best and guitarist Stu Sutcliffe), bringing their friend Vollmer back with them to the club immediately thereafter. Kirchherr became entranced with the young lads from Britain, and one of the bandmembers – Sutcliffe, himself a former art school student – found himself smitten with the beautiful blonde, with the pair starting to date soon after. She’d soon apply her skills as a designer and fashionista to her friends hair and wardrobe, with Astrid being credited for the band’s early “mop-top” haircuts and tailored suits.

With access to the band both onstage and behind the scenes now easily granted, Kirchherr asked the band if they’d mind her bringing a camera along, with the goal being to get them to pose artistically for her as she had sensed something special about the band and its members. Now, over 50 years after these photos were taken, Astrid has teamed with publisher Damani to release a new book of these important photos of the beginnings of a band that would become the most-influential in rock music history. Titled ASTRID KIRCHHERR WITH THE BEATLES (co-authored by Maurizio Guidoni), the book’s imagery focuses on a period of time – from 1960 through 1968 – during which she chronicled the band from its hard-working club band beginnings, during their brief times away from their rapidly-rising careers, on the set of the making of the movie A Hard Day’s Night and up to the time she produced a headshot of George Harrison for his 1968 solo record Wonderwall Music. While her photos have been included in several limited-edition and commercial books of Beatles photos, this is the first time that many of the photos in this 96-page photo-book have been made available to the general public.

You can find this book on the publisher’s web site at https://www.damianieditore.com/en-US/product/634

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Still feel that, for its sonic purity and well-designed packaging, vinyl LPs are still the best expressions of the various ways you can purchase your music? If so, there’s a company in Italy that would like you to consider extending that love for all things vinyl to how you outfit your bathroom. WTF, you say? Well, if you click on over to the MyModernMet site, writer Emma Taggart is happy to show you the various designs now available from the Olympia Ceramica company in their “Vinyl Collection” of LP-and-turntable-inspired bathroom vanities and fixtures. “Resembling a retro sound system, vinyl artwork is featured in the center of the basin; the sink’s faucet mimics a stylus; and taps, styled as “volume” knobs, can be used to adjust the water flow and temperature.

The stylish sink also includes a shelf for storage, a towel bar, a leather toiletry bag, and even an LED mirror featuring lights that resemble an audio equalizer. The best part? Each piece also comes equipped with built-in bluetooth speakers so you can listen to your favorite tunes while you brush your teeth.”

Can’t wait to find out when these are available for delivery and what the prices will be but, I’m assuming, you’ll soon be seeing these in the public and private bathrooms of many (well-heeled) music businesses  – https://mymodernmet.com/bathroom-sinks-vinyl-collection-olympia-ceramica/

https://www.olympiaceramica.it/en/

b) Another design-inspired article that should be of interest to LP fans – Goldmine’s recent podcast includes a discussion with Marshall Blonstein, a former record industry exec who is now co-owner of a company that makes a line of really impressive portable “record players” (much improved over the Kenner “Close&Play” models I remember growing up) – http://www.goldminemag.com/features/ufo-portable-turntable-subject-goldmine-magazine-podcast-episode-24

I’m particularly intrigued with the “UFO” model – a boombox for us Geezers!

http://www.myrocknrolla.com/products/rock-n-rolla-ufo/

c) Last month, I’d reported on a couple of group photo exhibitions – one in Italy and another in Los Angeles – in which the works of famed photographer Masayoshi Sukita were featured prominently. Sukita is probably best-known for his portfolio of photos that captured 40 years of David Bowie’s life and career, with several of his shots used on the covers of some of Bowie’s best-known recordings (from Heroes to The Next Day). In addition to Bowie, Sukita has collaborated with other trend-setting musical acts such as Marc Bolan (T. Rex), Iggy Pop, David Sylvian and influential Japanese electronic music band YMO to create memorable portraits to help chronicle and promote their respective careers.

Now, there’s a new film that premiered at the recent Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy that chronicles the work of this important lensman, with a focus on his unique and intimate portraiture of Mr. Bowie taken during the dozens of photo sessions they worked on together. Sukita – The Shoot Must Go On follows the upward-arcing career path of the now 82-year-old photographer, taking viewers behind the scenes – often with Sukita providing the commentary – during his studio and on-location work with his favorite clients. Included in the film is a special look at “the making of” the album cover for YMO’s second album (Solid State Survivor) and words of praise from many of Sukita-san’s fellow creatives, including famed Japanese composer Sakamoto Ryuichi, musician Hotei Tomoyasu (best-known here for his song “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” featured in the film Kill Bill), guitarist MIYAVI and film director Jim Jarmusch, who teamed with Sukita to create the arresting visuals for his 1989 film Mystery Train.

