In Francesco Spampinato’s unique anthology of artists’ record covers, we discover the rhythm of this particular cultural history. The book presents 500 covers and records by visual artists from the 1950s through to today, exploring how modernism, Pop Art, Conceptual Art, postmodernism, and various forms of contemporary art practice have all informed this collateral field of visual production and supported the mass distribution of music with defining imagery that swiftly and suggestively evokes an aural encounter.
Along the way, we find Jean-Michel Basquiat’s urban hieroglyphs for his own Tartown record label, Banksy’s stenciled graffiti for Blur, Damien Hirst’s symbolic skull for the Hours, and a skewered Salvador Dalí butterfly on Jackie Gleason’s Lonesome Echo. There are insightful analyses and fact sheets alongside the covers listing the artist, performer, album name, label, year of release, and information on the original artwork. Interviews with Tauba Auerbach, Shepard Fairey, Kim Gordon, Christian Marclay, Albert Oehlen, and Raymond Pettibon add personal accounts on the collaborative relationship between artists and musicians.