organized by Matthew Higgs, Dave Muller, and Bob Nickas
Writing by: Mark E. Smith, Noel Coward, Allen Ginsberg, Elliot Murphy, Moondog, Claude Bessy, Jon Savage, Andrew Loog Oldham, Art & Language, John Peel, Vince Aletti, Yoko Ono, Hannah Charlton, Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Marian Zazeela, Kevin Rowlands, Paul Williams, amongst others.
For recordings by: The Fall, Marlene Dietrich, Velvet Underground, Psychic TV, Throbbing Gristle, Wire, The Rolling Stones, The Red Crayola, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Giorgio Moroder, Robert Wyatt, Max Roach, Ann Peebles, Big Black, The Temptations, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Sun Ra, La Monte Young, Dexys Midnight Runners, Terry Riley, Flying Lizards, amongst others.
Sleeve Notes is the first exhibition to consider and privilege ‘writing’ produced specifically for – and/or appearing on – record sleeves: a somewhat loose literary ‘genre’ that adopts many idiosyncratic forms inc. essays, documentary accounts, anthropological narratives, historical reevaluations, lyrics, artist’s statements, manifesto-like texts, poetry, etc. Sleeve Notes seeks to consider language that has been produced directly in response to – or in reaction to – an aural form (recorded sound/music), that is subsequently set within a highly specific visual/aesthetic environment (a record sleeve.) Sleeve Notes is ultimately concerned with the ‘spaces’ – emotional, psychological, ideological, intellectual, generational, etc. – that exist between disciplines such as writing/literature, music/composition/performance, and art/design/graphics.
The exhibition has been organized by White Columns’ director Matthew Higgs, the Los Angeles-based artist Dave Muller, and the New York-based curator and writer Bob Nickas – who have often alluded to music and musical sub-cultures in their respective art, writings, and exhibition projects. Each has made a personal selection of between 15 and 20 examples of inspired – and inspiring – texts that appear on record sleeves: the 12″ x 12″ size of a typical record sleeve invariably encourages a conciseness of language that is peculiar to the format. Sleeve Notes is unapologetically analogue, acknowledging – in the age of the digital download – the increasingly anachronistic nature of such textual and visual ‘support’ material. The actual exhibition consists of a highly eclectic group of approx. vintage 50 record sleeves which are displayed and arranged chronologically in the gallery space. The show will feature within it a discrete ‘survey’ of select examples of the exemplary sleeve notes written in the 1970s and 1980s by the New York-based writer Vince Aletti.