Tag Archives: Ralph Steadman

Album Cover Art and Artist News Summary For The Month Of October, 2016

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ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF OCTOBER, 2016

 

It’s the first of November, 2016, with the elections here in the U.S. taking place a week from today and, if you’re like me, we’re all probably suffering from election-related anxiety. Wouldn’t it be great to have some good, positive, uplifting news for a change (besides the possibility of a Cubs World Series win looming large – sorry if I’ve offended anyone in the Cleveland area, but we’ve had to wait 40 more years than you have for a World Series win!)? Well, with today’s summary of the most-recent news in the world of album cover artists and the wonderful products they’re creating for us fans and collectors of the genre, I believe that you’ll find enough inspiration to see you through whatever comes our way.

This month’s summary, while a little light with regards to sales/auction-related news, still provides us with ample proof that the people that make our favorite album imagery continue to contribute quite regularly to the news cycle, adding items of interest and fascination to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information and the like on a wide range of related topics. Enjoy the read and let me know if you have any questions or comments:

1) Upcoming, recently-launched and just-closed show/exhibitions –

a) Sunday, October 30th marked the close of an exhibition of photo works by Toledo, OH-based shooter Harry Sandler. The show, titled “Harry Sandler: Images From a Photographic Journey,” had been on display for the past week in the Porter Gallery at the Toledo School for the Arts and included selections of Mr. Sandler’s 40+ year portfolio, including shots of rock stars both old (The Who, Peter Frampton, John Mellencamp, etc.) and new (Katy Perry and Queen with Adam Lambert filling the shoes of the late Freddie Mercury), and prints of these images were available for sale as part of a fund-raising effort that demonstrates his commitment to groups supporting the needs of military vets.

A military veteran himself, this show was one of several he’s done to benefit veteran’s causes, with the proceeds of this show benefiting Veterans Matter, the Toledo-based nonprofit housing military veterans in a dozen states.  Sandler’s made a lot of friends over the years as he’s worked not only as a photographer but also as a tour manager and concert engineer, allowing him to tap into those resources from time to time to help raise both money and awareness of the causes he supports (for example, he enlisted Mr. Mellencamp to come and sign autographs at the exhibit’s launch party on October 21st).

Read more about this fine fellow in writer Tom Henry’s article on The Blade web site – http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2016/10/10/Rock-artist-wants-his-journey-to-assist-homeless-in-Toledo-area.html   and also about the work done by the Toledo-based Veterans Matter charity by visiting their web site at http://veteransmatter.org/

b) While it was the intense concentration of classic rock acts that brought thousands of people to the California desert for two weekends in October, I’m hoping that festival-goers did find the time to tour the mega-sized rock and roll photo exhibition staged there. The Desert Trip Photo Expo put on display over 200 photographs from the portfolios of a who’s who of rock photographers – Michael Cooper, Elliott Landy, Bob Gruen, Jim Marshall and many others – and include well-known album cover and magazine shots featuring the six acts who headlined the four days of concerts – Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Roger Waters, The Who and Neil Young.

In this article posted by staffers on the Orange County Register web site – http://www.ocregister.com/articles/captures-732290-trip-music.html  you will find some of the stories behind a selection of the images on display as told by the people who took them (for example, Bob Gruen tells us that Mick Jagger was at a 1982 concert by The Clash at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia because his daughter wanted to see the band (“C’mon, Dad…they’re great!”). More info on this exhibition, organized by the San Francisco Art Exchange gallery and presented in cooperation with Getty Images, at http://deserttrip.com/photoexp/   You’ll also find a nice video short featuring Henry Diltz talking about why being a rock photographer is such a great gig…

Finally, Paul Resnikoff shares his on-site experience, including several photos of the 36,000 square foot tent that housed the exhibit, in this posting on the Digital Music News site – http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2016/10/10/rock-n-roll-art-gallery-desert-trip/

c) I hate it when I’m late…a show recently closed that I just learned about but, even so, I am so impressed with the creativity shown by this artist that I wanted to make sure you had a chance to see his work. Rather than simply listening to his favorite albums, artist Peter Wilkins considered aspects of records – that they spin, that certain covers have unique color palettes, etc. – and set out to present each record in a way that shows us these elemental qualities in a way we’ve never seen them. He first experimented with the idea of capturing a photographic image of a spinning album cover but, unhappy with those first images, he decided to turn to computer technology to help him better-express the unique way he was seeing these records. The results of these efforts were put on display in a series of shows (including one that just ended at the Christina Parker Gallery in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada and new ones scheduled for viewing in other venues across Canada in 2017) that are sure to impress and amaze anyone who gets the chance to see these prints.

While Wilkins has created dozens of prints – including rock classics such as Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix, Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys, Cream’s Disraeli Gears and newer works from acts including Florence & The Machine and Broken Social Scene – he’s also applied a similar approach to other subject material, such as wine, cityscapes, airports and “iconic Canadian chairs”, examples of which you can find on his web site – http://peter.wilkins.ws/

You can view an illustrated capsule summary of his most-recent show in reporter Joan Sullivan’s article on the topic on The Telegram (Canada) web site – http://www.thetelegram.com/Living/2016-09-12/article-4637137/Rock-%26rsquo%3Bn%26rsquo%3B-roll-and-take-cover/1  – which includes input from the artist about his inspirations and processes. I was a little bit impressed with myself for being able to identify several of the examples just by their colors and where they’re shown in the circular prints – give it a try, it’s fun!

d) Ben Marks recently published an article for Collector’s Weekly that I thought you all might enjoy as it highlights the many years of excellent album cover-focused work of the craftspeople at “the premier record jacket printing company in America” – that being the Stoughton Printing Company, located in City of Industry, CA. Stoughton has been printing and assembling record sleeves for clients in the music industry for over 50 years and, as part of this year’s Los Angeles Printers Fair that was held October 14th at the International Printing Museum in Carson, CA, visitors were invited to tour a special exhibit titled “The Music of the Presses: The Vinyl Sleeves of the Stoughton Printing Company” which showcased, according to the show’s press, “a half-century of album covers, from the first printing of the album that introduced The Beatles to America, to the latest retro vinyls”, with every visitor getting a limited-run sleeve as a souvenir of their attendance.

Stoughton Printing Company’s head honcho, Jack Stoughton, Jr., was in attendance to take show visitors on a tour through the record cover-making process, making a stop at a display that showcases 50+ examples of the company’s work, including sleeves for top musical acts including The Beatles, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Carole King, Jack White and many, many others. Viewers were also able to see the entries for a juried competition called “The Art of the Album Design & Printing Competition” which included include designs by many of the printing industry’s most-respected practitioners of the craft.

You can read Ben’s article online via the link – http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/music-of-the-presses/  and see more of what’s on display during the exhibit’s run (which remains “on view for several months”) –  http://www.printmuseum.org/printersfair/general-information/

e) The Copper House Gallery – in Dublin, Ireland, just a few minutes West of St. Stephen’s Green – hosted a new show that opened October 13th (and ran one week, through October 20th) that wass called the “Fantasy 12 Exhibition” and which featured dozens of unique works created by a number of music industry artists, designers and record label staffers who responded to a simple question – “If you could release a record from any iconic artist (past or present), what would the cover look like?” This show was organized by This Greedy Pig (online art/music mag), record label Choice Cuts and the Hens Teeth Gallery in Dublin, Ireland and, in a special event, Irish Times writer Jim Carroll hosted an opening weekend ticketed discussion (Saturday, October 15th at Dublin hot spot The Sugar Club) which featured three people well-versed in the subject of music-related art/packaging – Paul Diddy, art director for NYC record label Luaka Bop; artist/editor Nick Gazin of Vice Magazine (who also created the much-heralded artwork for Run The Jewels) and the multi-talented Vlad Sepetov, whose “Yours Truly” collective has been responsible for a noted list of today’s top recording acts, including Kendrick Lamar and Vic Mensa.

Show-related info can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/1643345045980477/ and on the gallery’s site at http://www.thecopperhousegallery.com/exhibitions/66/overview/

f) There have been a number of fascinating events staged during the past year in the UK to celebrate Punk’s 40th Anniversary, with a recent one catching my eye that I felt compelled to share with you. As reported on recently by Michael Holland on the Southwark News (London, U.K.) site – http://www.southwarknews.co.uk/lifestyle/dont-punk-appreciate-punk-art/ members of a punk “supergroup” called the Bermondsey Joyriders organized a show geared towards letting punk musicians – particularly those who attended art school as part of their upbringing – show off their visual art talents, with this year’s crop of participants including Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols, Keith Levene of The Clash, Spizz of Spizz Energi, Luke Morgan of The Highliners, Nicky Tesco of Members, Ultravox’s John Taylor and others (over 30) contributing works to the showcase, all of which were available for sale.

While the show ran only a few days (October 8th through the 10th at the Underdog Gallery on Crucifix Lane), it received a lot of coverage, including this video interview on ITV News, London, hosted by Nina Hossain and reporter Victoria Grimes, with Keith Levene from The Clash – http://www.theunderdog.london/single-post/2016/10/11/ITV-NEWS-reports-on-the-Punk-Rock-Roll-Show-at-The-Underdog   and photos on the gallery’s site provide ample evidence that a good time was had by all during all of the event’s festivities – http://www.theunderdog.london/single-post/2016/09/02/7th—10th-Oct-Punk-Rock-Roll-Art-Show

g) The nice folks at the Concert Poster Gallery were kind enough to send me/us a reminder for all East Coast rock/album art fans I want to make sure you’ve seen – hope you get the chance to visit the newly-launched staging of the hugely-popular exhibition – originally on display in both Los Angeles and San Francisco – built around the incredible cache of artwork – posters, handbills, photos and more – created over the years in support of the events put on by one of rock music’s most-successful promoters – the late Bill Graham. On display now through next January 16th at the National Museum of Jewish History in Philadelphia, Bill Graham & The Rock And Roll Revolution presents the stunning visuals that promoted and accompanied Graham’s events at the Winterland and Fillmore venues on both coasts, as well as the mega-events he was such a huge part of – Watkins Glen, Days On The Green, the US Festival, Live Aid and others for Amnesty International.

