Skip to main content

The Record: Contemporary Art & Vinyl

Original Traveling Exhibition

September 02, 2010 – February 06, 2011

Transformative Power of the Vinyl Record

The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl was 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 work with records as their subject or medium, this groundbreaking exhibition examined the record’s transformative power from the 1960s to the present. Through sculpture, installation, drawing, painting, photography, sound work, video and performance, The Record combined contemporary art with outsider art, audio with visual and fine art with popular culture.

The exhibition featured work by 41 artists, including rising stars in the contemporary art world (william cordova, Robin Rhode, Dario Robleto), outsider artists (Mingering Mike), well-established artists (Jasper Johns, Ed Ruscha, Carrie Mae Weems) and artists whose work was shown in a U.S. museum for the first time (Kevin Ei-ichi deForest, Jeroen Diepenmaat, Taiyo Kimura, Lyota Yagi). Trevor Schoonmaker, Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Curator of Contemporary Art at the Nasher Museum, organized the exhibition. The Record opened at the Nasher Museum and traveled to the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, the Miami Art Museum, now the Perez Art Museum and the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle.

Exhibition Catalogue

The Record was accompanied by a fully illustrated 216-page color catalogue distributed by Duke University Press and available at the Nasher Museum Store ($45, paperback). It includes an introduction by curator Trevor Schoonmaker, statements by each artist in the exhibition and essays that balance personal reflection with critical exploration and scholarly analysis. Contributors include Jeff Chang, Vivien Goldman, Jennifer Kabat, Mark Katz, Josh Kun, Barbara London, Mac McCaughan, Carlo McCormick, Charles McGovern, Mark Anthony Neal, Piotr Orlov, Luc Sante, Trevor Schoonmaker and Dave Tompkins.

Best, Rarest & Most Unexpected

Duke students enjoy The Record at a party for first-year students. Photo by J Caldwell.
Duke students enjoy The Record at a party for first-year students. Photo by J Caldwell.

Since the heyday of vinyl, and through its decline and recent resurgence, a surprising number of artists have worked with vinyl records, Schoonmaker pointed out. The Record presented some of the best, rarest and most unexpected examples. The artists in the exhibition use the vinyl record as metaphor, archive, artifact, icon, portrait or transcendent medium.

The exhibition included 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 cordova; and an important early work by 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, included his early and rarely seen Recycled Records as well as his most recent record video, Looking for Love.

Featured Featured Video

Satch Hoyt: Celestial Vessel

by Nasher Museum Duration 04m 00s Published

Two Major Commissions

The Nasher Museum commissioned two works for The Record. Berlin-based artist Satch Hoyt created a 16-foot canoe made of red 45-rpm records with an original soundscape during his 2009 artist residency at Duke. New York artist Xaviera Simmons created 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 were pressed onto a 12-inch record and played with her installation.

Other artists in the exhibition included Felipe Barbosa, Moyra Davey, Sean Duffy, Yukio Fujimoto, Jack Goldstein, Gregor Hildebrandt, Tim Lee, Ralph Lemon, David McConnell, Dave Muller, Ujino Muneteru, Malick Sidibé, Mark Soo, Meredyth Sparks, Su-Mei Tse, Fatimah Tuggar and Alice Wagner.

Cover to Cover

Accompanying The Record was Cover to Cover, an installation that featured eight artists and musicians who each curated a crate of 20 albums which told a story through the cover visuals. Visitors perused the crates and listened
with headphones to vinyl records on turntables. Crate artists included Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Rodney Graham, Harrison Haynes, Vik Muniz and Cafi and 9th Wonder.

Featured Featured Video

Mingering Mike

by Nasher Museum Duration 03m 56s Published

Featured Featured Video

David McConnell: A Portrait in Sound

by Nasher Museum Duration 08m 030s Published

Featured Featured Articles

The Record Draws Artists, Celebrities & Luminaries

We knew The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl would attract folks who had never been to the Nasher Museum. We did not expect such a glittering list of famous artists, writers and musicians! The photo album of lum...


The New York Times: What's On

Read the preview that appeared in The New York Times.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter