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Record cover art – an exciting investment

Record cover art has become highly collectible. Covers by famous artists are commanding record prices while some popular artists’ record covers are undervalued. Examples of artists whose cover art has grown in value in recent years are Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and, not least, Banksy. David Shrigley’s covers are an example of undervalued covers

Above: Cover art by Banksy showing the English rock band Blur's album Think Tank.

Below: Opening night of The Andy Warhol exhibition in Malmö.

Record cover art is finding its way into museum exhibitions. Moderna Museum in Malmö, Sweden, showed a complete collection of Andy Warhol’s record cover art in 2019. The picture above shows the opening evening that gathered many Warhol fans.

A selection of Banksy’s record and CD covers is part of a Banksy retrospective called Banksy: Building Castles in the Sky currently open (until December 31st, 2022) in New York.

Banksy retrospective exhibition in New York.

Other exhibitions focus on a particular artist’s record covers, such as an exhibition of Roger Dean’s covers – for bands including Yes, Asia, Osibisa, etc – currently at the Haight Street Art Center in San Francisco, U.S.A. (until October 30th), and the Hipgnosis group – Pink Floyd etc -- at the Museum of Contemporary art – Dieter Kunerth, in Ottobüren, Germany (until November 27th). And street artist, and record cover designer, Shepard Fairey has an exhibition in Seoul, South Korea (until November 6th).

Examples of Shepard Fairey’s record cover art.

I mentioned Jean-Michel Basquiat’s record sleeves and these have been shown in several exhibitions.

Covers for Rammelzee vs K-Roc’s “Beat Bop” and The Offs “First Record.”

David Shrigley is currently very popular for his tongue-in-cheek paintings and prints. He is a sometime DJ and record collector and has produced about seventy record covers. While his paintings and prints have become expensive it seems collectors have yet to discover his record cover art.

David Shrigley’s “Worried Noodles” book of lyrics made like a gatefold record cover.

But any art cover needs to be displayed properly. There are many different framing opportunities available from bespoke frames – as shown in the exhibition of Banksy covers pictured above to off-the-shelf wooden frames, some of which may allow for the record to be removed for playing, or more luxurious frames like the Magic Vinyl Display frames seen in the first picture and the second picture from the Andy Warhol cover exhibition.

Richard Forrest, RockDoc

More of RockDoc's blog posts here


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