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 book – GREAT: 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).