Sound Art Record Covers. 40th Ed. | Taschen Books

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Taschen Books | Sound Art Record Covers. 40th Ed.

Art history acquires a new rhythm in this unique anthology of artists’ record covers from the 1950s to today. More than 450 covers trace the thrilling interaction between music and visual art and the ways in which modernism, Pop Art, and conceptual practice have all informed the way we see the sounds we hear. Featured covers include Salvador Dalí’s skewered butterfly for Jackie Gleason and Banksy’s stenciled graffiti for Blur.

Sound Art Record Covers. 40th Ed.
Image Lady Gaga, Artpop, 2013, art by Jeff Koons, Interscope Records

An unprecedented collection of artists’ record covers from the 1950s to today

Since the dawn of modernism, visual and music production have had a particularly intimate relationship. From Luigi Russolo’s 1913 Futurist manifesto L’Arte dei Rumori (The Art of Noise) to Marcel Duchamp’s 1925 double-sided discs Rotoreliefs, the 20th century saw ever more fertile exchange between sounds and shapes, marks and melodies, and different fields of composition and performance.

In Francesco Spampinato’s unique anthology of artists’ record covers, we discover the rhythm of this particular cultural history. The book presents 450 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.

Sound Art Record Covers. 40th Ed. | Taschen Books

Along the way, we find Jean-Michel Basquiat’s urban hieroglyphs for his own Tartown record label, Banksy’s stenciled graffiti for Blur, 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.

Sound Art Record Covers. 40th Ed. | Taschen Books

The author

Francesco Spampinato is a writer and historian of contemporary art and visual culture. He holds degrees from the University of Bologna and Columbia University, and a PhD from the Sorbonne Nouvelle University. From 2011 to 2015, he was an adjunct professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, and since 2019 he is a senior assistant professor at the University of Bologna. Author of several books and regular contributor to magazines and academic journals, he focuses on how contemporary artists interact with the media and everyday life in his own academic research.

The editor

Julius Wiedemann studied graphic design and marketing and was an art editor for newspapers and design magazines in Tokyo before joining TASCHEN in 2001. His titles include the Illustration Now! and Record Covers series, as well as the infographics collection and books about advertising and visual culture.

Sound Art Record Covers. 40th Ed. | Taschen Books

Credits: © Courtesy of Taschen