Inasmuch Foundation Gallery – “Tailored Jackets 3: Select Styles”
This exhibit was on display June 28 through August 18, 2017
Jackets (album covers) have been around in one form or another since 1910. One of their prototypes may have been the covers or title pages of sheet music. The jacket, as most people think of it, was introduced in 1938 by Columbia Records’ first art director, Alex Steinweiss. His introduction of album covers and cover art caught on and by the late 1940s most major record companies featured their own artwork.
From the 1950s to the 1980s, the 12” LP record and the 7” 45 rpm were the main formats for the distribution of music, and featured the creations of a plethora of artists, graphic designers, photographers, and writers on their jackets. The jacket became an important part of the culture of music, both as a marketing tool and an expression of artistic intent. Listeners, as well as shoppers, had ready access to an outpouring of creativity that dazzled, delighted, and shocked. Jackets also influenced the way people looked at and interpreted a world that was changing almost as fast as albums, containing “the voices of the people,” expressing their hopes, dreams, desires, observations, even their fears, and were receiving airplay. The imagery that was upon and often inside these jackets, and especially the sounds within, left a lasting impression on the psyches of the people who lived during these decades. Both still attract the attention of the people of the world and the institutions that recognize and preserve the world’s cultural heritage.
With the advent of CDs and digital downloads, the classic 12” LP record appeared to be in hiatus, if not an endangered species. In April of 2007, however, the annual Record Store Day event was inaugurated, and included, among a variety of items and events, vinyl pressings of records made specifically for the event and also for particular record stores, which have revitalized the vinyl LP record market. The event began in the United States, and has official international organizers in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Australia, and Spain. During their golden years, jackets were transported throughout the world, influencing all who encountered them. Those in this exhibit, in addition to their designed functions, received the autographs of the musicians whose music led to their creation. What took place when these artistic signatures were transcribed is unknowable, though anyone who obtained an autograph from one of their stars, knows the singular experience. Enjoy the imagery, graphic design, typesetting, photography, framing, and “signature tailoring” of these jackets that continue to engage and transform.
This exhibit includes covers signed by DEVO, David Bowie, Bob Marley, Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Dwight Yoakum, and many others.