Collection of Record

Nasher exhibition explores the place of vinyl records in contemporary art

A generation of young adults grew up listening to music on compact discs, and another is coming of age with digital music devices that are smaller than a deck of cards. But a new exhibition at the Nasher Museum of Art seeks to bring vinyl records back into cultural consciousness—and in a big way.

“The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl,” a major exhibition that opened on September 2 and will be on view through February 6, 2011, features works by forty one artists from around the world who use vinyl records as subject or medium. The exhibition features sculpture, installation, drawing, painting, photography, video, audio, and performance art and was curated by Trevor Schoonmaker, curator of contemporary art at the Nasher.

Included are works by rising stars in the contem-porary art world, among them, William Cordova,
Robin Rhode, and Dario Robleto; outsider artists like Mingering Mike; and well-established artists such as Jasper Johns, Ed Ruscha, and Carrie Mae Weems. Some exhibition highlights: a hybrid violin and record player called the viophonograph, by Laurie Anderson; an original life-sized Polaroid photomontage by Talking Heads front man David Byrne, used for the cover of the 1978 album More Songs About Buildings and Food; a monumental column of vinyl records by Cordova; and an important early work by Robleto, who created hand-painted buttons using Billie Holiday records.

The Nasher commissioned two works for the exhibition. For one, Berlin-based artist Satch Hoyt created a sixteen-foot canoe made of records and paired with an original soundscape. The work was created during a 2009 artist’s residency at Duke.

New York artist Xaviera Simmons took 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 twelve-inch record and played with her installation.
Extensive programming is planned throughout the fall and into the winter, including concerts and artist talks.

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