Four more Warhol covers for my collection

It feels like Christmas when four additional Andy Warhol covers can be added to my collection. Two are releases I had not been aware of until very recently. The four covers are:

1. Tchaikovsky – Violin Concerto played by Erica Morini and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Desiré Defauw.

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2. The Joe Newman Octet – I’m Still Swinging, double gatefold EP – 45 EPB-1198.

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3. Velvet Underground – Paris 1990 – Bootleg “promotional” LP.

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4. The Falling Spikes (Velvet Underground) – Screen Test: Falling in Love With the Falling Spikes (1987 re-issue):

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1. The Byron Janis recording of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” coupled with Grofé’s “Grand Canyon Suite” on the RCA Victor Bluebird label has an illustration of a piano and orchestra generally accepted as being by Andy Warhol. This recoeding was released both as a 12″ LP and a three 7″ EP box. Its sister release, the recording of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto by Erica Morini and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Desiré Defauw, on the same label has an illustration of a double base done in the same style and probably by Andy Warhol. I have a copy of the 12″ LP, generously given me by Frank Edwards. Until recently, I had not been aware of a three EP box similar to the Byron Janis recording, then one came up on Ebay and found its way into my collection.

2. The Joe Newman Octet’s “I’m Still Swinging” has been released as a 12-tract LP and an 8-track double EP and single EPs. I have one of the single EPs and recently acquired the German pressing of the single EP. Now I succeeded in finding the double EP version.

3. A short while ago, Guy Minnebach told members of the Warhol Cover Collectors Club about a Velvet Underground bootleg of a live show recorded in Paris on 11th June 1990, cleverly entitled “Paris 1990”. I was lucky to find a mint copy from a seller in Texas. This cover has a reproduction of an early Warhol flower on the front cover and a portrait of Warhol on the reverse. The images fluoresce in the dark! So cool!

4. Frank Edwards discovered the re-issue version of the bootleg album by the Falling Spikes, later to metamorphose into The Velvet Underground. The re-issue  “Screen Test: Falling in Love With the Falling Spikes” LP has the same detail from Warhol’s “Flowers” painting as the original 1985 release, but has a red card cover and includes two postcards. I found this one on Discogs and made a good deal with the seller. So now I have all three versions; one with the black and white cover, one with the blue flower and now even the red cover.

It seems a stranghe coincidence that I should receive the two Velvet Underground albums just days after founder member, Lou Reed, died. Anyway, four interesting and unusual additions to my collection.

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More on the “Giant Size $1.57 Each” cover

Andy Warhol produced the “Giant Size $1.57  Each” sleeve in five variations with the help of Billy Klüver, who had recorded the interviews with the artists involved in the “Popular Images” exhibition at the (now defunkt) Washington Gallery of Modern Art that ran from 18th April until 2nd June, 1963. The exact history is not known. A first edition of 75 sleeves with black image screened directly onto the coated stock record sleeve, each signed and numbered on verso was produced in 1963. He could even have printed the coloured covers at the same time or, having saved the screen, made them in 1971. Editions of 75 copies each, silkscreening the black “Giant Size” image onto sleeves that he had first spray painted. There were yellow, green, red and orange editions. These were sold in 1971.

Many covers have included the record from the “Popular Images” exhibition, possibly because Billy Klüver had a stock of the LPs. The record, comprising interviews with all eleven artists whose works were shown at the exhibition was recorded by Billy Klüver and originally came in a cover designed by Jim Dine. It seems, however, that the “Giant Size” cover was not shown at the exhibition.

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Copies of the cover with or without the record have changed hands for anywhere between $10,000 and $20,000, making them unattainable for most collectors of Andy Warhol’s record sleeve art.

However, the technique should be easy to replicate and the “Giant Size $1.57  Each” image is easy to find and reproduce. All that is needed is the right materials. Sufficient 12-inch record sleeves, spray paints, a silk screen and emulsion for transferring the image from overhead film to the screen. Then acrylic paint to screen the image onto the pre-prepared covers.

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So, having foraged for all the materials I set to work and spent 2 1/2 hours spraypainting record sleeves in the four colours.

GiantSize_RedUntil all four colours were sprayed.

I had put my name down to go a silkscreen course and was one of six “pupils” to participate on the weekend of October 12-13th. I intended to make ten sets of five covers and silkscreen the “Giant Size $1.57  Each” design onto two T-shirts.

The silkscreen with the "Giant Size $1.57  Each" image in reverse together with the overhead from which the image was taken.
The silkscreen with the “Giant Size $1.57 Each” image in reverse together with the overhead from which the image was taken.

Then I got down to silkscreening the covers, beginning with the yellow ones. Orange, green and red covers followed and finally, when had learned the technique better, I screened the white, unsprayed sleeves. I had ordered 50 covers – so no room for error. Unfortunately there were a few poor screens so I will need more covers to complete the ten sets I had planned.

The five members of our informal Warhol Cover Collectors Club have contributed to the production of these covers and will each receive a set of all five colours,

Silkscreening the first cover.
Silkscreening the first cover.
The first yellow sleeves screened.
The first yellow sleeves screened.
One set of five screened sleeves.
One set of five screened sleeves.

“Night Beat” – a rare promo set for radio from 1949

In my recent list of the rarest Warhol record covers, I put the “Night Beat” promotional box of three 45 RPM EPs at number 2. Top of the list is the “Progressive Piano” cover, which was never released. However, there is – as far as I know – only one known copy of the “Night Beat” box; the one in Paul Maréchal’s collection. Not even The Warhol Museum has a copy. Matt Wrbican, Chief Archivist at The Warhol, told me in a recent email, that the radio stations that received the “Night Beat” boxes would, in all probability, have thrown them away once the episode had been broadcast, which probably means that very few have survived. Indeed, I have never seen a copy appear on Ebay or in art galleries.

So what is a poor collector to do if he/she wants to complete a collection? The answer, of course, is to make a copy. Using the picture in Paul Maréchal’s book as a starting point and with the help of my daughter who performed some Photoshop magic and Urban Westling, at Urban Print, who did some further tweeking in InDesign and printed the result, I made a slick that would cover a standard EP box. Once I had the slick it only took about fifteen mintes to glue it over the old, discarded box of EPs and the result was way beyond my expectations.

The "Night Beat" box
The “Night Beat” box

My main problem has been finding suitable boxes here at home in order to supply all the members of The Warhol Cover Club with their own boxes. Founder member, Kevin Kinney and his wife have volunteered to find more boxes for me and as soon as they arrive I will make more boxes.