The documentary is directed and produced by Aihara Hiromi and will be in general release beginning May 19th, so check your local theaters/film festivals/streaming services for showtimes/availability. Reporter Patrick Brzeski gives us a preview on the Hollywood Reporter site at https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/far-east-film-fest-premiere-documentary-david-bowies-photographer-1098267

And if you’d like to watch the trailer for the film (in Japanese, mostly) – http://sukita-movie.com/

d) Whenever I see an article in which the author(s) list their favorite album cover designs/images, I typically feel deflated, as I’m forced to wonder why these articles were written. Is there an album art or music-related exhibition taking place nearby, or is there a local artist currently working in the music space that they felt needed profiling, or did they need to fill some space on a page? These articles tend to simply give us a collection of album cover images and little or no useful information about them.

Once in a while, though, even though I don’t quite understand what inspired the article, I am impressed with the thoroughness and thoughtfulness of an article that has pressed its authors to select their favorite designs and then also delivers us the “whos” and the “whys” relating to each featured item. Such is an article recently posted by the Michigan Daily News Music Writers Roundtable on important album cover works – https://www.michigandaily.com/section/arts/album-cover-art-round-table

Compiled by Shima Sadaghiyani, Daily Music Editor for the Ann Arbor, MI-based college daily newspaper, the panel selects several of “the classics” (Revolver by The Beatles, Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book and Doolittle by the Pixies) along with a number of newer “hidden gems”, such as the covers for the Memory Tapes’ 2009 record Seek Magic, M.I.A.’s colorful 2007 release Kala and Lorde’s 2017 megahit Melodrama. While of course I’m impressed with the fact that college writers can find great pleasure and inspiration from “the oldies” as well as the covers for today’s generation’s packaged music. When looking at the cover for the Stevie Wonder record, writer Laura Szubay notes that “only two years previously, on Signed, Sealed And Delivered, Wonder was popping cheerfully out of a cardboard box labeled ‘Handle With Care.’ Now he was sitting on the ground, his face turned thoughtfully to the earth, solemn and contemplative,” while writer Sam Lu shares his take on the connection between the intimate oil painting featured on the cover of Lorde’s Melodrama with the music found inside – “Lorde condenses the essence of teenage relationships in all of their turbulent glory, from the before to the during to the after,  and does it all without abandon. She leaves us with a final parting gift: an image of her at her most striking, when she’s unflinchingly staring right at the viewer.”

There’s hope yet for these young people…

e) I’m having a hard time thinking of a recorded music product with as much (well-deserved) notoriety as Wu-Tang Clan’s 2015 one-off double album – the “ultimate box set” – titled Once Upon A Time In Shaolin. When news of its upcoming availability via auction – coming after a six-year production schedule – was announced several years ago, it caused a sensation in the press as many in the media were perplexed as to who would ever buy such a thing, which also came with an entire agreement that limited the owner to how it could be shared with others (no commercial exploitation, period). Unless you’ve lived off the planet since the sale, you know that it was purchased at auction for $2 million by now-convicted pharma wunderkind Martin Shkreli only to be forfeited in a 2018 sale of assets to cover a $7.3 million dollar judgment against him after his conviction for securities fraud.

Now, further trouble seems to be following this record in the case of photographer Warren Patterson, whose work graces the cover of the infamous album and who is now suing the rappers for $1 million, claiming that he was never paid for the 80 hours of work he put in to the project. Hypebeast’s Isaac Rouse shares the sordid details in his article – https://hypebeast.com/2018/4/wu-tan-clan-sued-once-upon-a-time-in-shaolin-cover

As it turns out, the Department of Justice is still trying to locate the record, which has not yet been turned over even though its owner is in jail and is appealing his conviction.

f) It’s been 35 years since Michael Jackson’s best-selling-album-of-all-time (66 million copies sold so far!) Thriller was released, with that album featuring portrait photographer Dick Zimmerman’s iconic shot of the not-yet-surgically-destroyed young singer stretched out wearing a white suit (with the gatefold inside cover showing Jackson acting all buddy-buddy with a tiger cub). The new 35th anniversary DVD package now available on Zimmerman’s FanArtClubGallery.com site ($24.95) on the making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller features an updated interview with Zimmerman and includes loads of behind-the-scenes footage taken during the photo session for the record cover.

More details about the project and the new DVD can be found via this press release posted at https://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/18/03/p11422213/michael-jackson-thriller-photographer-interviewed-for-just-released-vi along with this feature you’ll find on a popular MJ fan site, the UK’s Michael Jackson World Net (also celebrating their 20th anniversary) – http://www.mjworld.net/news/2018/03/30/dick-zimmerman-talks-about-michael/

You can order one for your very own at http://fanclubartgallery.com/product/thriller-35th-anniversary-interview-with-dick-zimmerman-dvd/  , and you’ll also see that Zimmerman runs a gallery that sells limited-edition art prints based on some of the celeb photos he’s taken over the years, etc. – http://fanclubartgallery.com/store/

g) Missed this when it first ran several months ago, but now that I’ve found it, I wanted to share this info as it helps us laypeople understand the thought processes of those talented people who are tasked to make the packaging for our favorite retail music products – https://99designs.com/blog/design-other/how-to-design-album-cover/

While I’m quite certain that most designers working in the field don’t follow these guidelines all that closely, it is interesting to see that, in a day where it seems that most people are focused on success via rote memorization and/or applications development, even an outlined process like the one presented here reserves time and energy for existential searches, inspiration and the importance of finding the right people to collaborate with.

h) When those of us who’ve worked in the recorded music business hear the word “mixer”, it immediately brings to mind either the piece of studio equipment used to select and blend inputs from various sources or the people that operate these machines. In today’s foodie scenes, folks us laypeople used to call “bartenders” are now known as “mixologists” and, in many cases, seem to have advanced degrees in chemistry as best evidenced by the strange and wonderful concoctions they create. Recently, a Madison, WI-based restaurant called Merchant has developed and launched a craft cocktail program with inspirations drawn from the titles of classic rock tunes and uses album cover-style imagery to help market them. Want a “Black Magic Woman”? Order one and you’ll get a cocktail made from a blend of tequila, mezcal, fruit juices and other ingredients, while ordering a “Killer Queen” brings you a gin drink with sherry, poppy liquor (?), various juices and bitters. The menu looks like an LP cover, with co-production and “song-writing” (i.e., cocktail-invention) credits listed as they would be on a recorded music product. Contributor Lindsay Christians for The Cap Times shares the important details – http://host.madison.com/ct/entertainment/dining/with-s-rock-inspired-cocktail-list-merchant-is-stayin-alive/article_489df93e-4375-5779-b1e0-3ae6a36af903.html

That’s all for now – stay tuned and be on the lookout for timely news alerts on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back early next month with another monthly summary for you. If you’ve found that these stories have added some joy and appreciation for the arts to your lives, I’d like to ask you to let your friends and loved ones know more about the album art and artistry-related information you’ve found here on the ACHOF site.

Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2018 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.

Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For March/April, 2018

AlbumCoverHallofFame.com News Logo

 

 

 

 

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH, 2018, WITH PREVIEWS FOR APRIL.

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

The month of March – in as far as album cover art-and-artist-related news goes – proceeded in just the opposite of the traditional “in like a lion, out like a lamb” theme in that it started out slowly but loaded up at the end with new info and articles on exhibitions, profiles, award shows, new books and prints and more on everyone’s favorite topic.

March was also a busy one for yours truly in that I was involved in judging a local/national album art competition, putting on a lecture about album art and artists featuring a display of prints from my own collection and, finally, working to produce all of the materials needed to launch the Kickstarter campaign for my new book project. I’m happy to report that everything went well, with an impressive range of talent on display in the Oak Park Art League’s Artifact 33.3 album art show, a nice turnout of album cover lovers at my March 22nd lecture and my overall happiness with the items that were produced to help me launch my fund-raiser, which looks to launch sometime the first week in April. If all goes according to plan, the project will run for 33 days and, if successful, it should provide me with everything needed to get the new book designed, printed and shipped (along with any special rewards you’ve opted for) before the end of the Summer. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for anyone who is a fan of art and music – and that includes YOU – I do hope that you’ll take a look at the project site via the link I’ll include in a special announcement next week.

As I mentioned previously, the last 30 days has given us much to review  in the area of album art and artistry – particularly, in the category of exhibitions (see below) – and, in the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll get the details from sources from around the world. Of particular note were the number of international exhibitions on display and/or announced for openings later this Spring, including shows in Scotland, Italy, England, Canada and several in the U.S…these displays approach the world of album covers/music packaging and memorabilia from a number of different angles, so it’s intriguing and exciting to see the passion for this sort of work on display in venues throughout the world.

As always, I ask that you 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) We all know and love the highly-artistic album cover work of photographer Brian Griffin, so it’s with great pleasure that I can report that there’s a new show of more-recent works – titled Between Here & Now – that’s on display at La Banque Art Centre in Bethune, France – one that features a number of new works taken from his book SPUD (published by Gost Books) that was recently published after Brian’s 2017 artistic residence in that area of the country.

