While I specifically collect cover art by five designers — the artist known as Bansky, Sir Peter Blake, Damien Hirst, Klaus Voormann and Andy Warhol — sometimes other artists I admire produce record covers. Over the past couple of years a number of such covers have found their way into my collection.
Here’s a list of these “odd” record covers.
1. Lady Gaga–“ArtPop” – 2xLP. Cover by Jeff Koons.
2. The Unholy Two–“Kutter/Porkys” – 7″ single in fold-out cover with Chuck Close‘s portraits of Kate Moss.
3. Paul Simon–“Stranger to Stranger” – LP and insert with Chuck Close‘s portrait of Simon.
4. Soníc Youth–“Sonic Nurse” – 2xLP. Cover art by Richard Prince.
5. Mattias Alkbergs Begravning–“Epitafium” – 12″ EP. Cover art by Karin “Mamma” Andersson.
6. Mattias Alkbergs Begravning–“Skända flaggan” – 4-track 7-inch EP. Cover art by Karin “Mamma” Andersson
7. The Weaklings–“It’s so Criminal/Real Cool Time” 7″ single. Cover photo by Richard Avedon.
As readers of this blog may recall, I described Lady Gaga‘s “ArtPop” album cover designed and photographed by Jeff Koons in my post about Stockholm’s Spritmuseum’s 2014 exhibition entitled “ArtPop“. A copy of the double vinyl has found its way into my collection.
The Unholy Two “Kutter/Porkys“: The Unholy Two is a hardcore/punk trio from Columbus, Ohio, who have released two albums to date. The members are Chris Lutzko, Bo Davis and Adam Smith.
There’s a story behind how I came to find this single. Sometime in the 1990s I saw a painting by American artist Chuck Close (born 5th July 1940). It was a large portrait of a man’s face made up of tiny units. I was fascinated. I’ve looked at Close‘s work in galleries and museums since. He is both a painter and a photographer. In 1988 he suffered a spinal artery collapse (whatever that means) and was paralysed. He now paints with a special support on his arm enabling him to hold a brush. He has ascribed is interest in painting portraits to his prosopagnosia or inability to recognise faces. Neurologist and author Oliver Sachs was a fellow sufferer from prosopagnosia. In 2005 Close took a series of photographs of a nude Kate Moss and it was when I was compiling my list of record covers with portraits of Kate, that I stumbled across this single. I first saw it in an Ebay ad which described the cover portrait as being by Richard Avedon (15th May 1923-1st October 2004). I soon found out who the artist actually was.
The Unholy Two’s “Kutter/Porkys” single cover:
Paul Simon “Stranger to Stranger” LP album released in 2016 has an insert with Close‘s portrait of Simon.
The outer sleeve used an enlarged picture of Paul Simon’s eye.
These are the only two covers with art by Chuck Close that I have thus far been able to identify. Does anyone know of any others?
Sonic Youth‘s “Sonic Nurse” was originally released in 2004. It was reissued in July 2016 on heavyweight vinyl with the original cover paintings by Richard Prince (born 6th August 1949). Prince is both a photographer and a painter and often uses other peoples’ work as his starting point. I have not been able to find any other record covers painted or photographed by Richard Prince, but he recorded a CD in 1985 entitled “Loud Song” and a limited edition 12″ was released with cover art by Sonic Youth‘s Kim Gordon.
Mattias Alkberg is a poet and guitarist and most recently a journalist. He has fronted a number of bands, starting with the Bear Quartet and Mattias Albergs BD. More recent constellations include Mattias Alkbergs Begravning and Mattias Alkbergs Södra Sverige. He released the “Skända flaggan” in 2013 as a limited edition blue vinyl 7-inch EP, and the 12″ EP “Epitafium” was released as a limited edition for Record Store Day in 2014; I think 1000 copies were pressed. Mattias Alkberg lives in Luleå in northern Sweden and chose the celebrated painter Karin “Mamma” Andersson for the artwork for the double-sided poster cover . Karin “Mamma” Andersson also hails from Luleå.
Mattias Alkberg also used two other paintings by Karin “Mamma” Andersson on the front and rear covers of his 7″ EP “Skända flaggan” released in 2013.
Richard Avedon‘s photographs have graced the covers of many albums, ranging from Simon & Garfunkel‘s “Bookends” to Allen Ginsberg‘s “Kaddish” and including albums by Cher, Sly & the Family Stone, Barbra Streisand and The Fugs.
In 1999 The Weaklings, a punk band from Portland, Oregon, released their ninth single “It’s so Criminal/Real Cool Time” and chose Richard Avedon‘s famous photograph of Andy Warhol‘s abdomen showing the scars after operations to remove the bullet shot by Valerie Solanas on June 3, 1968. Solanas fired three shots at Warhol, but the first two missed. I used to own several records with Avedon‘s cover photographs, but now only have The Weaklings‘ single. The reason being that I include this cover in my collection of Andy Warhol cover art.
I do not doubt that other covers with art by artists/photogtaphers I admire will find their way into my collection. I’ll keep you posted as and when any new covers arrive.