The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl

An exhibit exploring vinyl records in a contemporary art context

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Seizing on the vinyl record as emblematic of music’s evolution in the 20th century, the forthcoming exhibition “The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl” at the Nasher Museum of Art explores the relationship of sound, artistry and vinyl through the works of 41 artists dating back to 1960.


Dario Robleto melted down Billie Holiday vinyl records, turning them into colorful hand-painted buttons in his aptly titled work “Sometimes Billie Is All That Holds Me Together.” Laurie Anderson‘s hybrid violin and turntable “Viophonograph” (below) and David Byrne‘s original life-sized Polaroid photomontage (the image used on the 1978 Talking Heads album “More Songs about Building and Food“) are some of the more prominent works in the show. William Cordova‘s vinyl column and “Recycled Records,” an early work by Christian Marclay, provocatively incorporate vinyl as a tangible medium.


The show has multiple facets exploring the spectrum of the record player—from art and self expression to emerging technology. The museum commissioned Satch Hoyt to create a 16-foot canoe made from red 45-rpm records, while Xaviera Simmons reached out to musicians Mac McCaughan of Superchunk, Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio and Jim James of My Morning Jacket to compose musical accompaniments to her North Carolina photos. The original songs will play on a 12-inch record as part of her installation. Other noteable artists exhibiting include Jasper Johns, Ed Ruscha, Carrie Mae Weems and Robin Rhode.


The installation “Cover to Cover,” featuring eight artists and musicians who created a narrative strung together by 20 albums, explores the related genre of record label cover art. Crate artists include Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Rodney Graham, Harrison Haynes, Vic Muniz and Cafi, DJ Rekha and producer 9th Wonder.

The exhibit opens 2 September 2010 and runs through 6 February 2011.