In that some of the bloodiest battles on the Western Front during the first World War were fought only a few miles away from Bethune, Brian was so moved by the area’s history that it inspired him to create images that, in his own inimitable way, illustrated the connection between the land and the “the blood and the bones and the limbs of all (that) became part of the soil.” Writer Eva Clifford provides us with an overview of the display – which is available for viewing now through the 15th of July – in her recent article on the British Journal of Photography’s site – http://www.bjp-online.com/2018/03/brian-griffins-spud-on-the-anomaly-of-potato-growing-in-ww1-battlefields/

Brian provides us with updates on his show via LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6382168208442560512

b) If you happened to be one of the nice people who were able to join me the evening of March 22nd at the Oak Park Art League’s gallery when I presented 25+ prints from my personal collection – and the stories behind how they were made and who made them – I’d like to say “thanks” and hope that you enjoyed your time that night. In addition to the initial selection of prints that were put up on display as part of the opening night ceremonies for the Artifact 33.3. exhibition on March 9th – cover images for records by Supertramp, Aerosmith, the Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa and many others – I brought along another group that included works by photographers Brian Griffin, George DuBose and Storm Thorgerson and designs/illustrations by Cal Schenkel, Jamie Reid, Mati Klarwein, R. Crumb, John Van Hamersveld and several others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Goldstein lecture at OPAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2+ hours later, we’d all had our fill and had shared stories about our own collections and experiences (Val Camilletti of Val’s Halla Records even shared the story of the weekend she spent as a Capital Records employee stripping banned cover photos from a certain Beatles record back in the 60s and helping launch the “Butcher Cover” collectibles market!).

As mentioned previously, after receiving dozens of submissions for their Artifact 33.3: National Exhibition of Record Cover Art original album art competition, the Oak Park Art League’s panel of judges – which included local treasure Val Camilletti (owner of Val’s Halla Records), long-time WXRT Program Director Norm Winer, Paul Natkin (one of Chicago’s most-notable rock photographers), me and musician/artist Jon Langford (one of the founders of The Mekons and the alt-country kings The Waco Brothers) – selected what it felt were the best 50 entries from local/outside artists proficient in many areas of design, painting and illustration and displayed the winning entries  in the OPAL gallery in Oak Park, IL beginning  Friday, March 9th.  . These remain on display, along with a number of other rock-themed works of art, until late April, so if you’d like to see them and learn more about the show and the winning entries, please visit their site at – https://www.oakparkartleague.org/artifact-33-3

c) In this month’s list of “there and gone” shows was one that I’d like to have seen – from Friday-Sunday March 23-25 at the Queen’s Park Railway Club in Glasgow, Scotland was a display of works of art and music, curated by artist Ross Sinclair, that featured the work of dozens of artists who also happen to be musicians/musicians who also excel in the visual arts. According to this article on The List (UK) web site by David Pollock, this display does a great job of illustrating a fact long-professed here at the ACHOF, that being that there seems to be something genetic in the make-up of many who participate in the worlds of art and music – something that drives them to experiment, and regularly produce great works, in areas of specialization outside the ones they regularly earn their livings in – https://www.list.co.uk/article/99693-artists-who-make-music-musicians-who-make-art/

I’ve seen these traits on display so often that I was, several years back, driven to produce an article on the topic, which you can find via the link here – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/musicians-that-also-design-album-covers-a-list-for-fans-of-music-and-art/  Suffice it to say that the trend continues…

d) We can always rely on the talented artist/photographer/gallery owner Guido Harari to present us with a comprehensive and entertaining group show each Spring, and his latest effort, which opened March 20th at his Wall of Sound gallery in Italy is no exception. Called Rock ‘N’ Roll Hearts, it features fine art photos from an impressive collective of shooters, many with dozens of examples of album cover photos in their portfolios, including Merry Cyr, Henry Diltz, Art Kane, Gered Mankowitz, Jim Marshall, Mick Rock, Norman Seeff, Masayoshi Sukita and many others, including Mr. Harari himself. You can find out more about who/what is on display (thru June 11th) on the gallery’s site at – http://www.wallofsoundgallery.com/en/rock–n–roll-hearts-e24

e) The Bowie archive-sanctioned, Victoria & Albert Museum organized David Bowie Is show has now moved on to what looks to be its final exhibition space – the Brooklyn Museum in New York – where the impressive display of costumes (over 60 of them), music, videos, photo and graphic imagery, Bowie’s own paintings and ephemera from his own collection – over 400 items in total – will be available for viewing by fans thru July 15thhttps://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/davidbowieis

The nice folks at CNET sent a crew to the museum and came back with a slew of images that allow those of us who don’t live in the area an opportunity to tour the items on display at the Museum in the comfort of our own homes – https://www.cnet.com/pictures/david-bowie-fans-you-cant-miss-this-space-oddity-of-a-show/  The show has set attendance records everywhere it’s been assembled, beginning with the V&A Museum in London in March, 2013 but, like all good things, it comes to an end this Summer, so if you’re in the area and are a fan of all things Bowie, be sure to tour before its gone.

f) With Mr. Bowie fresh in everyone’s minds, the fine people at the Morrison Hotel gallery in Los Angeles recently displayed (2/23 thru 3/23) a pretty impressive Bowie photo exhibition featuring work that highlighted a number of aspects of the artists 50-year career- whether in the studio, on stage and as an artist, actor and fashion icon – as seen by noteworthy photographers such as Brian Duffy, Terry O’Neill, Neal Preston, Mick Rock, Masayoshi Sukita and a number of others.

https://www.morrisonhotelgallery.com/blog/354U1j/BOWIE-Photography-Exhibition–Sale-Now-At-Our-Galleries-February-23—March-23

The gallery’s opening party was attended by a star-studded lineup of photographers and musicians, including shooters Henry Diltz, Ross Halfin and Jimmy Steinfeld and musicians from bands including Circle Jerks, The Cult and Billy Idol’s band, among others. The folks at Music Connection provided us with some photo coverage of the event – http://www.musicconnection.com/david-bowie-photography-exhibit/

g) A recent article found on the Art Daily site helps introduce us to a photo exhibition in Toronto that give us a close-up look at the city’s burgeoning R&B, rap and hip-hop music/cultural scenes. Readers are given a nice overview of a show called Everything Remains Raw: Photographing Toronto’s Hip Hop Culture from Analogue to Digital that’s on display at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, which is serving (for the fifth time) as a venue for the YU-U-UGE Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival (the world’s largest such event, it is said).

According to the article, “The exhibition consists of three sections—Write Now: Intro to the Esoteric, Not Now but Right Now, and Emanate—highlighting the many aspects of hip hop culture including rhyming, breakdancing, graffiti, and DJing” and features the works of a collection of Toronto-based shooters working to capture the scene in the 1990s and early 2000s. You’ll find photos – including a number which have never been seen in public before – from the archives of photographers (many with album cover credits) including Craig Boyko (Kardinal Offishall), Michael Chambers (Divine Brown and Love & Sas), Stella Fakiyesi (Philosopher Kings), Demuth Flake, Patrick Nichols (Rupert Gayle and Dream Warriors), Sheinina Raj (Ghetto Concept and Laurance Tan) and Nabil Shash, and the exhibition will be up on display from now until October 21st. Read more by following these links: http://artdaily.com/news/102901/The-McMichael-presents-photographic-works-of-Toronto-s-hip-hop-culture and

http://mcmichael.com/event/everything-remains-raw-photographing-torontos-hip-hop-culture-from-analogue-to-digital/

While my exposure to the Canadian music scene harkens back to the late 1990s when I was involved with the MuchMusic  cable TV network there (partnering with them to bring MuchMusicUSA to American audiences), I have to admit that I knew little about the rap/hip-hop scenes there, so even looking through the McMichael’s web pages on this show was really informative.

h) It started off as an interesting hobby – taking rubbings from the gravestones of notable musicians – but it wasn’t until he’d run out of paper one day 10 years ago and decided to try using the paper sleeve from an old LP that St. Louis, MO-area resident John Wegrzyn hit on an interesting way to memorialize some of the world’s most-notable blues musicians. Now, in a display of his unique album cover-sized rubbings at the National Blues Museum in St. Louis called See That My Grave Is Kept Clean, you’ll find a fascinating selection of John’s works of art based on the carved memorials for a range of blues masters from back in the day to much more recently, including Willie Dixon, Albert King, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Professor Longhair, Stevie Ray Vaughan and dozens more.

Writing for The Riverfront Times blog, Allison Babka takes us on a mini-tour of the show –https://www.riverfronttimes.com/musicblog/2018/03/16/belleville-mans-gravestone-art-exhibit-ensures-that-the-blues-will-never-die – and introduces us to a man with a passion for gravesites and graphite pencils. The show runs through May 19th, with more details available on the Museum’s site at https://www.nationalbluesmuseum.org/exhibits/traveling-exhbits/

i) Sneaking into this month’s summary on the last day of March was the announcement of the opening of an exhibition on display in the gallery of the Winchester Discovery Centre (in Winchester, Hampshire, UK) featuring a collection of the works for the stage, dance and film by famed illustrator Gerald Scarfe, well-known to album art fans as the talented man behind the visuals for Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

According to this recent article on the Art Daily site (http://artdaily.com/news/103607/Drawing-a-crowd–Gerald-Scarfe-Stage—Screen-exhibition-comes-to-Hampshire ) “Gerald Scarfe: Stage and Screen will feature more than 100 preliminary sketches, storyboards, photographs, ephemera, costumes, set pieces and animation cels” that catalog Scarfe’s contributions to productions from The Wall (1979) to the English National Ballet’s The Nutcracker (2002). Organized by London’s House of Illustration, one of the most-unique aspects of what’s on display are the collections of costumes and props that were used in various live/recorded productions and, of course, an impressive array of Scarfe’s work on The Wall along with the 1972 short film titled A Long Drawn Out Trip (“a stream-of-consciousness piece that reflected Scarfe’s perception of American culture”) that was seen by members of Pink Floyd and then lead to their ultimate collaboration on The Wall.

Specifics about the show – which runs now through June 27th – can be found on the Hampshire Cultural Trust’s site at http://www.hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk/event/gerald-scarfe-stage-and-screen-exhibition

j) While its opening is still a couple of months away, I am excited to report the news of a new John/Yoko exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool in Liverpool, UK that will include a lot for those of us who’ve always appreciated that pair’s contributions to the world of music-related art. Double Fantasy – John & Yoko is one large part of the city’s celebration of its 10th anniversary as “European Capital of Culture” and will, according to the Museum’s PR, have visitors “taking a chronological journey… the exhibition starts with two unique individuals – a leading figure in the avant-garde art world and a global rock ‘n’ roll star. From a tender first meeting at Indica Gallery in London, it was 18 months later that the album ‘Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins’ was issued. What followed was breathtaking in its rapidity and productivity until John’s tragic and untimely death on 8 December 1980.”

On display during the shows run, which begins on May 18th and will stay up for nearly a year (through April 22nd, 2019), are many items of original art created by the pair (individually and together) such as Yoko’s Ceiling Painting/Yes Painting, Painting to Hammer A Nail and Apple: Acorn Peace, War Is Over and others, along with a selection of hand-written lyrics by John Lennon, including those to songs including “In My Life”, ”Give Peace a Chance”, “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” and “Woman”. There will also be a music room where visitors can listen to the couple’s music and review all of the album art that we remember and love. You can learn more about this tantalizing show on the museum’s web site at www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/doublefantasy while those with a bit of patience for poorly spaced and punctuated overview articles can read more on one found recently on the Music-News.com site – http://www.music-news.com/news/UK/111842/John-and-Yoko-s-story-in-their-own-words-at-Museum-of-Liverpool

k) Noted album cover designers/authors Spencer Drate and Judith Salavetz are teaming up with another accomplished (and Grammy-nominated) designer, Sylvia Reed to gather and curate record art show that will be put up at the One Space Art Gallery in NYC at a date TBD. According to the info I rec’d recently from Mr. Drate, the curators are asking designers everywhere to send in their best examples of well-designed record packaging for consideration, with entries due no later than June 1, 2018 to be eligible for consideration for this show.

The show will be called For The Record: The Vinyl Cover Show 2018 and will be the latest in a series of such shows the curators have staged over the years, including a well-received show that took place at The One Club back in 1995 called the “Special CD Packaging Show” (which featured over 100 examples of album art on display) and another show that was held in May, 2004 at the sadly-closed CBGB Gallery built in support of the release of their Rock Posters of the 90s books and which included 250+ posters sourced from 50 different designers, so it’s clear that this team has been working hard for years to share the talents of the artists working in the music business with their fans and collectors of these works.

More details about this show and the folks behind it can be found on their Facebook page –  https://www.facebook.com/spencer.drate/posts/10156195245043288

If you’d like to see all of the books that the dynamic duo of Drate and Salavetz have authored (21 and counting), here’s a handy link to their author’s page on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/author/spencerdrate

Of course, I’ll give you more info on this show as it becomes available. Designers, send in your best!

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) One of the music industry’s best-known and often-lauded album cover artists – Neville Brody – has spent the past seven years as Dean of the School of Communication at the U.K.’s Royal College of Art, but as you’ll read in this Design Week article by Aimee McLaughlin, he’ll be transitioning this coming September to a new role as a professor of visual communication – https://www.designweek.co.uk/issues/26-february-4-march-2018/neville-brody-to-step-down-from-role-at-rca/

In addition to the many album cover designs he’s credited with over the years, Mr. Brody is the author of one of the design industry’s best-selling books, The Graphic Language of Neville Brody (the second volume published in 1994), which sold over 100,000 copies to become one of the world’s best-selling books about graphic design. In 1989, Brody launched “Neville Brody Studios” and, with cohort Cornel Windlin (a talented graphic artist and typeface designer), the studio took on a number of commissions and successful collaborations with other respected design firms. First renaming the firm Research Studios in 1994 and, most-recently, Brody Associates (http://brody-associates.com/) , Neville and his team have worked on an impressive portfolio of projects for clients in many industries world-wide, including media companies such as the BBC, D&AD, The Guardian, MTV Europe, Paramount Studios, The Times (London) and Wallpaper*Magazine,  venues such as Parco (Japan), The Barbican (London) and the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London) and retail product firms including Apple, Asics, Bentley, Bonfire Snowboarding, Chloe, Deutsche Bank, Dom Perignon, Homechoice, Microsoft, Nike, Salomon, Sony Playstation, YSL and many others. We wish him well as he soon moves on to the next phase of his career in academia.

b) When Public Enemy’s Chuck D teamed with rocket scientist/painter B.E. Johnson back in 1990 to come up with the soon-to-be-quite-memorable cover art for the group’s Fear of a Black Planet record, he’d hoped to drive home the point that that his Black Planet would be both large and cast a big shadow on planet Earth, but someone with Johnson’s special skills realized that it was important to show him how that should only be done in such a way that it’d survive as both a metaphor and a scientifically-correct image.

With a new group of products recently hitting the streets – clothing and accessories – from two hot design labels (Undercover and Supreme) that proudly display elements from the FOABP album artwork in their designs, the folks at the Hypebeast.com site turned to contributor Keith Estiler to turn to the artist to get an updated version of the “making of” story, which is now available on the site via this link – https://hypebeast.com/2018/3/fear-of-a-black-planet-artwork-undercover-supreme-be-johnson

There’s also a nice 90-second video available in which the acclaimed rapper shares a bit about the times and circumstances that compelled him and his music-making chums to produce that record and its visual counterparts – https://www.instagram.com/p/BgMJFN0Hh_X/?utm_source=ig_embed&action=save

c) Back in college, Chuck Sperry double-majored in Art and Journalism and fully anticipated working as a writer/journalist, but a gig as the school newspaper’s cartoonist and the advice/mentorship of a friend of his family (Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Mike Peters) started him down another path (from Missouri to New York and then San Francisco, one that has lead him to be one of the most-prolific and admired artists working for clients in the music business. Over the years, his screen-printed posters for almost every major act (yes, all of them!) and for The Fillmore concert venue have made clients, fans and collectors very happy with their inspired artwork and quality printing, which also lead Chuck to expanding his design offerings to products including skateboards, concert merch and, as you might figure, several album covers, including ones for Jello Biafra, Social Unrest, Madness and several others.

While he’s presently working on an exhibition opening soon (Heaven of Many a Tangled Hue, at Spoke Art in San Francisco), the folks at Juxtapoz Magazine caught up with him to have him spill some of the details of his career up to this point, beginning with his early forays into the field, many of the influences he’s had (including Gilbert Shelton, William Morris and writer Mary Shelley, among others) and what art this highly-collected artist has in his own art collection.

Profile on rock poster/album cover artist Chuck Sperry in Juxtapoz Magazinehttps://www.juxtapoz.com/news/collectibles/the-interweaving-worlds-of-chuck-sperry/

Details of new show at Spoke Gallery – https://spoke-art.com/blogs/news/coming-soon-to-sf-chuck-sperry-heaven-of-many-a-tangled-hue

d) Cover Our Tracks’s Loring Kemp was recently privileged to enjoy a conversation with goth/post-punk pioneer David J. Haskins (AKA “David J”), best-known as the bassist and lyricist for two seminal British bands – Bauhaus and, later, Love & Rockets. While we’ve all been impressed with his musical output, it was these bands’ (often dark) visuals that really helped them stand out from the many bands we enjoyed in the late 70s and 80s, so it is a great pleasure to read more as Loring and David take us all on an historical tour through the art that includes aspects of “Dada, noir and fantasy fiction” – a bit atypical for the timeframe, I think – enjoy this “Kick In The Eye” via the link – https://www.coverourtracks.com/single-post/2018/03/05/Kick-in-the-Eye-David-J-on-the-visual-art-of-Bauhaus-and-Love-and-Rockets

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) An auction to raise funds for the Benefit Shop Foundation in Mt. Kisco, NY will be taking place this coming April 18th that features large-format (6ft. square!) album cover artwork from noted artist Joe Taylor – http://www.artfixdaily.com/artwire/release/6071-choice-artworks-abound-at-benefit-shop-april-18

The Texas-born Taylor is perhaps best-known for the mega-scale promo billboards he created to promote new releases inside Tower Records stores in the 1970s and 1980s. What makes this particular auction item even more special is that, as the normal course of business, Taylor took the large masonite boards after they were used and painted them over with new artwork, so this huge re-creation of Buckwheat Zydeco’s Hey Joe LP is a rare remnant of his work, indeed. According to the article, “When the music store closed, it reportedly offered artworks to a select group, including the woman who owned this painting for many years, hanging it in her L.A.-home before moving to a smaller home in New York City.” Taylor has also written a book, Art & Music, that shares the stories behind his billboard artwork.

