Way way back in the day, when I inherited some albums from my uncle, the world changed. As a kid, the music I could hear after putting a record on my dad’s turntable, moving a needle back and forth over and over, would leave me forever mesmerized by songs from Santana, David Bowie, The Velvet Underground and Bob Dylan. Later, I realized that part of the love affair I had with certain albums had as much to do with the cover art, the sometimes wild, erotic and captivating imagery, as with the music revealed after removing the vinyl. When I started to buy my own music, standing and staring at a cover in a store was as much part of the process as sampling the songs.
Downloading just doesn’t elicit the same passion and love.
So the opening at Miami Art Museum of “The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl” (made possible from a Knight Arts Challenge grant) promises an exciting look at an art form that sadly isn’t the same in the digital age. Originating first at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, this exhibit comes to Miami with 99 works by 41 artists. It will include such memorable artwork for albums from Laurie Anderson and The Talking Heads (in particular, “More Songs About Buildings and Food,” awesome), and some local contributions, such as the stacked-record column sculpture from William Cordova. “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,” according to the museum’s description. “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.”
This intriguing exhibit opens on March 17, and will include some special events to coincide with it, including “Miami Vinyl: The History of Record-Making in Miami,” parts I, II and III taking place in April and May; and culminating with “The Beat Who Cheated Death: How Bass Shaped Miami,” about our unique bass beat culture that defined Miami music, and a DJ battle clash to close the exhibit on June 9.
“The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl” runs through June 10, with numerous talks and events in between; go to www.miamiartmuseum.org for more details; 101 W. Flagler St., Miami.