Tag Archives: Album Covers

Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism at The Museum of Jewish Heritage

Kaufman House
Julius Shulman Photo of Richard Nuetra’s Kaufman House in Palm Springs, CA (All Photos by Gail. Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail)

Anyone smitten with Midcentury Design (as encapsulated and popularized by the Mad Men aesthetic) should plan a visit to the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, for their fantastic exhibit Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism. I was fortunate to attend a private preview of the exhibit the evening before it opened to the public, and was not only visually thrilled by this comprehensive showcase of vintage furnishings, housewares, graphics, and architecture, but I really learned a lot about the people behind these great designs.

Midcentury Furniture
Midcentury Furniture Featuring George Nelson’s Marshmallow Sofa by Herman Miller

Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism explores how Jewish emigrants and American-born designers and architects helped spark America’s embrace of midcentury modernism — forging a bold new direction in design and thought. The exhibit focuses on the roles of more than 30 Jewish architects, designers, and patrons, including Anni Albers, George Nelson, and Richard Neutra; as well as others whose fascinating life stories and important contributions have received less acclaim.

Here are some favorite highlights from the exhibit!

Furniture By Paul Frankl
Sofa and Shelves By Paul Frankl

Furnture by Alvin Lustig
Furniture by Alvin Lustig

Furniture by Harry Rosenthal
Furniture by Harry Rosenthal, William Schiff House by Richard Neutra, (San Francisco, CA)

X-110 House
Exterior of X-110 House (Right), Interior of X-110 House (Center and Left). Prototype developed by Joseph Eichler. Designed by A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons (Photos By Ernest Braun)

Kaufman House
Richard Neutra’s Kaufman House (1946), Palm Springs CA, (Above and Below Photos by Julius Shulman, 1949)

Kaufman House Pool
Kaufman House Pool

Banner in Exhibition Hall
Banner in Exhibition Hall Featuring Modern Kitchen Appliances of the Day

The Modtini

The opening reception featured an open bar where they served this delicious classic vodka cocktail, the Modtini!

George Tscherny
Lark Cigarette Packages By George Tscherny, 1968

Booky Covers By Alvin Lustig
Book Covers By Alvin Lustig (1943, 1945)

Household Items by Henry Dreyfuss
Above and Below, Household Items by Henry Dreyfuss
Household Items by Henry Dreyfuss
Thermostat, Pink Princess Phone, Alarm Clock

Ernest Sohn Designed Products
Ernest Sohn, Esquire Coffee Pot with Lid, Creamer, Sugar Bowl with Lid, Small Casserole Dish with Lid (1963). (Center) Esquire Large Casserole Dish with Lid (1963). (Lower) Doric Coffee Urn with Lid and Stand, Creamer, Sugar Bowl with Lid, and Tray (1959)

Album Covers By Alex Steinweiss
Album Covers By Alex Steinweiss

In 1939, Alex Steinweiss (a graduate of NYC’s Parsons school of Design) designed what is recognized as the first example of album cover art and soon became the art director at Columbia Records. During the 1940s, he was asked to develop a packaging solution to protect a new product: the long playing 133 1/3 rpm vinyl record. Steinweiss designed a paper jacket that quickly became the industry standard. He oversaw cover art for Columbia up until the 1070s, designing thousands of album covers.

Album Cover By Alex Steinweiss

Steinweiss’s covers combine witty cartoon figures, abstract shapes, bright colors and his signature, curly hand-drawn lettering.

Corporate Logos
Corporate Logos by Saul Bass, Louis Danziger, Paul Rand

Movie Ad for the man with the Golden Arm
Movie Ad for the Man with the Golden Arm By Saul Bass

There is so much to see and learn at the Designing Home exhibit and I really cannot recommend it highly enough. Aside from this one show, the museum hosts many other permanent exhibits and is situated right on the water in Battery Park City, which means spectacular views!

Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism is Currently on Exhibit at The Museum of Jewish Heritage, A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Located at Edmond J. Safra Plaza, 36 Battery Place, Battery Park City, New York, NY 10280 (By Subway: Take the 4 or 5 Train to Bowling Green and walk west along Battery Place). Admission is Free on Wednesday Evenings, and you can visit them online at MJHNYC for Admission, Hours and Other Exhibit Information. I’m not quite sure when the Designing Home Exhibit ends, so maybe give them a call at 646-437-4202 before you plan your visit!

Designing Home Signage
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Bjork Retrospective at MOMA!

Fans on Queue for Songlines
Fans Queue Up for the Black Lake Video Screening at the Bjork Retrospective at MOMA (All Photos By Gail)

I’ve been aware of the Icelandic singer/performer Bjork since the first album by her band Sugarcubes was released in 1986, but aside from what a person who pays somewhat close attention to modern music can’t help but absorb through the pop culture ether, I didn’t know / care much about her / her music before making the trip to the Museum of Modern Art at an earlier-than-usual hour on March 8th for the opening day of its much-hyped Bjork Retrospective.