Since leaving the art/advertising world a number of years ago, Taylor has spent his time as Owner/Operator of the Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum – a museum that presents the Earth’s history from a Creationist perspective – in Crosbyton, TX (near Lubbock). He has also put up a display at the museum of the remaining album art paintings he retained ownership of – http://mtblanco.com/2016/03/joe-taylors-album-art/

I’m sure that the winning bidder will be the envy of all his/her/their friends…

4) New Print/Book/Product RELEASES –

a) April means Record Store Day month, and this year’s offerings are truly impressive. Now that the vinyl LP business has busted through the $1 billion sales mark again, musical acts and record labels are much more willing to put the extra effort and resources into these collectible offerings (yes, even the young ones are wanting to have and hold special physical goods). Rather than try to highlight what’s going to be made available, I’ll leave that up to the folks at Goldmine Magazine, who’ve put together a nice summary (with highlights) on their web site – http://www.goldminemag.com/news/record-store-day-releases-list-2018 and in a multi-page spread (pages 19-22) in the May 2018 edition of their print magazine.

This year’s Record Store Day Ambassadors at the Grammy Award winners Run The Jewels, and their special offering is a limited-edition metal box set titled The Stay Gold Collectors Jewel Box, a package that includes an etched 12” EP with custom art, a special turntable slipmat and that box – a handy place to store your most-precious vinyl LPs. Album cover fans will recall that RTJ and artist Timothy Saccenti were the winners of this year’s Best Art Vinyl competition….

If you’d like more info on the releases and Record Store Day (April 21), bop on over to the RSD site at http://www.recordstoreday.com/SpecialReleases  I’m eagerly awaiting the release of a fully-restored – including 3D Lenticular cover – version of Their Satanic Majesties Request on splatter vinyl, available exclusively at an independent record dealer near you.

b) Genesis Publications has begun taking pre-orders on a new book about the recent (June, 2017) concert at Wembley Stadium in London by R&RHOF inductees ELO, done in cooperation with ELO lead/producer/keeper of the flame Jeff Lynne – http://www.genesis-publications.com/book/9781905662524/wembley-or-bust?

The book documents the production, staging and performance by the greatly-expanded (12 pc.) band, which presented the 60,000+ fans with an amazing video/musical/pyrotechnic display, with the star of the show (visually) being their world-famous flying saucer. In addition to the amazing photography and a full behind-the-scenes tour lead by Mr. Lynne, the limited-edition (1,500 total) packages will be signed by Jeff and, depending on the version purchased, will include other collectible items such as vinyl picture discs, custom slipcases/bindings and, in the Deluxe version (only 350 of these will be made), a specially-made ELO space ship cutout/assembly. Last I heard, sales were brisk, so be sure to visit the publisher’s site soon if you’d like to reserve a copy for yourself/your loved ones.

5) Other articles of interest –

a) This year’s Juno Awards were announced on March 25th at 8PM in the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC. If you’ll recall my earlier article on this award show, the nominees in the Album Artwork category were:

EVERYTHING NOW – Arcade Fire – Catherine Lepage & Simon Rivest (Art Directors); COCONUT CHRISTMAS – The Lost Fingers – Geneviève Lapointe (Art Director), Martin Tremblay (Photographer); MECHANICS OF DOMINION – Esmerine – Jean-Sébastien Denis (Art Director & Illustrator), Ian Ilavsky (Designer);FREUDIAN – Daniel Caesar – Keavan Yazdani (Art Director & Photographer), Sean Brown (Designer), Eric Lachance (Illustrator) and STUBBORN PERSISTENT ILLUSIONS — Do Make Think Say – Marianne Collins (Art Director & Illustrator), Ian Ilavsky (Designer), Steve Farmer (Photographer)

And the winners of this year’s Juno Award for Album Artwork were…the talented team of people – Marianne Collins (AD/Illustrator), Ian Ilavsky (designer) and Steve Farmer (photographer) – who produced this year’s Juno Award-winning album cover art for Do Make Say Think’s album Stubborn Persistent Illusions. They were up against some pretty stiff “big name” competition this year, but it’s nice to see that great talent wins out even when it’s delivered from rural Nova Scotia! Our heartiest congratulations go out to the production team, the record label and the musical act, and you can read more about this winning team via the link – https://junoawards.ca/nomination/2018-album-artwork-marianne-collins-ian-ilavsky-steve-farmer/

More to come soon….like I said, there was a LOT of info to sort through this month!