ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE, 2017, WITH PREVIEWS FOR JULY, 2017.
Greetings to you all on this last day of June, 2017. Hope you’ve all had a nice Spring-to-Summer transition and that your plans for the next month include time to take advantage of some of the best of what the world has to offer – trips to the shore, family visits, attending a game or two of your favorite sport, eating great food and stopping by your favorite gallery or museum to see what’s on display there. I’m happy to provide you with the details of what’s showing in the Shows/Exhibitions summary that follows.
Of course, I’d have hoped that the last month’s schedule would have allowed me to make great progress on my book, but Life sometimes steps in and decides that your time is best spent in some other fashion (those of you involved in the care of an elderly person know what I’m talking about), so while I didn’t get 85% of the things done which I’d planned, I did get some additional content for the book from notables including photographer/designer/chef/man in a van Ed Caraeff, designer James Faulkner and author/historian/educator Dr. Jennifer Otter Bickerdike, among others, so if I ever get this book done, I know that album art/artist fans will most-surely enjoy what’s included.
In this month’s summary, you’ll find both a helpful recap of last month’s stories about the designers, artists, photographers and others who continue to produce great visuals for clients in the music business along with previews of what’s going to be on display and in-stores next month. As always. you’ll find that the galleries, publishers, curators, etc. who support and promote these works continue on with their quests unabated, and it continues to be my pleasure to be able to share the details about what they do with you and whoever you choose to share this information with. In the summary and via the links provided, you’ll learn more about the escapades and triumphs of your favorite (and soon-to-be-favorite) examples of album cover art/artistry that I’ve found in the daily news cycle, featuring stories of great interest and fascination delivered via the articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information you’ll find written on a wide range of related topics.
Once again, I urge you to please share this info with everyone you know who are fans of great album cover-related talent and, of course, your comments and feedback are quite welcome.
1) Upcoming, recently-launched/CuRRENTLY-RUNNING and just-closed show/exhibitions –
a) Here’s a reminder about the Gered Mankowitz/Rolling Stones photo show in Paris up now through the 22nd of July at the Photo12 Galerie on Rue des Jardins Saint-Paul. It’s called “Gered Mankowitz, The Rolling Stones Backstage” and, according to the gallery’s press, the images included in this show were “taken at the height of their early British fame and during their fourth American tour, the exhibition and book feature a combination of iconic material and previously unpublished images.
Gered was with the band constantly between ’65-’67 and this unique collection of photographs offers an intimate insight into the personalities of the Rolling Stones as they became world famous. He became part of the Stones’ inner circle and was treated as another member of the band. This gave him complete and unrestricted access to their on and offstage life.”
Album art images that are included in the show include the covers for Out of Our Heads and Between the Buttons. Some of the many covers credited to Gered also include – The Nice – Ars Longa…; Ultravox – Ultravox!; ABC – Lexicon of Love and Jimi Hendrix – The Ultimate Experience.
As you might hope, there’s a corresponding, limited-edition exhibition catalog/book also available, highlighting these shots (including many never-before-published) taken early on and also during their 4th tour of America. The 96-page photo album is beautifully printed and comes in a slip case with photos front and back.
I’d invite you to first read an Intro article by the editors of L’Oeil de la Photographie –http://www.loeildelaphotographie.com/en/2017/06/01/article/159953880/lintimite-des-rolling-stones-par-gered-mankowitz/ and then head on over to the gallery’s site for more – http://www.galerie-photo12.com
b) I rarely get to report on album art shows in the Asia/Pacific part of the world but, due to the availability of an article by Yukari Tanaka on the Japan Times site and the miracle that is Google Translate, I can now share some information about such a show now on display in Japan – KIT: Popular Music Collection — Exhibition of Album Art is currently on display (now through July 23rd) at the Kanazawa Institute of Technology, Grand Front Osaka, Knowledge Capital Event Lab.
