On View: Friday, March 26, 4–9 PM & Saturday, March 27, 12–9 PM
The Art of Record Sleeves is a special two-day pop-up exhibition curated by Rob Singh. Singh is a DJ/host; in pre-pandemic times, he was an organizer of trimonthly record shows (conventions); and he works at Cheapo Records in Central Square in Cambridge. The show features a select group of sleeves from Singh’s collection of more than two thousand records. The sleeves on view were chosen by Singh based on their compelling nature of the artwork.
Initially, album artwork only featured images of musicians. Over time, these sleeves became a crossover between music and visual art: artists transformed the early depictions of musicians and music on sleeves into spectacular masterpieces. This art form eventually evolved to serve as a visual identity for the musician, the album, or the musical genre.
This relationship between music and art resulted in notable and stunning sleeves. Picasso, Basquiat, Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman, and Warhol are some of the famous artists who designed album covers. Warhol’s album art for Banana for the Velvet Underground & Nico is likely one of the most recognizable images. Early copies of the album invited the owner to “Peel slowly and see;” peeling back the banana skin revealed a flesh-colored banana underneath. Factory Records, which gave the world Joy Division, New Order, and Happy Mondays, to name a few, frequently collaborated with designer Peter Saville for artwork. Peter’s work with Factory Records was more of an expression of the designer and had no set style, making these bonafide art pieces in their own right.
The connection between visual arts and music occasionally resulted in striking vinyl cover art. Even though this visual work never gets the same recognition as fine art, it is still as thought-provoking and captivating.
Gallery 263 is free and open to the public.