His efforts to promote his events brought us the talents of many who are now considered the most-influential artists of the era – Rick Griffin, Mouse and Kelley, Victor Moscoso, Lee Conklin and Wes Wilson – who all went on to produce a number of iconic album images for musical acts including the Grateful Dead, Santana, Steve Miller and many others. While his life included times both harrowing (his escape from Nazi-controlled Germany and France in 1939 ultimately brought him to his new home in the U.S.) and personally-fulfilling (his desire to be an actor brought him roles in films including Apocalypse Now, Bugsy and The Doors), his death in a helicopter crash in 1991 cut short the life of one of the music industry’s most-memorable impresarios. Now’s your chance to revisit an era via this impressive collection of memorabilia – why not catch a train and get on over to the museum while you can?

http://www.concertpostergallery.com/concertposters/bill-grahams-rock-and-roll-revolution-museum-exhibit-opens-in-philadelphia/

More info on the museum and this exhibition can be found at http://www.nmajh.org/BillGraham/

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) Minneapolis, MN Star Tribune reporter John Bream has posted an article which includes an interview with First Avenue’s (“Your Downtown Danceteria Since 1970” and a space familiar to anyone who has seen the film Purple Rain) man-of-many-hats (facilities manager, tour guide and official photographer) Daniel Corrigan on the occasion of the release of a new book that taps into his 35+ year archive of great photos taken with music industry notables including Prince, Husker Du, Michael Jackson, U2 and many others.

Heyday: 35 Years of Music in Minneapolis” includes over 500 images taken over the years, including album cover shots for acts including Babes In Toyland, The Replacements, The Cows (Cunning Stunts – always loved that title), They Jayhawks and others. He worked with Josh Leventhal at the Minnesota Historical Society Press (who’ll be publishing the book, set to hit store shelves on November 1st) to choose just the right images from his huge archive and asked local writer/DJ Danny Sigelman (DJ Paper Sleeves) to contribute the intro essay. An exhibition of photos from the book will launch in mid-November at the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis, so fans of Mr. Corrigan’s work will have a great opportunity to see selections from this book on display in a proper setting.

http://www.startribune.com/starting-with-prince-first-avenue-photographer-chronicled-rise-of-twin-cities-music-scene/398894281/#1 

b) If you’re like me, it is easy to say that, of the images created for the packaging of most all of the various genres of music, hard rock/metal music, in all of its variations, tends to sport covers that are almost immediately identifiable as being of that genre (for a long time, this honor has been shared with rap/hip-hop covers, particularly of the “Pen & Pixel” variety). There’s a designer in the Bay Area named Sean Ross that seems to feel the same way but, as a creative type, he was curious as to what would happen if he applied the same design sense to the imagery created for another area of Popular Culture – that being technology, and the logos of some of the biggest names in the business.

If you click on over to read Owen Pritchard’s recent article on the It’s Nice That site on the topic, you’ll find a number of examples of “the visual language of disruption” as applied to logos for firms such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, Uber and many others. He then takes things a step farther by reimagining classic album covers and type – featuring notable imagery from acts including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and AC/DC (among others) – to now represent products in the technology space. While I don’t see many of these companies deciding to adopt these designs in the real world, an Iron Maiden-influenced Snapchat logo would certainly shake up NerdWorld a bit, don’t you agree?

http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/heavy-metal-tech-branding-141016

c) To help commemorate the 20th anniversary of the death of rapper Tupac Shakur, TIME Magazine writer Kenneth Bachor caught up with photographer Danny Clinch, the man that took what many consider to be the most-famous (and intimate) portrait of Shakur three years prior to Tupac’s untimely demise, and present a video interview during which Danny explains the circumstances that lead up to that memorable shoot, some of the details of what went in to staging/producing the image and how he felt that, after looking at the results of the session, his gut instincts told him that he had an image for the Ages.

ACHOF Inductee Clinch has produced scores of great photos for album covers for acts including the Afghan Whigs, Old Dirty Bastard and Simon & Garfunkel (quite the range!), so it’s a pleasure to be able to hear this tale directly from his mouth (and heart). http://time.com/4486307/tupac-shakur-photo/ 

d) While not technically an artist interview or in-depth profile, I believe that there’s enough interesting information given to us in Zoe Wilder’s article on the MerryJane.com site about ten artists currently producing a new breed of “psychedelic” art – including covers for a number of mainstream and indie musical acts in several genres – that a read is worth your time. Fans of artists such as Martin Sharp (Disraeli Gears for Cream), The Fool art collective (Evolution for The Hollies) and Victor Moscoso (Headhunters for Herbie Hancock) will find a lot to like in the works of Jen Stark, Sean Cormac and Ricardo Cavolo, who are among the 10 artists included in this overview. As a fan of “Flash-style” animations, I was particularly impressed with the music video artist Robert Wallace (AKA “Parallel Teeth”) created for New Zealand-based musical act Ladi6…

https://www.merryjane.com/culture/Psychedelic%20Artists%20You%20Should%20Know

e) Singer Solange Knowles (another talented Knowles sister!) discovered the works of young Spanish art director/photographer Carlota Guerrero on Instagram and, after working with her on a show at the Tate Modern museum in London, brought Carlota on to provide the imagery for her new album – A Seat At The Table – as well as the 112-page digital book that accompanies the new recording.

Billboard‘s Griselda Flores spoke with Ms. Guerrero and presents us with the artist’s telling of how two talented  you women collaborated on this project, each exploring their own sense of womanhood, the solidarity felt between two black women establishing their own identities in a fast-paced entertainment space and, quite interestingly, how the staff at their hotel reacted upon seeing a gold-painted woman in a cape approach the check-in desk after their photo/video shoot! –  http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/latin/7534279/solange-a-seat-at-the-table-photographer-art-director

f) Each month, the talented team at The Archivist’s Gallery in north London publish an informative article that showcases the work of one of today’s most-creative album art producers and, in addition to giving us some “making of” info from the featured artist, offer readers and collectors an opportunity to see more of that person’s work and, perhaps, buy an art print of one of those images. I was particularly intrigued by the beautiful surrealistic photography created by this month’s artist – Louis Lander Deacon – for his client Imagine Dragons for their 2012 recording titled Continued Silence. The band went on to earn numerous nominations and awards for their 2012 album Night Visions (including a Grammy in 2014 for “Best Rock Performance”) while Louis has continued to build up an impressive portfolio of work for clients in the music, fashion and portrait arenas.

I think you’ll enjoy this look at the work of a rising star in the album art world – http://thearchivistsgallery.com/aotm/

g) It is the hope of all bands that, as its been proven by the long-term value of the iconic logos/cover images of bands such as AC/DC, KISS, the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd, the investments they make in these visuals will continue to pay off for years – even long after the original players have ceased to produce new music (or, in the case of LA-area ska/reggae/punk act Sublime, our subject today, after the band’s singer/guitarist died of a heroin overdose). While most of us remember the cover of the band’s third and last studio album – the multi-platinum record simply titled Sublime and featuring a photo of the late Brad Nowell’s tattoo of the band’s name across his back – it is artist Opie Ortiz’s crying sun logo, which consists of several images, including a mushroom, the devil, a pocket knife, some skeletal items, a genie and a worm – that lives on in various incarnations of merchandise created with the help and approval of the band’s management and Nowell’s widow, Troy Holmes.

In this article by the Orange County Register’s Josh Chesler, you’ll meet the players in this enterprise, learn more about ongoing plans to bring this folk art masterpiece to the masses, talk to the artist (Mr. Ortiz) who created the original design “using nail polish and Krazy Glue” and, finally, with some of the fans for which this art serves as an ever-present reminder of their fanship.

http://www.ocweekly.com/arts/the-story-of-sublimes-iconic-sun-logo-and-how-its-rising-into-the-mainstream-7374609

h) Aspiring young art student Garfield Larmond had expanded his artistic tool box to include a camera (with which he could film his friends) and after moving as a teen from New York to Atlanta, GA, one day saw a Tweet from a local musician who announced that he would be filming a music video and inviting the public to attend. Bringing along his camera, he shot some “behind the scenes” footage which that artist’s label liked, and that simple reassurance gave him the motivation to apply his talents to work for other local musical acts and other clients. A freelance job to produce product shots and short videos for a clothing line run by rapper Young Thug’s fiancée provided an introduction to the musician and, ultimately, the opportunity to provide the cover image for Mr. Thug’s hugely-popular 2016 mixtape-turned-record titled Jeffrey and a series of intimate portraits of the artist that have garnered much critical acclaim. Writer Justin Davis, in a recent article found on The Hundreds site, shares an interview with the photographer – now known as GLP – where you can learn more about the details of his career, his ongoing relationship with the talented Young Thug and how the two worked together to create a cover image that is VERY different than those most of us are used to seeing on rap album covers….

https://thehundreds.com/blog/glp-young-thug-interview-jeffery-cover/

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) Heritage Auctions has just posted the details of their upcoming (November 12th) Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Signature Auction, and fans of album art will find a nice selection of items that should be of interest, including autographed album covers from The Police, Prince, Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin and others; costumes worn by The Cars’ Ric Ocasek and singer Linda Ronstadt for their cover photos; RIAA and UK Gold Record award presentations for records by Elton John, Robert Plant, Tina Turner and more, and several different versions of the notorious and much-desired “Butcher Cover” for the “Yesterday & Today” LP by The Beatles, with opening bids beginning at $750 for a “third state” version and $5,000 for a “first state” version.

https://entertainment.ha.com/c/search-results.zx?N=53+4294941297+794+793+792&Ntk=SI_Titles-Desc&Nty=1&Ntt=album+cover&limitTo=4294941297&ic4=KeywordSearch-A-K-Y-071316

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) Combining aspects of two popular album cover-based sites – Pop Spots (locating the places where original album cover photos were taken) and Sleeveface (where you find people “obscuring or augmenting any part of their body or bodies with record sleeve(s) causing an illusion”, as described on the Sleeveface site) – photographer Alex Bartsch has worked to locate sites in London where a batch of notable reggae album cover photos from the late 1960s through the late 1980s were taken and then create new photos of those covers integrated in new shots of those locations.

For his new book project titled Covers: Retracing Reggae Record Sleeves in London, Bartsch has selected over 40 of these new creations and shares the stories behind how he located and recreated each cover. In order to get his book published, he’s set up a Kickstarter program where he’ll first produce 200 limited-edition, signed copies of his book and, depending on your level of support, backers can also get bonus items such as photo postcards, signed art prints and, for a pledge of 500 GBP or more, he’ll even take you on a bike tour of London, stopping at several of the spots where these new works were created.

Daily Mail writer Mark Duell gives us an intro to the project at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3870008/Back-reggae-roots-Photographer-recreates-classic-vinyl-covers-original-London-locations.html

while those of you who might want to grab one of the first copies of the book (scheduled to be shipped in June, 2017) can find out more via this link – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1060504029/covers-retracing-reggae-record-sleeves-in-london

b) Daniel Corrigan’s book “Heyday: 35 Years of Music in Minneapolis” is released on November 1st (see article in Section 2, above). There is a nice photo album on the Star Tribune site that includes descriptions of 18 of the photos that will be on display, so take a moment to tab on through – http://www.startribune.com/starting-with-prince-first-avenue-photographer-chronicled-rise-of-twin-cities-music-scene/398894281/#1

c) Former Billboard Magazine Editor-in-Chief Adam White and Motown Records President Barney Ales have teamed up to create a just-published new book (400 pages, with over 1000 pictures) that, according to White, serves to tell the whole story behind the rise and success of Motown Records, with a special focus on the people behind the scenes without whom, he claims, “the music wouldn’t have been played and the bills wouldn’t have been paid”. In Motown: The Sound of Young America (with a forward by producer extraordinaire Andrew Loog Oldham), you’ll find, according to Thames & Thames, the book’s publisher, the “first official visual history of the label, new research, a dazzling array of images, and unprecedented access to the archives of the makers and stars of Motown lend new insight to the legend. In addition to extensive specially commissioned photography of treasures extracted from the Motown archives, as well as the personal collections of Barney Ales and Motown stars..” Interviews featured in the book include ones with Motown founder Berry Gordy and several of the label’s best-known acts, including Smokey Robinson and original Supreme Mary Wilson, among others.

The label also focused a lot of resources on the visuals of their acts which introduced audiences world-wide to the colors, textures, hair styles and dance moves that helped make kids of all colors and backgrounds fans of “the Motown Sound”.

http://www.thamesandhudsonusa.com/books/motown-the-sound-of-young-america-hardcover

Via this link to the Fox 2 Detroit web site – http://www.fox2detroit.com/good-day/204681762-story – you can also watch a 6-minute interview with White and Barney Ales’ son Brett as they discuss the book and share some of the stories found inside.

d) Bowie fans, take note – I just received a note from the Modern Rocks Gallery in Austin, TX letting me know that they now carry a range of David Bowie photo prints – including the famous Aladdin Sane, Lodger and Scary Monsters cover images – produced by the estate of the late photographer Brian Duffy. These new open edition prints (stamped by the Duffy Archive) are available in one size only (19.75″ square overall; 10.5″ square image size) are a very affordable way (at $300 each) to own these famous photos, so click on over to the Modern Rocks site to see what’s available – http://www.modernrocksgallery.com/duffy-archive/

e) You will recall an article from the not-too-distant past talking about the upcoming release of a revised edition of author/art expert Ramon Martos Garcia’s wonderful book on heavy metal album covers titled “And Justice For Art“. Well, our patience has been rewarded – the book is done and available for sale in a limited-edition version that delivers a lot of value for the money. The book was published by Dark Canvas, with more details and links available in a recent article on the KNAC.com site by Larry Petro (AKA “News Monkey”) – http://www.knac.com/article.asp?ArticleID=21711

Ramon is a dedicated and knowledgeable writer with a true passion for his subject – hope you’ll check out his book and, if so inspired, make one your own.

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Record and consignment shop owners partially-attribute the rise of vinyl LP sales to the fact that folks “just like the album cover art”, an article posted by Danbury, CT-based News-Times writer Chris Bosak stated recently. While those of us who grew up with vinyl are not all that surprised to learn this, the fact that a 70+ year-old method of delivering music to fans is still appealing – particularly to those young folks who’ve grown up with digital music-capable devices attached to their hands and heads – is cause for a bit of reflection. From the late 1980s through the early 2000s, music products sold in either smaller physical formats (CD, DVD, etc.) or without physical packaging at all (MP3s and more-current digital formats, playable on computers, music players and mobile phones) sounded what seemed to be a death knoll for analog albums, but it seems that young people with an inquisitive streak and “audiophiles” who appreciate the seemed sonic advantages of uncompressed music have both worked together to re-kindle interest in the format, bringing much joy to those involved in the manufacturing, packaging and selling of vinyl music products, from records to turntables to $100/ft. speaker cables (!!). All those interviewed for this article made note of the fact that great album covers – and digging through stacks of records – were still very much part of the mystique.

http://www.newstimes.com/business/article/Vinyl-resurgence-boosts-independent-record-stores-9516228.php

b) Although this isn’t an album cover-related item (although, they did give us many great covers during their time in the limelight), the fact that the city council in Forest Hills, Queens, New York is honoring the Ramones by renaming the street in front of the entrance to Forest Hills High School (AKA the “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School”, located at the intersection of 67th Avenue and 110th Street and the alma mater of members of the band as well as Burt Bacharach, Simon & Garfunkel and guitarist Leslie West) “The Ramones Way” should be of great interest to music fans world-wide. The new street sign was installed on a nearby lamppost, with the honor being bestowed during a ceremony held on Sunday, October 30th. In attendance was Mickey Leigh (Joey Ramone’s brother), former band manager Danny Fields and their former tour manager, Monte Melnick. Gallery 98’s Marc H. Miller also participated in the ceremonies, and the exhibit he co-curated (Hey! Ho! Let’s Go! Ramones and the Birth of Punk) continues draw crowds to the Grammy Museum in LA, where it remains on display through February 28th.

Read more on the band’s web site – http://www.ramones.com/street-in-front-of-forest-hills-high-to-be-renamed-ramones-way-on-october-23/ and, if you’ve got an hour to kill, you can watch a video of the ceremony, including an introduction by the delightful (and “varry, varry, New Yawky”) City Council member Karen Koslowitz, who represents the 29th District that includes Forest Hills.

c) In 1996, the EMI record label turned to long-time Pink Floyd album cover designer Storm Thorgerson to come up with a promo image for an upcoming re-release of several of the band’s best-known records (AKA, their Back Catalog). Working with photographer Tony May, designer Finlay Cowan and top-tier body painter Phyllis Cohen, the team produced an image that went on to become one of the band’s most-popular poster images – one called simply Pink Floyd’s Back Catalogue. The image of six of the group’s record covers deftly painted on the backs of six young female models seated on the edge of a swimming pool was the first of several done over the years, with the later ones done to show off the breadth of Thorgerson’s studio’s album cover archive, including covers for acts including Black Sabbath, The Cranberries, Peter Gabriel and many more.

More recently, South Bay (LA/Long Beach-area) body painter Paul Roustan drew upon his inspiration from these previous works to create his own take on the subject, with each of the six models painted to represent an iconic image of the area’s history and culture. Calling his work Painted Ladies of the South Bay, he shot the models (all natives of the area) in two locations – at historic Hermosa Beach pier and on the nearby Strand Wall – and the effort has served to introduce new fans to his award-winning (1st place “North American Body Paint Champion” at the North American Body Paint Championships) work, with his latest book, titled Roustan Body Paint, which includes over 200 photos and several handy tutorials in case you want to try this on your own, winning 1st Place – Best Photography Book – at the 2016 Beverly Hills Book Awards. Read more at http://www.easyreadernews.com/136358/artist-paul-roustan-creates-south-bay-take-pink-floyd-album-cover-body-painting/    and, to see more of his work and his book, click on over to http://www.roustanbodypaint.com/book

d) Yes, he’s an amazingly-talented singer/songwriter but, in some circles, he’s almost as well-known for his contributions to the art of photo taking and printing, and for that he’s going to be feted several times over the next month or so…In addition to his career as a solo artist and member of bands including the Hollies and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Graham Nash has been the co-owner of a company called Nash Editions, a place where seriously-picky photographers go to have their fine art prints produced to their exacting specifications. Over the years, Nash and his team have derived several new technologies and printing processes that have upped the quality of photo printing (particularly, in digital photo printing) to the level where those who had sworn off the notion of having their images produced for collectors on digital printing machines can now rely on certain companies to execute their print orders with great integrity and stunning image quality.

