Art News

The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston Opens "The Record: Contemporary Art & Vinyl"

artwork: Jeroen Diepenmaat - "Pour des dents d'un blanc éclatant et saines", 2005. - Record players, vinyl records, taxidermied birds, and sound. Dimensions variable. - © Jeroen Diepenmaat. Image courtesy of the artist, Jeroen Diepenmaat.

The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston opens The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl, the first museum exhibition to explore the culture of vinyl records within the history of contemporary art. Bringing together artists from around the world who have worked with records as their subject or medium, this groundbreaking exhibition examines the record’s transformative power from the 1960s to the present. Through sculpture, installation, drawing, painting, photography, sound work, video and performance, The Record combines contemporary art with outsider art, audio with visual, and fine art with popular culture. On view at the ICA from April 15 through Sept. 5, the exhibition features 99 works by 33 artists, including Jasper Johns, Ed Ruscha, Laurie Anderson, Christian Marclay and Carrie Mae Weems. The Record was organized by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University and is accompanied by a 240-page color catalogue.

artwork: Laurie Anderson - Innovative multimedia artist Album cover "HOMELAND'“In today’s era of digital, downloadable music, the vinyl record—powerfully marked with history and nostalgia—has become a meaningful vehicle of expression for visual artists,” says Jill Medvedow, director of the ICA. “The Record presents some of the best, rarest and most unexpected examples of artists whose work has been influenced by music and vinyl. We are thrilled to present this exhibition in Boston, giving art and music lovers alike the opportunity to discover, or re-discover, the tremendous artistic response the record has inspired.”

“For many contemporary artists, the vinyl record looms large, taking on a significance that moves well beyond the medium’s traditional use, and thoroughly into a space of innovative artistic production,” says Senior Curator Jenelle Porter, who coordinated the exhibition for the ICA. “In the hands of visual artists, the vinyl record is used as a metaphor, archive, artifact, icon, or portrait. The exhibition explores the impact of the record on both art and popular culture and the ways in which vinyl has been manipulated, preserved and transformed through art.”

The exhibition includes a broad range of works, such as a hybrid violin and record player, Viophonograph, a seminal work by Laurie Anderson; David Byrne’s original life-sized Polaroid photomontage used for the cover of the 1978 Talking Heads album More Songs About Buildings and Food; a monumental column of vinyl records by William Cordova; and an important early work by Dario Robleto, who transformed Billie Holiday records in an alchemic process to create hand-painted buttons. Works by Christian Marclay, who has made art with records for 30 years, include his early and rarely seen Recycled Records as well as his most recent record video, Looking for Love.

Accompanying the exhibition is Cover to Cover—an installation featuring 7 listening stations designed by 9 artists and musicians who each curated a crate of 20 albums. Each artist’s theme and “story’ can be discovered by thumbing through bins containing original albums, examining the covers and playing the records. Visitors will peruse the crates and with headphones listen to records on record players. Visit: