Featured Album Cover Fan Collection – Gary Freiberg, Rock Art Picture Show
Interviewed by Mike Goldstein, Curator, Album Cover Hall of Fame
May 2, 2014
This album cover fan collection is going to be a bit different than most of the articles in this series, mainly due to the fact that the featured participant, Gary J. Freiberg, has a unique history in the field. Gary wears a number of different record cover-related hats – he’s a vinyl preservationist, an organizer of vinyl record-related events (including Vinyl Record Day, celebrated each August 12 and now in its 13th year) and the co-inventor of the very popular Rock Art Picture Show Record Album Frame. I met Gary when I had my gallery and, based on his encyclopedic knowledge of all things album cover, I knew that he’d be an important addition to the Voting Panel of the ACHOF, which he’s been a part of since our inception in 2012.
The mission statement of the Vinyl Record Day organization – a non-profit, 501(C)3 established in 2002 – focuses on three important aspects related to the appreciation of recorded music: 1) Establishing a day, nationally-recognized, for music fans of all types to enjoy their favorite music; 2) maintaining the value, presence and growth of the vinyl record medium and 3) “Preservation of the cultural influences, the recordings and the cover art of vinyl records” and the people who produce them. With that in mind, when I asked Gary to give us a glimpse into his own collection, he suggested that, since preservation was an important aspect of his work and passion for music, it might make more sense for him to highlight some of the actual album covers (vs. art prints) he’s collected and appreciated that were created by “the father of Album Cover Art” – Alex Steinweiss. As he put it, he’s a student of the evolution of the art form, starting with Steinweiss and his covers for Columbia Records in the late 1930s (and his invention of cardboard sleeve-based packaging in 1948), and so he thought that it was important to focus our attention of the talents of the person most-credited with adding an entire new visual dimension to the promotion of recorded music. How can I argue with a premise like that?