For these efforts, Nash was lauded at events including the October 23rd 2016 Lucie Awards Gala (the “Oscars” for photography) and the annual induction ceremonies for the International Photography Hall of Fame, which took place in St. Louis, MO on October 28th. It’s that museum’s 50th anniversary, and Nash was inducted alongside other famed image-makers including photographer Annie Leibovitz and film-maker Ken Burns.

You can read more about Nash’s Double Exposure Award from the Lucie Foundation via this link – http://www.lucies.org/honorees/graham-nash/   and  about the IPHF’s 50th Anniversary award event at http://iphf.org/events/hall-fame-induction-50th-anniversary-celebration/

Nash’s portrait at the IPHF will live alongside those of previous inductees which include photographers Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Robert Frank and Edward Weston (actually, he’s right after Eadweard Muybridge and right before Beamont Newhall – pretty significant neighbors, no?) and other technologists including George Eastman, Steve Jobs, John & Thomas Knoll (inventors of Photoshop) and Victor Hasselblad. Congratulations, Mr. Nash, for making both our ears and our eyes very happy and proving, once and for all, you’re more than just a Simple Man.

e) Looking for something crafty to do with your duplicate/triplicate album covers? Join the “upcycling” revolution and turn your favorite old cardboard sleeves into a useful and unique folder. Based on what I know about your collections, you’ll be the only one showing up to work with folders sporting Lee Conklin’s “Santana Lion” or Barry Godber’s screaming-face King Crimson image – certain to spark conversations with your friends and co-workers.

To follow up a previous “How To” article (about making a folder out of an old album cover – http://craftingagreenworld.com/2016/10/03/how-to-make-a-folder/ – the folks at Crafting A Green World have published an article that will allow us to expand our portfolios of album cover-derived products to now include bookmarks, Christmas Tree ornaments, greeting cards and more. There’s even plans for a hand-held fan! If you’re like me and have several covers we’ve kept long after the records have become unplayable, then “12 Ways To Reuse An Album Cover” will serve as inspiration for you to grab a hobby knife, some glue and get started in time for Holiday gift-giving.

http://craftingagreenworld.com/2016/10/14/ways-to-reuse-an-album-cover/

 

Not only is it easy and fun, you get to play with an X-Acto Knife and Duct Tape, too (surely you have these items from your last kidnapping project – I know that I do)!

f) 12-inch “big sleeves”, “Mondo vinyl” packages and other alternative methods of giving fans and collectors a way to show off their favorite media packages – it seems clear that there are a number of media production/promotion companies these days that are turning back to a tried and true method of delivering content and art/accessories in ways that will entice fans to spend real money to own them. While many in the music and general entertainment industries continue to rail against digital products and how they’ve effected their bottom lines, others – some small upstarts along with some of the biggest names in the business – have looked for new opportunities to both build strong bonds with fans and get them to reach deep into their pockets to pay for specially-made, often limited-edition media products.

In an article published the other day by Ben Travis of the Evening Standard, you’ll get to see and learn more about some of the long-standing efforts (box sets, colored vinyl, etc.) and many of the newer ones, including Disney’s newly-released “Big Sleeve” packages for six of their most-popular films (Aladdin, Beauty & The Beast, Star Wars, etc.) that deliver DVDs sheathed in 12-inch LP-sized sleeves that also include bonus items (photos, prints, booklets, etc.).  Some feature updated graphics, while others reprise designs from the past, but all give consumers something to show their friends during their next visit to their respective media rooms.

http://www.standard.co.uk/stayingin/disney-s-vinylsized-big-sleeve-editions-and-the-special-formats-all-pop-culture-junkies-should-own-a3366551.html

g) I continue to be impressed and amazed with the amount of great album art being produced in markets all over the world, with one site from Australia – ToneDeaf.com – regularly presenting articles about record packages being produced for musical acts that may not be familiar to music fans outside their local markets. One example is this article by Tyler Jenke titled “15 TIMES RECORD PACKAGING GOT COOL, CREATIVE AND WEIRD” in which you’ll see a number of examples of artwork and special packaging (including one that includes a full-on board game!) that, for the most part, represent the exception and not the norm these days. It seems clear that there are a number of artists that have figured out the value of great packaging and visuals and have committed significant resources to these efforts, so while you might not love all you see, you can’t help but be impressed by the sincerity of their efforts..

http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/487987/cool-creative-weird-record-packaging.htm

h) On Friday, October 14th at the Society of Illustrators/Museum of Illustration located at 128 East 63rd Street (just East of Park Ave.) beginning at 6:30PM EST – noted author Steven Heller moderated a panel discussion titled “Can Art Affect Social Change?”, and which featured award-winning artist/illustrator Anita Kunz and a group of influential illustrators (Barry Blitt, Nora Krug and Peter Kuper) as well as music producer Hal Willner, each of whom has produced works that “focus on current issues and strive to affect social and political change.” You might recall from an early posting here that the Museum recently hosted (through October 22nd) an exhibition of works by noted illustrator and cultural satirist Ralph Steadman and so this panel, which included folks who’ve all been influenced by Steadman’s “Gonzo” style, should all be very qualified to add color and substance to the topic at hand.

Both Kunz and Blitt have contributed their talents to clients in the music space, and Willner, who has established himself as a producer of many “tribute” concerts, events and records (as well as the music for all of the sketch pieces on SNL since the early 1980s), was happy to share his unique perspectives on how the visual and musical arts can both reflect and impact audiences with their power and messaging.

More information can be found via the link at

https://www.societyillustrators.org/events/can-art-affect-social-change

i) Now, here’s an “album art/packaging is dying/dead” article with a twist! While the smaller 5″ square canvas reserved for the images used on CD covers did somewhat stifle the visual impact of art created for the format, the jewel case did in fact offer designers an opportunity “to go deep” – i.e., to craft multi-page booklets in which they could include multiple images, lyric pages and other items of interest. To do this with LPs required the creation of either specialized (mostly gatefold) packages or, more often, a box in which to hold the records and the booklets made to give fans “extra value”. As with any addition to a retail package, most buyers would only invest a limited amount of time digging through the extras, but those that did would typically come away with a slightly-better understanding and appreciation of the artist and his/her/their music.

I’m not quite sure just how old DJ Booth writer Yoh is (I’m assuming that he’s quite a bit younger than I am), but I have to think that his lament about “the slow death of the album booklet” – with its appreciation of more-recent packages (i.e., those released within the past 10 years or so) such as Kanye West’s George Condo art-filled package for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, with its collection of striking black and white photos taken by French shooter Denis Rouvre – focuses mostly on how the author feels that digital “booklets” and linked web sites lack the personal (read “physical”) value found in the printed materials that accompany a CD. How quaint.

http://djbooth.net/news/entry/2016-09-21-the-slow-death-of-the-album-booklet

j) A day late, perhaps, but still a topic worth exploring – of course, yesterday was Halloween, a night where we’re expected to honor and experience all things horrible and frightening (no, I’m not talking about our upcoming election again). Over the years – particularly in certain sub-genres of the heavy metal music world – a fair number of scary/disturbing/disgusting album cover images have been put on display to entice fans to explore the music packaged inside, so it only seems fitting that a yearly capsule summary of the most-memorable of these covers becomes the subject of an article. This year’s best summary comes to us from writer Matthew Wilkening in a posting for the UltimateClassicRock site titled “Rock’s 30 Scariest Album Covers”, in which you’ll find examples from your favorite metal music masters (Black Sabbath/Ozzy/Dio, Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, etc.) as well as some classic designs that routinely show up on “everyone’s favorite sick sleeves” listings, including Barry Godber’s ultimate screaming face for King Crimson and Funkadelic’s truly-disturbing Maggot Brain. Click thru the list slowly, making sure to relish the artistry on display, all the while telling yourself “it’s only an album cover”… http://ultimateclassicrock.com/scary-album-covers/

Bonus content – Just wanted to share a photo of an advert in a recent edition of Portland Monthly magazine that, I think you’ll agree, shows just how deeply that certain influential album cover designs (like that for Abbey Road, by The Beatles) have been integrated into our collective consciences…Here’s an ad by a rug/carpet dealer in Portland, OR named Kush regarding their upcoming move from one location to a new one in town. I wonder if anyone will be analyzing the ad for all its symbolism – is the little dog on staff, or the embodiment of the soul of a long-dead area carpet weaver?

kushabbeyrdnov2016v2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s all for now – look for updates every week (typically, on a Friday) on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back early next month with another summary for you.

All text Copyright 2016 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 And Artist News Summary For The Month Of September, 2016

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ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER ART AND ARTIST NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2016

It’s the beginning of October, 2016, with the Fall season in full force here in Chicago – leaves changing colors, the humidity taking a back seat to crisp evening temps and, for those of us new (again) to the area, the famously-frigid Winter weather looming in front of us, with only the thoughts of a hot deep-dish pizza making the prospects tolerable. If you’re either a hearty soul or someone living in warmer climes, I hope that all you’re thinking about right now is a) “how will I survive this Election season?” (don’t forget to VOTE!) and b) “what the heck is going on in the album art/artist world these day, to which I’d like to propose that you now spend a few minutes catching up on your album cover art/artist-related news which, as you all know by now, you’ll find summarized in both my weekly and monthly recaps.