According to the Museum’s introduction to this exhibition (unedited, so do your best) – “We will hold an exhibition entitled “Record Exhibition that Changed the World” this time. Following the history of “popular music” from the collection of 240 thousand records held by Kanazawa Institute of Technology will reconsider how the 20th century was creative. Please enjoy the unexpected dream trip that will lead to the future. In this exhibition, you can see about 5,000 record jackets… In addition, seven <installation booth> which close up important events in the history of popular music, you can experience the moment that changed the world.”
In other words, based on the photos of the show, it looks like they have set up a 50 meter-long chronology of world events and super-imposed important album art images to help illustrate what was happening in the world when these albums were released.
In Japanese, with English section titles – http://www.kanazawa-it.ac.jp/record/
Article on the Japan Times site – http://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2017/06/27/arts/openings-outside-tokyo/kit-popular-music-collection-exhibition-album-art/
c) Part of the Manchester (UK) International Festival that’s kicking off today is an art exhibition titled True Faith that’s been built around the images of – and those inspired by – the talented artists who created the trend-setting album cover and promo imagery for Factory Records, lead by the iconic works done by designer Peter Saville, of which 14 images are included in this display.
Here’s a link to the recent Intro article in The Guardian featuring comments from show co-curator Jon Savage, who selects some of his favorites – https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/jun/27/factory-outlet-the-art-inspired-by-joy-division-and-new-order-ian-curtis
Saville’s favorite, as he relates in this interview by reporter Lucy Lovell found on the Manchester Evening News site, is Power, Corruption and Lies, the cover he produced in 1983 for New Order that’s based on French artist Ignace Henri Fantin-Latour’s 1890 oil painting titled A Basket of Roses after purchasing a postcard of the painting during a visit to The National Gallery… http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/iconic-joy-division-new-order-13206204
More info on the exhibition and other MIF events can be found at http://mif.co.uk/mif17-events/true-faith/
d) South Africa’s oldest newspaper, The Herald, just published an article about a recently-ended (but extended a short while in another location) album cover art show featuring over 60 years worth of cover artwork for musical acts from the region. A group of local designers and collectors curated the show, titled “SA Musical Graphics & Collectibles” and, according to the article, “this exhibition of 150 CD and album covers will take you on a nostalgic stroll down musical memory lane, from Arthur to Zonke, from Juluka to Savuka, from Springbok Hit Parade to the Springbok Nude Girls and plenty more in between.”
While I personally have next to no knowledge about the South African music/design scenes (although I have seen Ladysmith Black Mambazo in concert 5-6 times – thanks, Paul Simon), I’m sure that this would have been an interesting show to see and learn more from.
e) As fate would have it, now that I no longer live in Portland, OR, one of the most-talented PDX-based designers was the subject of a new show that was held there recently and, as such, I wasn’t able to attend it in person but, according to the artist, the smart collectors back there swooped in and bought everything that was not nailed down, so while the show was scheduled to be running through early August, it’s now just a whisp of a memory…. The gallery that’s part of the East Side’s ultra-hip Jupiter Hotel complex was the temporary home of the aforementioned show by “the thinking man’s artist” and rock poster/album artist extraordinaire Emek, the Israeli-born artist and guy responsible for the surrealistic covers for records by artists including Erykah Badu, Neil Young, Bad Religion, Blue Cheer, Los Lonely Boys, Henry Rollins and many others.
https://jupiterhotel.com/artist-emek-first-friday-june-2/ for a recap and https://emek.net/ for the latest on this talented man’s career.
f) Genesis Publishing, responsible for some of the most-bautiful music art/photo-related collectible books made available to collectors, recently staged a gallery show in Soho, London to celebrate the release of their 100th edition. From Friday, June 16th to Sunday the 18th (including a reception on the 17th), company staffers moved in to the Elms Lesters Painting Rooms to set up an impressive exhibition of “prints, books, and rarities spanning our four decades of publishing. Running across two floors, the show will include many of our authors and artists, including: Jeff Beck, Mick Fleetwood, George Harrison, Sir George Martin, Yoko Ono, Jimmy Page, Lou Reed, Ringo Starr, Sir Jackie Stewart, Klaus Voormann, Paul Weller, Ronnie Wood and many more.”
Audiophile Man Paul Rigby just published an overview of exhibit on his site that gives you all of the details – http://theaudiophileman.com/george-exh/
g) It’s not often that I can share images I’ve taken of a show, but now that I live “in the big city” (Chicago) and one that has several world-class art establishments, I’m pleased to include some shots I took at the Takashi Murakami Exhibition at MOCA in Chicago, including several of the original works of art that were used in the packaging of Kanye West’s Graduation I was really taken by the scope of the artist’s work, but my day was made when I entered a room to find the “Dropout Bear” sculpture and the several oil paintings used on Graduation‘s packaging. As someone whose career included a stint in the animation business, it’s always fun to see the works of an artist whose own works reflect the cartoon world’s impact on his/her own creativity… Writing for the Chicago Tribune, reporter Audrey Gorden takes a look at the show and provides a lot of background into the relationship between two distinctive creative personalities and how they worked together (for nearly 3 years!) to achieve a milestone in contemporary album cover packaging – http://www.chicagotribune.com/redeye/culture/ct-redeye-murakami-exhibit-mca-chicago-20170605-story.html
Dropout Bear Sculpture (AKA “Kanye Bear, 2009”)
Graduation Cover Painting (2009)
h) Given the opportunity to showcase 25 of your favorite rock music-related images in a gallery setting, which ones would you choose? In a show called “The Music Seen: Beyond the Stage” now running in the St. Louis, MO area through July 14th, an admitted “photography addict” – Jeff Appel – has given visitors a lot of great imagery to absorb. According to Robert Bullivant, proprietor of the gallery where the 25 photos – most in B&W and sized at 11″ x 14″ – are currently on display, the show is “a unique opportunity to show some of the best-known musical artists in both their onstage as well as offstage moments, as captured in a documentative style by some very talented photographers – a combination of performance art and visual art, if you will, but also considering the human side, meaning sure, these were famous musicians, but they’re people, too.”
Here’s a show intro as provided in the local Ladue News – http://www.laduenews.com/arts-and-culture/features/new-bullivant-gallery-exhibit-showcases-years-of-musicians/article_d59eb885-4c20-5a43-bd1d-7828073d608b.html
i) Writing for the Kent Online site, Angela Cole gives us the details of a recent show at the Chappell Contemporary Art Gallery featuring the works of local and international art legend Sir Peter Blake, one of the noted designers whose work helped create some of the lasting images from 1967’s Summer of Love. In addition to the show, visitors to the area were given the opportunity to ride a Blake-decorated double-decker “art bus” – http://www.kentonline.co.uk/whats-on/news/dartford-born-sgt-pepper-album-cover-godfather-exhibits-in-whitstable-127036/
j) Another reminder to folks travelling through scenic Italy this summer – be sure to stop in at the Wall of Sound Gallery in Alba to look through the two exhibitions photographer/gallerist Guido Harari has up for your enjoyment – Stone Free, an exhibition of mid-1960s psychedelic posters, featuring the best-known practitioners of the form at the time, including Mouse & Kelley, Rick Griffin, Martin Sharp, John Van Hamersveld, Wes Wilson, Milton Glaser and many, many others. You’ll also see these artists’ works on album art for The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Cream, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Frank Zappa and more. Available for viewing through September 10th, Stone Free also includes a photo show with works by Ed Caraeff, Herb Greene, Art Kane, Jim Marshall and Bob Seidemann, with an illustrated catalog available to take home as well.
Also on display at the Fondazione Bottari Lattes in nearby Monforte d’Alba is Harari’s Wall of Sound 10 tenth anniversary exhibition that’s been built around fine art portraits – some in blue, on aluminum – of some of the many famed musical acts Guido has had the privilege to photograph over the years, including David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Bob Marley and dozens of others. This show will be available for viewing now through September 2nd before moving on to Spazio Don Chisciotte, in Turin, Italy from October 26th to December 24th. More info on these shows is available at http://www.wallofsoundgallery.com/en/exhibitions.php
k) Proud Gallery (UK) is soon launching a show of photos by Michael Joseph that were taken during the 1968 photo sessions for the Rolling Stones’ controversial Beggar’s Banquet. Most of us will remeber the outrage seen when the record was ultimately released in December of that year (after being initially rejected by the record company and banned in some areas) with a cover shot by Barry Feinstein (design by Tom Wilkes) that featured a graffiti-covered bathroom wall. According to this recent release on PhotographyBlog.com, these photos – used on the inside of the gatefold sleeve – were ”shot on location at the Gothic studio of Sarum Chase, Hampstead and the derelict ruins of Swarkestone in Derbyshire.” These atmospheric images, elaborately staged and including real animals and the band participating in a Medieval feast (were any animals harmed in the making of these shots?), completed the package, and you’ll find a number of photos from these sessions on display (and for sale) during this show, which runs through the end of July.
More info on the show is available on the gallery’s site – https://www.proudonline.co.uk/exhibitions
l) The Fine Arts division of the UTA talent agency, launched in 2015, is participating in its first art fair by putting on a display of “rebel artists of the past 30 years”, lead by art by the late Nirvana songwriter/guitarist Kurt Cobain. Paintings by Cobain, including one used for the album cover for the band’s Insecticide collection, along with other works by Mike Kelley, Raymond Pettibon and others, will be shown during next month’s (Aug. 3rd thru 6th) Seattle Art Fair, with details on the upcoming show and, perhaps, a larger exhibition to come, covered in this recent article Eileen Kinsella on the ArtNet News site – https://news.artnet.com/market/kurt-cobain-artwork-to-get-star-treatment-at-seattle-art-fair-1009391?
2) Artist interviews/profile articles –
a) Over on The Undefeated site, Miss Rosen brings us an interesting interview with photographer Michael Lavine about his photo shoot in January, 1997, which resulted in the cover for Biggie Smalls/Notorious B.I.G.’s 1997 record Life After Death – https://theundefeated.com/features/notorious-big-life-after-death-album-cover/
I always hesitate using the word “shot” when talking about a photo session and, in this case, it’s particularly germane as the subject of the photo was, in fact, shot to death a short time after the photo, which certainly seems prescient in hindsight, was taken at the Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY. Lavine’s story about the entire project is an interesting-but-eerie read.
b) Century City News Pop Music and Film reporter Keith Chagall shares a recent interview with Henry Diltz re: the making of a number of different record covers, including those for Crosby, Stills & Nash, the Eagles, The Monkees, James Taylor and Mama Cass Elliott, who Diltz refers to fondly as the “Gertrude Stein of Laurel Canyon” – http://centurycityview.org/celluloid-picasso-of-laurel-canyon-p852-176.htm
c) While not specifically an article about an album artist, designer and partner in the well-respected Pentagram design agency Angus Hyland is featured in this recent video interview on the Design Week web site during which he shares the fact that his love of the work people did on the album covers he was exposed to during his childhood ultimately inspired his choice of careers – https://www.designweek.co.uk/issues/15-21-may-2017/angus-hyland-record-sleeves-reason-ended-graphic-design/
The interview is presented as a part of the publication’s “Design Week at 30” series and was conducted by Aimée McLaughlin
d) While Sepultura’s guitarist Andreas Kisser was scouring the Web for inspiration for the band’s most-recent album release – a record titled Machine Massiah – he came across the work of Filipina visual artist Camille dela Rosa, whose paintings seemed to perfectly reflect the album’s concepts. Kisser then reached out through a representative of San Miguel Corporation (which sponsored the band’s show in Manila last year) and, as though it was Kismet, a deal was struck for the band to use dela Rosa’s painting (titled “Deux ex Machina” and inspired by her love and respect of the work of the late surrealist H.R. Giger) on the record’s cover. A former singer herself, Camille was known to local audiences after she had appeared on the long-running Ang TV youth-oriented variety series on ABS-CBN Filipino TV) before switching her career path to painting.
A recent article on the ABS-CBN site by Rick Olivares shares the exciting story of how this match made in Heaven all came about –
3) Sales/Auctions –
a) The most-recent Heritage Entertainment Auction (held in mid-June) included the original artwork presented by artist Alton Kelley as an alternate scheme for the 1970 Big Brother & The Holding Company Be A Brother LP, the band’s first record after singer Janis Joplin left for a solo career. The 14″ square item, made from a photo of the band placed on a board, with Kelley adding his signature design flourishes and lettering, was not sold during the auction and, if you hurry, you can still buy it for $500. https://entertainment.ha.com/itm/entertainment-and-music/big-brother-and-the-holding-company-alternate-original-artwork-by-alton-kelley-for-be-a-brother-columbia-c-30222/a/7161-89422.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
4) New Print/Book RELEASES –
Here are some quickie intros to several books hitting the market that should be of interest to album art fans –
a) The Austin, TX-based limited-edition art and music company Mondo has just released an interesting new package created in cooperation with the Z2 Comics company based on the score(composed by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys) to the “musical noir graphic novel” Murder Ballads which comes complete with music, graphic novel and art prints – now THAT’s how to sell something unique and desirable to your fans! The set includes music (on colored vinyl), a 160-page book and three exclusive prints by artist Tyler Boss. Packaged in a clamshell box decorated with artwork by Jon Langford of The Mekons (did EVERY great musician go to Art School?), it is available for viewing (and purchasing – $200) on the Mondo site via this link – https://mondotees.com/products/murder-ballads-deluxe-graphic-novel-10-ep-mondo-exclusive
b) Photographer and art show curator Raj Prem is releasing a new career retrospective photo book, with the details available in this PR release I discovered on a site called Military Technologies.net (??) – http://www.military-technologies.net/2017/05/20/raj-prem-announces-he-will-publish-new-book-documenting-career-in-music-photography/
c) Malaysian artist Mustaffa Ahmad Hidzir, who goes by the name “Tapa”, has released a new book that contains 200 of his album cover projects in full color and showing again how works by world-renowned album artists such as Roger Dean and the team at Hipgnosis have influenced sleeve design all over the world. Titled 12 x 12, the book’s been published by Institut Terjemahan dan Buku Negara (ITBN). There had been a related exhibition in Kuala Lumpur which ended in early June, but you can read more about Tapa’s work via this article on the Star2.com site (an entertainment and lifestyle portal based in Malaysia) http://www.star2.com/culture/arts/2017/05/23/tapa-album-art-book/
d) While I don’t have a specific category for non-print/book releases, this will do – two new sets of sculptures being released by the talented artists at KnuckleBonz now allow fans to purchase statues of the members of KISS as they appeared in two of the best-known album cover images – KISS ALIVE! and Hotter Than Hell – Check out the product shots and details via the links – https://knucklebonz.com/product/kiss-alive-bundle/
KISS ALIVE! Rock Iconz Set
KISS Hotter Than Hell Rock Iconz Set
Like all other products offered by the company, there are only 3000 of each statue made and are available as a set or individually. Each hand-painted statue is numbered and comes with a certificate of authenticity on the base.
Clear off your bookshelves – KISS is coming….
5) Other articles of interest –
a) In support of their ongoing celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the release of the seminal Beatles album, the web team at Goldmine Magazine has posted an interactive Sgt. Pepper’s cover collage image that give you the details of every character on that cover – http://www.goldminemag.com/sgtpepper50/
b) Writing for The Guardian, music reporter Christina Lee offers up an article titled From Midnight Marauders to cute and cuddly: how rap cover art softened up where she presents her arguments that many of today’s hip-hop stars, including Lil’ Yachty, Big Baby DRAM and Drake, are chosing to toss the gun-toting, bitch-slapping “hyper-masculine” imagery so commonly found on the genre’s record covers and, instead, present us with pix of their kids, their puppies and their friends of all colors and lifestyles (which the author calls “cute and cuddly”). While there certainly are those who still feel the need to present fans with the more-traditional album art elements, it can’t be denied that there are many fans that welcome these occasional variations on the theme – https://amp.theguardian.com/music/2017/may/26/rap-cover-art-softened-lil-yachty
c) Sales of tattoo maven-turned-lifestyle brand Kat Von D’s line of makeup are being promoted by videos that re-create several attitude-filled album covers to help sell makeup – http://www.nylon.com/articles/nylon-album-covers-kat-von-d-june-july-2017 (includes video)
d) Here’s an important and interesting read for those of you who are working in the album cover art field and would like to know a bit more about how to protect yourself/your work (AKA “intellectual property”). Just like song compositions, album art can also be registered with the U.S. Library of Congress (AKA “the Copyright Office). And, just like song compositions, creators can retain the rights and license the work for use on record packaging (and merch). Yes, even if you do it for your best friend’s record.
e) The design work done by the design team at FilthyMedia for British DJ Audio’s new record called Beastmode is featured in Sarah Dawood’s recent article on the Design Week site – https://www.designweek.co.uk/inspiration/beastmode-album-cover-filthymedia/
f) For the History Channel’s web site, reporter Christopher Klein writes about five people who were supposed to be on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s who were, for a variety of reasons, removed from the final product – http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/5-historical-figures-erased-from-the-sgt-pepper-cover
No surprise – Adolf Hitler. But why no Elvis or Ghandi or Jesus Christ or actor Leo Gorcey (HooTF is Leo Gorcey)? You’ll just have to read it to find out…
g) Speaking of cut-outs (sorry, clever play on words unavoidable) – Tony Curtis’ cut-out included in the famous collage by Sir Peter Blake and friends was put up for auction at the June 17th Heritage Entertainment gathering and had expected to bring around $60K. It went unsold, but you can read more about that item and its history in Tom Derbyshire’s recent article on the Antiques Trade Gazette – https://www.antiquestradegazette.com/news/2017/tony-curtis-cut-out-from-sgt-peppers-album-cover-up-at-auction/
h) As we’ve seen in the press recently, there are factions within our society that thrive on conspiracy theories (“Bigfoot surgically removed my congressman’s frontal lobes”), so it only makes sense that there have been a series of Album Cover Art-based conspiracies over the years (“Paul Is Dead” and “Breakfast In America predicted 9/11” are the ones I remembered quickly). But wait, there are more, shared by Rachel Sharer (?) on the Listverse site – https://listverse.com/2017/06/13/top-10-bizarre-conspiracy-theories-about-album-cover-art/
i) Grammy Award-winning rapper 2 Chainz recently took album cover “re-creationing” to a whole new level via his purchase of a house on Howell Mill Road in Atlanta, GA, which he subsequently painted pink and tagged it with the word “TRAP”, creating a new neighborhood landmark that looks somewhat like the album cover art for his Pretty Girls Like Trap Music recording, released on Def Jam Records in June of this year.
Following up an earlier marketing stunt in which a local nail salon was redecorated in a similar fashion and where fans could get 2 Chainz song-themed nail treatments for free, this latest moved has been earning reactions in the press and from local businesses that range everywhere from kudos along the lines of “this was an act of marketing genius” to complaints from the neighbors about excessive traffic and loitering. Personally, I like anything that builds upon a record’s visuals and gives fans a chance to participate…read more about it in this article by Najja Parker on the Statesman.com site – http://www.statesman.com/news/national/chainz-creates-atlanta-latest-landmark/DsuAuVLVwlVuzgnYhqPC2O/
Over 500 people have posted photos of their visit to the TRAP house on the project’s Instagram site – https://www.instagram.com/thepinktraphouse/
j) Lastly but not leastly, here’s an article that I’m sure will make you toss your 4th of July cookies – we all know that there are celebrities that are famous merely due to their ability to market themselves, and not for any specific talents or displays of creativity, and nowhere is this more evident than in this sad display of Kendall and Kylie Jenner’s usurping other peoples’ album cover imagery and, after adding their own why do we see them so many times faces, putting the results on some t-shirts they’re trying to hawk. The Twitterverse has responded unkindly but, I’m certain we’ll see, that won’t stop adoring fans from snapping these products up (perhaps a copyright infringement suit will accomplish just that – go get ’em Tupac and Biggie!).
And this is “making America great again”, circa 2017. Sad.
That’s all for now – be on the lookout for timely news alerts on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back early next month with another monthly summary for you.
All text and images included in this article are Copyright 2017 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.