The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl (Durham, USA)

The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl
Nasher Museum of Art
Sept. 2 – Feb. 6, 2011

Fatimah Tuggar
A groundbreaking exhibition that explores the culture of vinyl records through 50 years of contemporary art will open Sept. 2 at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

“The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl” features work by 41 artists from around the world, from the 1960s to the present, who use vinyl records as subject or medium. The exhibition includes sound work, sculpture, installation, drawing, painting, photography, video and performance.

“The Record” includes rising stars in the contemporary art world (William Cordova, Robin Rhode, Dario Robleto), outsider artists (Mingering Mike), well-established artists (Jasper Johns, Ed Ruscha, Carrie Mae Weems) and artists whose work will be shown in a U.S. museum for the first time (Kevin Ei-ichi deforest, Jeroen Diepenmaat, Taiyo Kimura, Lyota Yagi).

The Nasher Museum is the first venue for the travelling exhibition, which will be on view on Duke’s campus from Sept. 2 through Feb. 6, 2011. A preview week for local visitors will be Aug. 26 – Sept. 1.

“Since the heyday of vinyl, and through its decline and recent resurgence, a surprising number of artists have worked with vinyl records,” said Trevor Schoonmaker, curator of contemporary art at the Nasher Museum. “‘The Record’ presents some of the best, rarest and most unexpected examples. The artists in the exhibition use the vinyl record as metaphor, archive, artifact, icon, portrait or transcendent medium.”

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 Cordova; and an important early work by 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.”

The Nasher Museum commissioned two works for “The Record.” Berlin-based artist Satch Hoyt created a 16-foot canoe made of red 45-rpm records with an original soundscape during a 2009 artist residency at Duke. New York artist Xaviera Simmons created photographs of the North Carolina landscape and solicited musical responses from musicians such as Mac McCaughan of Superchunk, Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio and Jim James of My Morning Jacket. The original songs will be pressed onto a 12-inch record and played with her installation.

Artists in the exhibition include Laurie Anderson, Felipe Barbosa, David Byrne, William Cordova, Moyra Davey, Kevin Ei-ichi deForest, Jeroen Diepenmaat, Sean Duffy, Yukio Fujimoto, Jack Goldstein, Gregor Hildebrandt, Satch Hoyt, Jasper Johns, Taiyo Kimura, Tim Lee, Ralph Lemon, Christian Marclay, David McConnell, Mingering Mike, Dave Muller, Ujino Muneteru, Robin Rhode, Dario Robleto, Ed Ruscha, Malick Sidibé, Xaviera Simmons, Mark Soo, Meredyth Sparks, Su-Mei Tse, Fatimah Tuggar, Alice Wagner, Carrie Mae Weems and Lyota Yagi.

The exhibition will be complemented by programs at the Nasher Museum, including Free Family Day events, an artist residency with Xaviera Simmons, a talk by Carrie Mae Weems, a series of DJ nights, a performance by Ralph Lemon presented by Duke Performances, panel discussions, film series, teacher workshops and other programs. WXDU-FM will host a record fair in the museum’s Mary D.B.T. Semans Great Hall.

The accompanying “Cover to Cover” installation features eight artists and musicians who each curated a crate of 20 albums that tell a story through the cover visuals. Visitors will peruse the crates and with headphones listen to records on record players. Crate artists include Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Rodney Graham, Harrison Haynes, Vik Muniz and Cafi, DJ Rekha and 9th Wonder.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated 240-page color catalogue distributed by Duke University Press and available at the Nasher Museum Store ($45, paperback). It includes an introduction by curator Trevor Schoonmaker, statements by each artist in the exhibition and essays that balance personal reflection with critical exploration and scholarly analysis. Contributors include Jeff Chang, Vivien Goldman, Jennifer Kabat, Mark Katz, Josh Kun, Barbara London, Mac McCaughan, Carlo McCormick, Charles McGovern, Mark Anthony Neal, Piotr Orlov, Luc Sante, Trevor Schoonmaker and Dave Tompkins.

Nasher Museum of Art