In this month’s summary, you’ll see that the people that make our favorite album imagery continue to make news with their ongoing contributions to the field of album art/packaging, contributing to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, info on museum and gallery shows and the like on a wide range of related topics. Enjoy the read and let me know if you have any questions or comments:

1) Upcoming, recently-launched and just-closed show/exhibitions –

a) London’s Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising will soon (on October 4th) be launching a new exhibition that’ll be a must-see for fans of punk/do-it-yourself-because-you-can’t-f**king-trust-anyone-else product marketing, promotion and advertising. Located “just around the corner from the world-famous Portobello Road Market”, the museum will host a display which they’re calling the “Graphics Of Punk” which, using a large collection of prints, posters, underground magazines, advertisements, consumer products and, most-importantly (at least to us), album cover/record sleeve images, works to illustrate how these “radical campaigns draw a visual parallel between the political climate of the time and its punk graphics aesthetics.”

In addition to the items on display, the museum will be hosting a series of talks throughout the show’s run, including one on punk-era typography by designer/author Sarah Hyndman (titled “Never Mind The Typography”, taking place Tuesday, November 15th). Writer Sarah Dawood gives us a preview of the show in this article on the Design Week web site – https://www.designweek.co.uk/issues/26-september-2-october-2016/new-graphics-punk-exhibition-will-showcase-outrage-era/  with more info on visiting the museum during the show’s run (through January 29th, 2017) available on the venue’s site at

http://www.museumofbrands.com/whats-on/exhibitions/the-graphics-of-punk-4-october-to-29-january.html

The museum is the love child of consumer products/promotion guru Robert Opie, so it will be interesting to see how he and his people inter-relate this display’s unique grouping and messaging with the thousands of other items that make up their collection.

b) I’ve reported previously on the recently-launched (September 26th) graphic design/illustration exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London called “You Say You Want A Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970,” but, with the show’s kick-off now past us, I wanted to share a recent article by The Guardian’s Graphic Arts writer Liz Hoggard that provides us with some additional insights and details about a number of the designers – including many well-known album cover & gig poster artists including Martin Sharp (Disraeli Gears for Cream), Mike McInnerney (Tommy for The Who) and the team of Nigel Waymouth and Michael English of Hapshash & the Coloured Coat, among many others – whose works provided the colorful, mind-blowing and sometimes head-scratching backdrop to the art, fashion and music of the era, as well as the inspiration for the punk, new wave and other scenes that’d soon follow.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/sep/04/revolutionary-artists-60s-counterculture-v-and-a-you-say-you-want-a-revolution

The show will run through Sunday, February26, 2017, with more information nicely presented on the Museum’s web site – http://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/you-say-you-want-a-revolution-records-and-rebels-1966-70

There will be several related activities kids young and old can participate in during the show’s run, including two “Create! Graphic Design” events in October, free talks/gallery tours and a Conference & Symposium on Friday, the 4th of November which is described as an event during which participants will “explore how the social, cultural and political dynamic changes enacted in the late 1960s continue to impact on our world today and help us think about the world tomorrow. Topics will include:  counter culture to cyber culture, ideology in politics, the uses of hallucinogenic drugs and environmentalism.”

Quite a way to spend a day.

c) Prog Rock imagery fans now have something to plan for – Roger Dean, creator of many of the most-memorable album covers over the past 40+ years (including those for YES, Uriah Heep, ASIA and others) is the subject of a new exhibition that opened on October 1st at the Trading Boundaries gallery space on Sheffield Green in East Sussex, U.K. that’s titled “Pathways”. According to the gallery’s press release, ” Trading Boundaries will be exhibiting original paintings, watercolours, drawings, sketches and prints, many for the first time and many of which will be for sale, including the original painting for Rick Wakeman’s ‘The Myths & Legends of King Arthur 2016’…Paintings and artwork will be on display throughout our showrooms as well as in our permanent gallery of Roger’s work here.

The show’s opening day featured sets by the the very-popular YES tribute band SEYES and, to add some further enticement, at 7PM on Saturday, October 22nd, those with an artistic bent can attend a painting workshop lead by the talented Mr. Dean himself. Tickets for that event can be purchased in advance via this link – http://www.tradingboundaries.com/collections/tickets/products/roger-dean-painting-workshop-br-saturday-22nd-october-br   with more information on this show, which runs through October 30th, available on the gallery’s web site –  http://www.tradingboundaries.com/pages/roger-dean-gallery

d) Director Ron Howard’s new film about the formative touring years of The Beatles, titled The Beatles: Eight Days A Week, has been earning much praise from fans and film critics, with one San Francisco-based art gallery – the San Francisco Art Exchange, well-known for their deep and impressive album art catalog – having served as a photographic consultant to the film-makers. To showcase the Beatles imagery both in the film and in their collection, the SFAE has put up an online Beatles-related photo exhibition, with most items (as well as others you won’t find online) available for purchase as fine art prints for your home. The film focuses on the four straight years of touring the band did between August, 1962 and August, 1966 during which they both perfected their song-writing/performance skills (releasing 11 studio albums in the U.S., from Please Please Me to Revolver) and their public personas via their films (Hard Day’s Night and Help!), TV appearances and constant interaction with the press, so you can be sure to find images from photographers including Robert Whitaker, Ken Regan, Jim Marshall, Terry O’Neill and others that you’ll both know well and those that will bring back fond memories.

http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400137

e) I have to admit that, for the longest time, I thought that artist Ralph Steadman had contributed the artwork for Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” when, in fact, it was produced by another talented pen-and-ink-focused artist, Gerald Scarfe (please tell me that I’m not the only one who thought this). In any case, Mr. Steadman does have a nice album cover resume, having done record packaging for musical acts including Ambrosia, Nils Lofgren and Frank Zappa, as well as spoken word albums built around the witticisms of the man who is perhaps most-associated with Steadman – “gonzo” writer Hunter S. Thompson – so it’s my pleasure to announce that there’s a new career-retrospective exhibition being staged at the gallery of the Society of Illustrators in NYC.

Titled “A Retrospective: Ralph Steadman”, the show celebrates “the work and career of iconic artist Ralph Steadman. This special exhibition will cover three floors of galleries and is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for the public to view a collection of his groundbreaking pieces spanning his 50 year career.” You’ll find examples of his work that’s been used to illustrate books, magazines, films and other forms of media, including items that have appeared in Rolling Stone Magazine, The Times of London, the New York Times and many others. The Society’s site also lists a number of related events, with details available via the link –http://www.societyillustrators.org/exhibits/retrospective

f) Fans of the late David Bowie are in for a treat now that Guido Harari has launched the latest photo show at his Wall of Sound Gallery in Alba, Italy that is built around a collection of nearly 40 photos taken of Bowie by the famed Japanese photographer Maysayoshi Sukita, best known for the photos used on the covers of Bowie’s Heroes and The Next Day records. Assembled in cooperation with ONO Arte Contemporanea – who are holding their own related exhibition this month at their gallery in Bologna featuring Sukita portraits of Bowie along with Iggy Pop and Marc Bolan (http://www.onoarte.com/current-exhibition.php) – the show, according to Mr. Harari, includes “a series of portraits taken in London in 1972, in New York in 1973 and some live photographs taken in Japan in the same year. There are also iconic images and several outtakes from the 1977 Heroes shoot, some from a trip to Kyoto, Japan, in 1980 and some more recent portraits taken between 1989 and 2002 for the promotion of the Heathen album.”

Visitors to the gallery’s promo page for this show – http://www.wallofsoundgallery.com/en/heroes–C-bowie–C-sukita-e18 – can also download a PDF brochure with more info and imagery. A master photographer teaming up with a master musician/actor/trend-setter – sounds like a great reason to visit.

g) In last month’s news summary, I had shared the details about the launch of a new exhibition (running now thru October 16th at the Manhattan Beach Art Center in Manhattan Beach, CA) titled Contemporary Post Future! The Dichotomy of Design and Art – John Van Hamersveld which features a large display of the talented designers commercial and fine art works, including a 47-panel modular black and creme-colored collage/mural JVH created. In early September, I added an update that story that included some exciting new info – on Sunday 9/11, John and Alida staged a poster sale/signing where 50% of poster sales, along with a portion of sales from the exhibit, will be donated to support the MBAC. Owners of previously-unsigned JVH prints were also able to bring their works in to be signed, with pricing for this service beginning at $40 per item and going up, depending on the item.

More information on the show can be found via this link – http://www.citymb.info/city-officials/parks-and-recreation/cultural-arts/exhibition/creative-arts-center-exhibitions#ad-image-1 and, to see more of John’s work – posters, prints, photos, murals and much more, click on over to his site at http://www.post-future.com/

h) Exhibition curator Doug Sjoquist recently put together a show featuring 50+ examples of great album art in a display that was called “The Golden Age Of Album Art” which ran through September 30th at the Keys To Creativity event gallery located in the Lansing Mall in Lansing, MI. The show was built, according to the gallery’s site, as an “exploration of the many multicultural art forms that appeared on album covers from 1967 to 1983 and greatly influenced American art and culture.” The show’s organizers enhanced the display with a lecture and music, including (on September 25th) a lecture (given by the curator and co-hosted by the Capital Area Blues Society) and concert by local blues legend Thornetta Davis that served as a fund-raiser for the Society’s Artist In Residence Program. An article in the local Citypulse Magazine served to introduce the exhibition and related events – http://lansingcitypulse.com/events/view/74121/the_golden_age_of_album_art_with_doug_sjoquist.html , with more information available on the gallery’s site at http://www.keystocreativity.net/event-gallery.html

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) The Guardian’s Dave Simpson recently published an article based on a pretty simple premise – ask a grouping of album cover artists, consisting of well-known names from the field both young and old(er), “what’s the best-designed album sleeve?” – and the results, as you might figure, are both quite insightful and surprising. You’ll hear from creatives who have 30+ years of well-regarded work, including Roger Dean, Vaughan Oliver, Peter Saville and others, as well as younger artists who’ve quickly built up strong reputations in the area such as Jonathan Barnbrook, Carson Ellis, Mr. Scot Sandler and several more. As is always the case with articles published in Europe, the article also introduces us to several artists who you (and I) were probably unfamiliar with, so it’s also rewarding to learn more about “fresh talent” who are making waves in the field.