Continue reading Bjork Retrospective at MOMA!

Raymond Pettibon’s To Wit at David Zwirner

Raymond Pettibon To Wit
All Photos By Gail, Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail

David Zwirner’s cavernous space on West 19th Street is currently hosting To Wit, an expansive exhibition of new works by Southern California-based artist, Raymond Pettibon. A wildly prolific artist and illustrator – for whom To Wit is his ninth exhibit at ZwirnerPettibon is also famous for having designed flyers, album covers and the iconic four bar logo for LA Punk Rock legends, Black Flag. (Trivia: Pettibon’s birth name is actually Raymond Ginn, and Black Flag guitarist Greg Ginn is the artist’s older brother).

Raymond Pettibon To Wit

Pettibon’s work embraces a wide spectrum of American “high” and “low” culture, from the deviations of marginal youth to art history, literature, sports, religion, politics, and sexuality. Taking their points of departure in the Southern California punk-rock culture of the late 1970s and 1980s and the “do-it-yourself” aesthetic of album covers, comics, concert flyers, and fanzines that characterized the movement, his drawings have come to occupy their own genre of potent and dynamic artistic commentary.

Raymond Pettibon To Wit

To Wit presents a wide range of drawings and collages unified by their bold, vivid lines and striking compositions. Fragments from American society have been distilled into key images, which often incorporate texts of varying length, from one word to several paragraphs. The selection of texts, spanning a broad array of influences from popular media to Marcel Proust, William Faulkner, Henry James, Gustave Flaubert and the Bible, relate both rhythmically and narratively to the visual content of his drawings, although their relationship may not always be immediately apparent.

Raymond Pettibon To Wit

Raymond Pettibon To Wit

As the exhibition’s title, “to wit” introduces the works without an antecedent, as an interrupted thought followed by something spontaneous: to wit, this body of work. The words also convey Pettibon’s long-standing interest in the way language moves through its many registers: formal, literary, lyrical and spoken. It is also a dedication to Wit, the broad principle of humor that pervades this work. In keeping with Pettibon’s prolific practice, the works in this exhibition alternately address violence, humor, sex, evolution and sports.

Raymond Pettibon To Wit

In some drawings, the subject matter is easily recognizable: No Title (I wonder at…) shows the comic strip character Bazooka Joe, distinguished by his eye patch and baseball cap, blowing bubble gum.

You still have nearly a full month to see Raymond Pettibon’s To Wit, so get yourself over to West 19th Street while you can!

Raymond Pettibon To Wit

Raymond Pettibon’s To Wit will be on Exhibit Through October 26th, 2013 at David Zwirner Gallery, Located at 519 West 19th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.
To Wit Exhibit Signage

Stories Behind The Beatles’ Album Covers


Image Source

Just when you think you know everything there is to know about The Beatles, Neatorama runs a post with a few cool stories behind different Beatles album covers. I especially love this one about HELP!, a film and album which already hold so many cool memories for me:

For the HELP! photo shoot, photographer Robert Freeman warmed up by shooting publicity stills of the band playing around in the Austrian snow. In the process, he realized that their arm motions reminded him of semaphore, a system of emergency naval communications using waving flags. Because the album title was conveniently four characters long, the photographer had each member of the group spell out a letter using the code. However, Freeman found that the arm motions for H-E-L-P were much less aesthetically pleasing than the positions for N-U-J-V, so he decided to use those letters instead.

Read more stories behind the covers for The White Album, Sgt Pepper and Abbey Road at This Link.

New UK Postage Stamps To Feature Rock Album Sleeve Art!

Album Stamps Blur and New Order
Blur’s Parklife and New Order’s Power, Corruption and Lies Shown Above

On January 7, 2010, Britain’s Royal Mail will launch a collector’s-minded Album Cover Stamps series featuring a set of ten 1st class stamps designed by Studio Dempsey. The remarkable series celebrates classic album covers by some of England’s most famous and enduring rock bands including Led Zeppelin, Blur, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, New Order, Pink Floyd and Primal Scream. Each stamp will be uniquely shaped, as shown in these images, adding a glimpse of a vinyl disc poking out of each record sleeve – very cool! Read more of the story behind these very rockin’ stamps at this link.

Album Stamps Stones and Bowie
Rolling Stones Let It Bleed, David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust Shown Above

Happy Birthday, Jerry, Tommy and Joe

Jerry Garcia Young
I Like Jerry’s Shirt In This Photo

Jerry Garcia, guitarist and songwriter for the Grateful Dead and undeniably one of contemporary rock music’s most enduring pop culture icons, was born on this day, August 1st, in 1942.

Tommy Bolin - Teaser

Today is also a day to remember the late Tommy Bolin, guitarist for the James Gang and Deep Purple, who died of a heroin overdose at the very young age of just 25, and who was born on this day in 1951.

Joe Elliott Union Jack

Last but not least, Happy Birthday to Joe Elliot of Def Leppard who was born in 1959. Def Leppard can still kick any band’s ass live.