Press release

The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl
opens April 15 at ICA/Boston
First museum exhibition to explore influence of vinyl record on visual art

Related programs include DJ courses, record swaps and talk with album cover designer Vaughn Oliver

Boston, Mass.—This spring, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston opens The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl, the first museum exhibition to explore the culture of vinyl records within the history of contemporary art. 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. 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. On view at the ICA from April 15 through Sept. 5, the exhibition features 99 works by 33 artists, including Jasper Johns, Ed Ruscha, Laurie Anderson, Christian Marclay and Carrie Mae Weems. The Record was organized by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University and is accompanied by a 240-page color catalogue.

“In today’s era of digital, downloadable music, the vinyl record—powerfully marked with history and nostalgia—has become a meaningful vehicle of expression for visual artists,” says Jill Medvedow, director of the ICA. “The Record presents some of the best, rarest and most unexpected examples of artists whose work has been influenced by music and vinyl. We are thrilled to present this exhibition in Boston, giving art and music lovers alike the opportunity to discover, or re-discover, the tremendous artistic response the record has inspired.”  

“For many contemporary artists, the vinyl record looms large, taking on a significance that moves well beyond the medium’s traditional use, and thoroughly into a space of innovative artistic production,” says Senior Curator Jenelle Porter, who coordinated the exhibition for the ICA. “In the hands of visual artists, the vinyl record is used as a metaphor, archive, artifact, icon, or portrait. The exhibition explores the impact of the record on both art and popular culture and the ways in which vinyl has been manipulated, preserved and transformed through art.”

The exhibition includes a broad range of works, such as a hybrid violin and record player, Viophonograph, a seminal work by Laurie Anderson; David Byrne's original life-sized Polaroid photomontage used for the cover of the 1978 Talking Heads album More Songs About Buildings and Food; a monumental column of vinyl records by William Cordova; and an important early work by Dario Robleto, who transformed Billie Holiday records in an alchemic process to create hand-painted buttons. Works by Christian Marclay, who has made art with records for 30 years, include his early and rarely seen Recycled Records as well as his most recent record video, Looking for Love.

Accompanying the exhibition is Cover to Cover—an installation featuring 7 listening stations designed by 9 artists and musicians who each curated a crate of 20 albums. Each artist’s theme and “story’ can be discovered by thumbing through bins containing original albums, examining the covers and playing the records. Visitors will peruse the crates and with headphones listen to records on record players.

Exhibition-related programs

ICA/AIGA Design Series: Vaughan Oliver
Wednesday, April 27, 6:30 pm

British graphic designer Vaughan Oliver’s distinctive and prolific album cover design work is internationally celebrated. Oliver has created revolutionary designs for the music industry, including album covers for Cocteau Twins, Pixies, and The Breeders.

Artist Talk: Dario Robleto
Saturday, May 7, 2 pm
Free with museum admission
Like an alchemist in a laboratory, The Record artist Dario Robleto melts, grinds and mixes music-related materials to illustrate that the physical record is as important as the song in the grooves. In this ICA lecture, meet Robleto and hear more about how his lifelong interest in music, including DJ culture, continues to inform his work. Then join the artist in the galleries as he answers your questions regarding his work in the exhibition.

Gallery Talks
Annie Balliro, Hard Rock Café International
Saturday, May 14, 2 pm

Meet Hard Rock Café’s Annie Balliro and friends in this entertaining show-and-tell discussion regarding the history of album cover art. Balliro is a 15+ year veteran of the music industry and oversees the worldwide marketing strategy and programming for over 150 Hard Rock Cafe, Hotel & Casino locations for Philanthropy, Memorabilia and Artist Relations.

Jenelle Porter, ICA Senior Curator
Sunday, May 22, 2 pm
Free with museum admission
Let the most recent addition to the ICA curatorial team walk you through The Record exhibition! 

Record Sales and Vinyl Events
Fridays, June 3, 10, 17 & 24, 6-9 pm

Free with museum admission

DJ Nights
Fridays, August 5, 12, & 26, 7:30-11 pm
$10 Members/Students; $15 general admission

Family Programs

School Vacation Week Family Activities
Tuesday—Thursday, April 19—21, 10-3 pm
Free with museum admission.

ICA Play Date/Gramophone to Vinyl
Saturday June 25, 10-4 pm
Free for families
Adult Courses

DJ 101
Tuesdays, May 3 and 10, 6:30 - 9 pm
Fee: $100 members, students and seniors; $125 nonmembers
Register at or call the ICA Box Office at 617-478-3103
No matter if you listen to the Rolling Stones, Run-DMC, or the Black Eyed Peas—DJ 101 provides the hands-on instruction you’ll need to learn the basics of DJing. Using vinyl records, participants will learn to mix, transition between songs, and scratch. No prior experience necessary. 

Influence of Music on Art: Musical Fragments-Tracks-Breaks
Saturdays, May 7 and 14, 10 am – 12 pm
$55 members, students and seniors; $70 nonmembers. Participants receive a 10% discount at the Water Café and ICA Store; may not be combined with any other offer.
Register at or call the ICA Box Office at 617-478-3103
This class explores the parallel relationship between visual artists and musicians, such as Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground, and Raymond Pettibon and Black Flag. Discussions will also focus on contemporary artists who are influenced by music in their work in performance, sculpture, painting, and drawing.

Instructed by Raul Gonzalez, who was named Best Visual Artist in the Boston Phoenix’s Best of 2010. A winner of Artadia and Boston Art Awards, Gonzalez is a founding member of The Miracle Five artist collective. He has taught at the Museum of Fine Arts and Boston Architectural College. 

Teen Programs

DJ School 101
Tuesdays, March 1 – April 26, 4 – 6 pm

Free for Boston Public School students; $100 members; $150 nonmembers. Open to high school students. All equipment is provided, no prior experience necessary.
For registration information, call at 617-478-3136.
This introductory DJ workshop introduces students to basic skills necessary to spin vinyl while learning the “art” of DJing. Students will learn lingo, history, methods, styles, musical phrasing, DJ set/routine, special effects, and sound shaping. The class will also visit the current exhibition, The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl. This workshop culminates in a performance at the ICA.

The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl was organized by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University and is curated by Trevor Schoonmaker, Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Curator of Contemporary Art.

The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl is made possible by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Major support is provided by Marilyn M. Arthur, the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, Duke University’s Council for the Arts, the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, Charles Weinraub and Emily Kass, E. Blake Byrne, Barbra and Andrew Rothschild, Christen and Derek Wilson, and the Graduate Liberal Studies program at Duke University. This program is supported in part by public funds from the Netherlands Cultural Services. Additional support is provided by Dr. and Mrs. Robert F. Allen, Catherine Karmel, Peggy and John Murray, Francine and Benson Pilloff, Caroline and Arthur Rogers, Olympia Stone and Sims Preston, Angela O. Terry, Richard Tigner, Nancy Palmer Wardropper, Peter Lange and Lori Leachman, Lauren and Neill Goslin, and Merge Records.

Media sponsor: The Boston Phoenix

About the ICA
An influential forum for multi-disciplinary arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art has been at the leading edge of art in Boston for more than 70 years. Like its iconic building on Boston's waterfront, the ICA offers new ways of engaging with the world around us. Its exhibitions and programs provide access to contemporary art, artists, and the creative process, inviting audiences of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the excitement of new art and ideas. The ICA, located at 100 Northern Avenue, is open Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 am - 5 pm; Thursday and Friday, 10 am - 9 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, 10 am - 5 pm. Admission is $15 adults, $10 seniors and students, and free for members and children 17 and under. ICA Free Admission for Youth is sponsored by State Street Foundation. Free admission on Target Free Thursday Nights, 5 - 9 pm. Free admission for families at ICA Play Dates (2 adults + children 12 and under) on the last Saturday of the month. For more information, call 617-478-3100 or visit our Web site at
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