I still find it fascinating that many of the covers held in the highest regard were created in the mid-late 1970s, a period that many consider one of album cover design’s “golden ages”…

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/sep/22/the-greatest-record-sleeves-as-chosen-by-the-designers

b) While I like to think that our site is well-respected for the quality of the reporting and access to info and interviews with the broadest range of talent working in the album art world, I have to admit that there are several other sites who display the same passion for the subject material as I do and who are also producing fine work for fans of album art and artists. One such person is Atlanta, GA-based writer Loring Kemp, whose blog Cover Our Tracks has posted several fine interviews with music industry-focused artists since it appeared on my radar several months ago.

Just posted this past week by another contributor to that site – Lara Kristin Herndon – is an interview with veteran illustrator Bob Pepper, a man who has made quite the name for himself in all areas of illustration, producing memorable artwork for clients in the music, book, game and advertising worlds. Beginning his career in the music industry in the early 1960s creating covers for Bill Harvey at Nonesuch and Elektra Records, Pepper went on to create one of the most-memorable covers of the psychedelic era – Love’s Forever Changes, released in 1967. While that one cover might be his best-known, he went on to create several dozen others for musical acts in the classical, electronic and world music genres, so it is a real treat to hear more from the artist regarding the arc of his career, his inspirations, what sort of music he prefers (one hint – it’s complicated) and his take on how digital formats have somewhat lessened the full-on album listening experience.

http://www.coverourtracks.com/single-post/2016/09/26/Bob-Pepper—The-Cover-Our-Tracks-Interview

Eager to see more from Loring & Co. as it is released…

c) Now, why exactly didn’t the record label want Metallica’s debut album to feature a bloody, hatchet-wielding hand coming out of a toilet and the title Metal Up Your Ass? Instead, fans got a slightly-toned-down record called Kill ‘Em All that featured an image that, to those with little imagination, could simply have been the result of a mistake by an apprentice carpenter (yeah, right). With a new Metallica record – one that will be titled Hardwired – due out in a couple of months, the editors at the TeamRock site revisited the story behind the band’s first album image with the band’s drummer Lars Ulrich, who waxes nostalgic for the time they almost got to really upset the PMRC (still can’t forgive Tipper for this) – http://teamrock.com/feature/2016-09-02/the-story-behind-metallica-s-kill-em-all-album-artwork-lars-ulrich-interview

d) Yes, friends, we’re all getting old(er) – this month celebrates the 25th anniversary of the release of Nirvana’s break-through 1991 recording Nevermind which featured many hit songs and one of the most-memorable album cover images of the rock era. The band had enlisted Austin, TX-based photographer Kirk Weddle, who specialized in underwater photography, to come up with the iconic “baby in a pool” shot and, in this recent audio interview/article by the CBC’s Candy Palmater, shares his recollections of the session, along with some out-takes featuring the band cavorting in the same pool – http://www.cbc.ca/radio/q/schedule-for-tuesday-september-20-2016-1.3770140/nevermind-at-25-kirk-weddle-on-shooting-nirvana-s-iconic-album-cover-1.3770143

I had the pleasure of working with Kirk a couple of years ago on a “Featured Artist Portfolio” article for the ACHOF web site that you might want to re-visit as well – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/featured-album-cover-artist-portfolio-kirk-weddle/   to see a broader selection of this talented photographer’s archives.

e) Fans of Pop Culture should enjoy this recently-posted article on The Undefeated site by Martenzie Johnson about sculptor/special-effects artist Diana Walczak and her work with art director David Coleman and the late Michael Jackson on the making of the album cover sculpture/image used on his 1995 follow-up to the huge-selling Dangerous record, an album titled Michael Jackson: HISTORY – Past, Present and Future, Book 1. Jackson, quite unhappy with the way that he was treated in the press and by his business partners, was determined to work from a position of strength going forward and felt that the best way to represent his power would be via his representation in a statue that would make Roman emperors jealous. And who better to create such an imposing representation than the artist who created the fantastic costumes and props for movies and theme park attractions including Judge Dredd, the Amazing Spider Man, X-Men and even the I-thought-for-sure-it-was-Annette-Benning robed torch-bearer who introduces productions from Columbia Pictures?

Learn all about the concepts, process and whatever happened to the several-hundred-pound sculpture that served as the basis for the imposing photo found on the record, with details available via the link at  http://theundefeated.com/features/cover-stories-the-album-and-cd-cover-for-michael-jacksons-1995-history-past-present-and-future-book-i/

f) Tommy Bishop book release/profile article – see item in Section 4

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) Related to the article in Section 2 about Kirk Weddle’s photos from the Nevermind session, the Austin, TX gallery that displays Weddle’s work – the Modern Rocks Gallery – is offering reduced shipping charges (as low as $1!) for both domestic and international collectors who purchase one or more of the images from this special collection. To see what’s available, click on over to the gallery’s site via this link – http://www.modernrocksgallery.com/shop-nirvana-nevermind/

b) Many of you will instantly-recognize the photos – album covers, portraits and behind-the-scenes shots – of photographer James Fortune (his 1974 shot of a semi-mutilated Iggy Pop in a performance at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go that was used on the cover of Mr. Pop’s California Bleeding LP remains one of my favorites), so I was pleased to see that Modern Rocks Gallery now also counts him as one of their artists and has added his works to their permanent collection, with signed, limited-edition prints from his archive now available for sale there.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Fortune a number of years ago about “the making of” the Iggy Pop cover – http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2007/07/cover-story—i.html  As I noted back then, “beginning as a photographer for his college paper in the late ’60s, Fortune spent more than a decade photographing rock music icons like The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Doors, Paul McCartney, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, and countless others. His catalog of over 15,000 images from the tumultuous ’60s and ’70s contains shots of everything from hippie riots in Hollywood to Gene Simmons and Cher sharing an eclair.” The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has over 150 of Fortune’s shots in their permanent collection, so I’d invite collectors looking to add something both historic and visually exciting to their collection to check out this new offering on the Modern Rocks Gallery site at http://www.modernrocksgallery.com/james-fortune-photographer

c) The spirit of Max’s Kansas City, the NYC nightclub opened in 1965 by the late Mickey Ruskin which served as an unofficial meeting place for a veritable “who’s who” of the city’s Pop Culture icons of the time, continues to live and breathe via the efforts of Mickey’s wife Yvonne and her Max’s Kansas City Foundation. The non-profit has continued on in its efforts to support those in the arts who might need help with housing, medical services and/or legal aid via one-time grants, with friends of the organization continuing their support of the organization via a series of fund-raising auction such as the one that took place (ending September 21st) with the help of Foundation partner Paddle8. Still viewable online at https://paddle8.com/auction/maxs-kansas-city/ , the recent auction included a whole host of items donated by music and art-industry stalwarts including photographer George DuBose (who donated a wonderful shot used on the cover of TooTought To Die by the Ramones; an awesome portrait byMick Rock of singer Freddie Mercury; a print of Elliott Landy’s infrared photo of Bob Dylan taken outside his home in Woodstock; a portrait by Dezo Hoffman of the late Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones; Bob Gruen’s photo tribute to Max’s KC; Roberta Bayley stunning portrait of punk icon Richard Hell and Richard Aaron’s shot of music-makers Patti Smith and Lou Reed.

Also on offer was an Alice Cooper-signed Welcome To My Nightmare litho (with art by Drew Struzan); Ramones logo designer Arturo Vega’s art print titled “Porn Is The New Rock” and a print titled 30 Years of Punk Rock by Laurence Gartel, the digital artist who taught Andy Warhol how to use a personal computer (an Amiga, in case you were wondering). Collectors were also able to bid on (as detailed on the auction site) “Kate Pierson’s outfit from the B52’s Orgasmic Tour, the Max’s banner from the tv series “Life On Mars” signed by the cast, a dress prototype designed by Tiger Morse, the high priestess of fashion, Joe Jackson’s electric piano and sax used on several of his tours and so much more.” While you might be a bit too late to participate in the auction, you can certainly lend your support to the organization’s ongoing efforts via a secure donation on their web site – http://maxskansascity.org/

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) Baltimore, MD-based designer/writer Darius Wilmore is going to be releasing a new book meant to illustrate just how important “the visuals” have been to the success of artists in the rap/hip-hop world, helping those making the music better-establish their unique personas and better bond with their fans. The book, titled StereoTyped: Hip-Hop’s Unsung Graphic Design Heroes, Heroines, and the Oral and Visual Histories of the Rap Record (1979-1988), will be published next year by Full Circle Press and is the print version of Wilmore’s popular blog by the same name.

Writing for The Shadow League sports site, reporter Erica Blount Danois celebrates the recent anniversary of the first Sugar Hill Gang (“Rapper’s Delight”) record with this interview in which she talks to Wilmore about that record’s famous “candy cane” logo, his time working as part of Def Jam’s marvelous in-house design studio (Drawing Board Graphic Design), the effort it has taken him to complete his book (which I can personally attest to!) and how, without mainstream TV/radio distribution, rap and hip-hop album covers served to introduce the genre to audiences world-wide.

https://www.theshadowleague.com/story/stereo-typed-a-journey-of-hip-hop-cover-art

b) I recently had the pleasure of adding a new book to the ACHOF’s Resources section that’s due out next month and which focuses on the huge array of photographic talent who have contributed to the promotion and sales of music by our favorite acts. The soon-to-be-released new album art book -titled Total Records: Photography and the Art of the Album Cover, published by photo collective Aperture – will feature over 400 covers that were built around the photo and art directing talents of esteemed artists including David Bailey, Anton Corbijn, Robert Frank, Nan Goldin, Jean-Paul Goude, Brian Griffin, Danny Lyon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Martin Parr, Irving Penn, Cindy Sherman, Pennie Smith, Andy Warhol, Albert Watson and many, many more.

The book’s editors are certainly well-credentialed to have put together such a comprehensive tome on the subject – Antoine de Beaupré is the founder of Paris bookstore/publishing house Librarie 213/Edition 213; Sam Stourdzé, the director of the well-regarded French photography festival Les Rencontres d’Arles and art/entertainment writer Serge Vincendet. It also includes text by music journalist Jacques Denis as well as an interview with photographer and music video director Jean-Baptiste Mondino (who shot the controversial cover of a naked Prince for his Lovesexy release in 1988).

There’s a travelling art show built around the book that was recently (thru October 2nd) on display at Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center’s exhibition titled “Total Records – The Great Adventure of Album Cover Photography” – more info at http://capacenter.hu/en/kiallitasok/total-records-2/  . The show opened this past June at the Center in Budapest, Hungary and will soon be moving on to two more venues, the first being a display at the C/O Berlin Foundation (from December 3, 2016–February 5, 2017) and then on to the Kunsthal Rotterdam (February 24–June 4, 2017).

c) A popular book on album cover art has just been updated – The Greatest Album Covers Of All Time, first released in 2008 produced by music writers Barry Miles and Johnny Morgan and art director Grant Scott and published by Collins & Brown – will be re-released in early October. Same name, new and updated. According to the publishers, “with the resurgence of vinyl, album cover art is as important as ever. This visually sumptuous book brings together 275 of the greatest album covers of all time. arranged chronologically, beginning in 1956. A 50-strong panel of judges—including designers, musicians, producers, and record company executives—made the final selection, and their reasons accompany the photographs. From rock ‘n’ roll to pop, R&B to jazz, punk, blues, and even folk, the covers include both classics and less well-known works, and every one made an impact, either artistically, stylistically, or culturally. Music fans will enjoy looking back at their favorites and debating the selection.” The book’s been updated to include new album covers that have tantalized our eyes during the past eight years. Look for it at your favorite book-seller on the Pavillion/Collins & Brown imprint. 272 pages, hardcover. ISBN-13: 978-1910231982

d) Having built up a strong reputation for his slightly-strange designs for indie bands including The Unawares, Boo Hag, the Transylvania Rats and Los Perdidos, artist/illustrator Tommy Bishop, after relocating from Spartanburg, SC to my most-recent stomping grounds (Portland, OR – we must have passed each other on I-80, unless of course he took I-90), returned to South Carolina the weekend of September 17th-18th to celebrate the launch party for his new kid’s book titled The Incredibly Strange ABCs. Wanting to create something for his young daughter, Bishop has designed and illustrated a book where each letter of the alphabet is represented by a character that is, if I might say, a lot less like Dr. Seuss and a lot more like Ed Roth’s “Rat Fink” (e.g., “A” features Albert Appleworm, a creature who “absolutely adores accounting”).

Writing for The State (Columbia, SC) web site, Erin Shaw’s article serves to introduce you to the artist and this event (party and reading/book-signing on Sunday, September 18th at Tapp’s Art Center) – http://www.thestate.com/entertainment/local-events/article101736597.html with up-to-the-minute details via the event’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/events/176405956098437/

e) While I’ve already shared information on the new Bowie-focused show now on display at photographer Guido Harari’s Wall of Sound Gallery in Italy, I also wanted to point out that Guido himself is soon to release a new, limited-edition book of photos of one of his favorite subjects, the very talented (and photogenic) singer Kate Bush (that will be titled The Kate Inside), which got its own gallery show this past month in London at the Art Bermondsey Project Space. According to the press release I received, “the show will open on Sept. 13 until Sept. 30 and will be bigger and very different from Guido’s 2014 exhibition at Snap Galleries. It will feature over 50 images, classic and unseen, available for purchase in different sizes.” The Kate Inside limited edition book will also be available and, as part of the festivities surrounding the book’s release, on September 16th there was a special Q&A event at the gallery featuring famed actor/mime (and teacher of the craft to both Mr. Bowie and Ms. Bush) Lindsay Kemp on a panel with Guido, choreographer Stewart Avon Arnold, musician Del Palmer and others.

With over 300 photos included, the hard-bound, 240-page book will be published in two signed/numbered editions – a “Regular Edition” of 1150 copies  along with 350 copies of a “Deluxe Edition”, with this special version also signed by Mr. Kemp, adding more value to any collector/fan of Ms. Bush-related imagery. You can read more and order your copy of this fascinating photo collection on Harari’s site via the link at http://www.wallofsoundgallery.com/en/the-kate-inside-by-guido_harari/the-kate-inside.php

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Space – the final frontier…who’d have thought that album art would be one of the ways that Man would choose to introduce us to civilizations “out there”? Some of you will recall the “Voyager Golden Record” package that astronomer Carl Sagan, along with a team that included writers Timothy Ferris and Ann Druyan, artists Jon Lomberg and Linda Salzman Sagan and astronomer/SETI pioneer Frank Drake (who served as the technical director), assembled in order to present “strange new civilizations” with evidence of our intelligence (this was, luckily for us, before we had recordings from this year’s elections). Now, 40 years later, a trio of enterprising (sorry) entrepreneurs, including noted album cover designer Lawrence Azerrad, have teamed with Ozma Records to embark on a Kickstarter-based project that will produce, for us mortals, a package we can own and treasure that is being called the record’s 40th Anniversary Edition.

Supporting the project at the $98 level entitles you to what’s called the “Voyager Golden Record Box Set” which includes, according to the project’s Kickstarter page, a cloth-covered box with gold foil inlay, three translucent gold, heavyweight vinyl LPs in poly-lined paper sleeves, three old-style tip-on jackets (black ink and gold foil), a hardback full-color book, a 12″ x 12″ lithograph of the Voyager Golden Record cover diagram (printed in gold metallic ink on archival paper), a full-color plastic digital download card that includes all audio from the Voyager Golden Record (MP3 or FLAC formats) and, recently added, a high-quality enamel pin of the Golden Record diagram and a custom turntable slipmat featuring NASA/JPL-Caltech’s heliocentric view of the Voyager spacecrafts’ trajectories across the solar system. Supporting the project at lower levels also entitles you to items including the pin, the download card and/or the litho, so if you’d like to learn more about the project and reserve one for yourself (I did!), click on over to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ozmarecords/voyager-golden-record-40th-anniversary-edition

The folks from the record label have also posted a recent BBC interview (on Soundcloud) with the original designer of the Golden Record – Jon Lomberg – which you can listen to via this link – https://soundcloud.com/user-482195982/interview-with-jon-lomberg?

b) It’s been weeks since we’ve seen a tribute to David Bowie’s impact on the entertainment world, but after reading this recent posting by Jacob Brookman for the British Journal of Photography’s site titled “Deconstructing The Iconography Of David Bowie”, one built around his research and discussions with people there to document the musician/actor/artist’s various transformations over the years, I thought that it’d be a good way to fire up your end-of-the-week brain cells before your weekend activities thoroughly left you in mindless states. You’ll learn more from Bowie insider Mick Rock, whose book The Rise of David Bowie, 1972-1973 serves to give us a unique view of an artist just starting up the ultimately huge curve of his influence on music, fashion, sexual identity and Pop Culture in general. They were young, influential and, quite evidently, taking large quantities of banned substances but, oh the artwork they produced…

http://www.bjp-online.com/2016/09/deconstructing-the-iconography-of-david-bowie/

c) As a lead in to a promo for the newly-released edition of one of the more-comprehensive album art books available to fans of the category (i.e., The Greatest Album Covers Of All Time, produced by music writers Barry Miles and Johnny Morgan and art director Grant Scott and discussed in detail in the previous section), The Telegraph (U.K.)’s music critic, Neil McCormick, asks and attempts to answer the question “Did Digital Kill The Album Sleeve” – reminisces about stand out work over the past 60+ years in various categories, citing examples of works he liked in each (Sgt. Peppers, The Basement Tapes by Dylan & The Band, London Calling by The Clash, etc.) but then, without providing us with a “why”, he goes on to lament that ” the golden era of album art is long gone and, despite the many benefits of digital music, something important has been lost”, completing his thought by stating that “… the finest (musicians and album art producers) feed off each other to create something that could belong in a museum as much as on a turntable. And a museum, sadly, is where album cover art is heading…”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/music/what-to-listen-to/from-david-bowie-to-pink-floyd-the-lost-art-of-the-album-cover/

