Many fans of pop and rock music do not suspect that they may be holders of a collection of works of contemporary art. This, of course, applies only to the owners of vinyl records or CD. There are fewer and fewer of them now: a generation of music lovers has already grown up, who have never been to a music store and whose huge collections consist exclusively of downloaded (or purchased) mp3 files. However, those who still occasionally buy discs, are given the opportunity to purchase albums on the covers of which the creations of the stars of contemporary art are adorned. Now, when modern art is becoming more popular, many pop and rock stars are attracted to the creation of covers of famous artists. For example, hip-hop artist Kanye West invited the auction king Takashi Murakami for cooperation. The Japanese artist performed an illustration for the cover of his “Graduation” album. In addition, the Irish group U2 decorated the cover of their new “No Line on the Horizon” album with a photograph taken by the outstanding compatriot of Murakami, Hiroshi Sugimoto.
In general, popular music and contemporary art have become friends long enough. It is sufficient to recall Andy Warhol, who collaborated with many famous groups - in particular, with Velvet Underground. The cover with the banana, which he created for their debut album, is one of the most recognizable of his works. It also became one of the first "interactive" covers in the world: the picture could be peeled off, under it was an image of a peeled banana. Another "interactive" creation of Warhol - the cover of the Sticky Fingers of Rolling Stones, on which a real zipper was made. Many fans of rock music learned about Warhol precisely because of the creativity of these groups.
The folk singer Devendra Banhart stands out among the young musicians who create works of art. He makes out the covers of his albums. Talented drawings of Devendra, reminding the mysterious works of artists-outsiders, are exhibited in museums and sold at auctions. In 2007, an interesting exhibition took place at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco (SF MoMA), where works of Banhart were exhibited in the next to the works of his main idol - the great Swiss artist Paul Klee.
Some modern artists have gained fame thanks to cooperation with rock bands. An example of this - Stanley Donwood, who creates the covers of albums Radiohead. Creativity of Donwood corresponds to the music of this group, many of whose songs are devoted to loneliness and human unrest in the modern world. For the cover of the 2001 album “Amnesiac”, the artist even received a Grammy award.
Sometimes for the sake of musicians, artists change their "specialization". For example, John Currin is known as a painter. Just like Jenny Saville, he often creates "shock" works of art - but for the Pulp group he decided to become a photographer. However, the picture he created for the album cover “This is Hardcore” is not shocking at all, but even very glamorous.
A couple of years ago, the most fashionable artist in the West was Shepard Fairey, the magazine Rolling Stone even put him on the list of the most influential people in America. All thanks to a poster “HOPE” for the election company of Barack Obama. Of course, musicians (and record companies) could not help paying attention to this popular author. Recently he created a cover for the collection of the best hits of the famous rock band Led Zeppelin.
In the early 1990's, all British was in fashion: Britpop in music, and “Young British artists" in contemporary art. It is natural that representatives of these movements should have felt a natural craving for each other. So, in 1995, the leader of the band of "Young British Artists" Damien Hirst directed the clip of the “Country House” by Blur. He made friends with musicians and even arranged the band “Fat Les” with the bass player Alex James. However, the band have something to be proud of even without his help. So, on the cover of the collection of their best hits “Best of Blur”, there were portraits of band members, which were performed by Julian Opie. In addition, the cover of “Think Tank” (2003) was adorned with the illustration of the mysterious "street artist" Banksy, who has become extremely popular in the last couple of years.
"Champions" for cooperation with contemporary artists are the Americans Sonic Youth. Thanks to them, many music fans turned their attention to avant-garde rock and the work of contemporary painters and photographers. Among the artists who designed the covers of the band's records are Raymond Pettibon, Mike Kelley, Jeff Wall, Richard Prince, Christopher Wool and critic of the cult magazine Wire Edwin Pouncey, also known as the cartoonist Savage Pencil. The most famous album of Sonic Youth is, probably, “Daydream Nation”, on the cover of which there is the painting "The Candle" by Gerhard Richter flaunts. By the way, this work is the most expensive work of a German artist.
Often, musicians use reproductions of famous paintings for the covers of their albums. For example, the cover of the “Viva la Vida” plate of the popular Coldplay band, is represented by “Freedom Leading the People” by Eugène Delacroix. The favorites of the intellectual public “Dead Can Dance” took for their album “Aion” a fragment of the reproduction of the masterpiece by Bosch - "Garden of earthly pleasures". In addition, the psychedelic group “Animal Collective” used an illustration that is a variation on the topic of the creations of the famous outsider Henry Darger for the album “Feels”.
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Header image borrowed from Mid Century Modern.