d) During the recent New York Art Book Fair in NYC, the famed Gagosian Gallery hosted a rather unique activity (for a book fair, that is) in their display space at the Museum of Modern Art’s PS1 space – a completely-operational tattoo parlor, offering specially-commissioned designs from a slate of established artists, including one each from two figures well-known in the music world – Genesis Bayer P-Orridge, whose album cover credits include Psychic TV’s Tekno Acid Beat; City Ov Paris and Cold Blue Torch for The Origin Of The Species; Prurient’s Wrapped In The Flame Of Illusion, Masked In The Clay Of Behavior and the artist’s own recording (Spatial Memory); and Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon. Music fans may not be aware of Gordon’s background in the visual arts – a graduate of LA’s Otis College of Art & Design, Gordon worked as a art writer, gallery curator and a popular fine artist, creating multi-media works that often combined visuals and live music. Books built around her work as an artist include 2005’s a personal photo collection titled Kim Gordon Chronicles Vol. 1 and 2006’s Kim Gordon Chronicles Vol. 2which featured her drawings, collages, and paintings. Gagosian hosted a show at their gallery in London of her work in 2013 called “The Show Is Over” – a fitting title considering that her band broke up in 2011 after 30 years together… Artsy’s Casey Lesser shares the details around the tattoo event in her recent article – https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-limited-edition-art-meets-skin-at-gagosian-s-tattoo-parlor

e) Previously posted as a “quickie” news update on 9/22/16 – The designer for the record packaging for one of the recent past’s most-memorably-titled albums – Evan Christ’s 2011 release Everything Is Boring & Everyone Is A F__king Liar – spoke to attendees at the Cover Club’s September 23rd get-together at the Ace Hotel in London. Graphic artist David Rudnick (not to be confused with hardcore American punk rocker David Rudnik of Kungfu Rick and Get Rad fame) lead a discussion during which, according to the event’s promo, he discussed “his experiences creating covers for labels such as Man Make Music Phantasy and Boysnoize Records, his creative process and approach to working in the industry.”

https://www.acehotel.com/calendar/london/cover-club-presents-conversation-david-rudnick?ct=t(dr_cover_club9_5_2016)

Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/events/317714025230817/?active_tab=highlights

You can learn more about Mr. Rudnick and his work on his web site at http://davidrudnick.org/

f) When the brand name for an item (e.g., Xerox or Kleenex) or activity (Googling) becomes mainstream, marketers can pat themselves on the back for having reached the pinnacle of their professions. Such is also the case with “Sleeveface”, an activity formally introduced back in 2007 by John Rostron and Carl Morris in the U.K. where participants submit photos where one key element within the shot is built around an LP cover image. The duo went on to host a popular site and publish a book of their favorite examples of creative “sleevefacing” and, nearly 10 years later, the activity continues to attract more creative types to show us their most-imaginative work.

In a recent article by Daniel Peters for the Bandwagon site, you’ll meet a DJ from Singapore named Robin Chua (AKA “KiDG”) who has created a nice portfolio of these images and, in order to inspire others to join in, released a video guide showing how you can create your own masterpieces. Unfortunately, rights restrictions make it hard/impossible for those of us in the U.S. to see the video, but the article includes a number of photos of KiDG’s work and, of course, if my readers outside the U.S. would care to share what they see in the video with us, we can all be better-informed – https://www.bandwagon.asia/articles/sleeveface-or-bringing-your-vinyl-record-sleeves-to-life

g) After attending both the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design and the Maryland Institute College of Art in the early 1970s before dropping out to pursue his musical ambitions, David Byrne’s love of art and music remained strong (after all, he teamed up with fellow RISD student Chris Frantz and others to form the Talking Heads soon after) and he played a very hands-on role in the band’s album packaging/imagery going forward, with the band winning two Grammy Awards for “Best Album Art” (although they never won a Grammy for their music!) and collections of his own artwork later being featured in books and museum/gallery exhibitions.

Byrne has also forged relationships with other notables in the art world throughout his career, so it was with great interest that I read this recent posting by editor Abigail Cain on the Artsy.com site about Byrne’s discovery of the trend-setting works by Robert Rauschenberg and then collaborating with the artist on a very special, limited-edition pressing of the band’s 1983 record Speaking In Tongues. While the retail version of the record featured a simple-yet-pleasing design by Bryne himself, one of the limited-edition (1000 copies) versions – hand-signed by both Byrne and Rauschenberg and which sold for $100 – quickly became a must-have collectible. You can read all of the details via the link –https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-the-story-behind-robert-rauschenberg-s-iconic-talking-heads-album-cover?

A recent check on Ebay finds one of these available for only $4999.00…

h) My old friend and hip-hop founding father Rocky Bucano sent out an email on September 8th that I wanted to share with you all as I am a believer in his cause (setting up an institution – the Universal Hip Hop Museum – that will provide a proper home/platform for the preservation and sharing of the history, including an impressive and impactful one in graphic design and photography, of this truly American music genre. As Rocky puts it, “this has been an amazing year for development of the Universal Hip Hop Museum because of the support of our partners, advisors, board members, staff and supporters around the world. The Universal Hip Hop Museum has moved from a grand idea, to a viable concept, and now to a real business with an important mission that has been embraced by Hip Hop pioneers, collectors, business leaders, politicians, developers etc. ”

Rocky continues – “Yesterday, Forbes Magazine published the annual “Cash Kings” list of Hip Hop’s richest artists. A special documentary Bronx To Billions – Forbes Guide To Hip Hop History was produced by Zack Greenburg and Timothy Pierson to spotlight the role of the Bronx and its Hip Hop pioneers who were instrumental in giving birth to the world’s most popular music and culture.  The documentary emphasizes the importance and reasons for the establishment of a cultural institution and repository that is dedicated to documenting, preserving and celebrating the history of Hip Hop…  I invite you to watch the Forbes documentary Bronx to Billions and offer your support of the Universal Hip Hop Museum with a monetary contribution and by sharing this film with other people to make them aware of the UHHM mission.”

You can watch the film online via the link – http://youtu.be/sTzy3cjj0l4 – and be sure to subscribe to the UHHM video channel.  As I’ve shared with you in previous coverage of Rocky’s efforts to establish a Hip Hop museum in the Bronx, NY within the next few years (and, in the effort, help transform the area’s economy)  Also according to Rocky, “several major announcements will be made next month about new partnerships and exciting development plans for the museum,” so I’ll be sure to share them as they become available. In the meantime, you can visit his site at www.uhhm.org or follow them in the Twitterverse at  @uhhmuseum

i) It’s just smart marketing, if you ask me…Home lifestyle/furnishings retailer Crate & Barrel has just announced a new collection – furniture, shelving and related items – that seem perfectly-targeted a we old-timers who once had a special “listening room” where we’d shelve, protect and enjoy our vinyl LP collections. While video-focused “home theaters” have replaced the music rooms of the past, the resurgence of the popularity among some of a more-passive listening/enjoying experience can now be accommodated via this offering called, appropriately, “The Listening Room”. Not only can you buy some comfy chairs and sturdy shelving, but you can also add to your collections by selecting one of the 75 remastered vinyl records from Capital Records (from Sinatra and Garland to Sam Smith and Katy Perry) priced from $19.95 to $24.95 and play them on/through the $379.00 Orbit Turntable/pre-amp coupled to your choice of a $249.00 pair of Audioengine speakers or a $299.00 set of Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) wireless headphones. Of course, no setting would be complete without a small grouping of nicely-framed album covers and, as you might figure, C&B offers two nice frames for your 12 x 12 works of art.

I particularly like the grouping shown on http://www.crateandbarrel.com/decorating-and-accessories/turntable-accessories/1 (Beatles, Beach Boys, Nora Jones, etc.) and the nice-looking cordial set nearby (a requirement for serious listening). See more of the collection at http://www.crateandbarrel.com/special-features/music-listening-room/1

j) Nominees were just announced for the talent to be considered in one of the six categories (architecture, digital, fashion, graphics, product and transport) featured in the 9th annual Beazley Designs of the Year awards sponsored by The Design Museum in London, UK, with one of the nominees in the graphics category being designer Jonathan Barnbrook’s iridescent cover for what turned out to be the final album released by the late David Bowie, titled Blackstar.

According to the museum’s press on the nominations, the “Beazley Designs of the Year celebrates design that promotes or delivers change, enables access, extends design practice or captures the spirit of the year.”

In a year where we’re seeing corporate sponsorship re-labeling stadiums/events in ways that some would consider  “not quite right” (e.g., the new name for Sox Park in Chicago becoming “Guaranteed Rate Field”, just one degree less silly than Save-On Foods Stadium in Vancouver or KFC Yum! Center in Kentucky), of course I was curious as to who “Beazley” was. It turns out to be a large, multi-faceted insurance company who, according to their CEO Andrew Horton, chose to claim naming rights to this competition “to celebrate the role that great design plays in all our lives. At Beazley, we are committed to offering beautifully designed insurance to our clients around the world.” Whoo boy.

Read more about this year’s awards in Elizabeth Roberts’ recent posting on the MailOnline.com site – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3767120/David-Bowie-s-final-album-cover-joins-flat-pack-refugee-shelters-drinkable-book-shortlist-year-s-Design-Awards.html   and, to see and learn more about all of the nominees, click on over to the museum’s site at https://designmuseum.org/exhibitions/future-exhibitions/beazley-designs-of-the-year

That’s all for now – look for updates every week (typically, on a Friday) on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back early next month with another summary for you.

All text Copyright 2016 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.