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Every time we play a song from a record, we are participating in a multimillion-year transference of energy, from the life-giving light of the sun to the heartbreaking sound waves of any number of singers.

Dario Robleto
Dario Robleto, I Want You To Say Goodbye To Substance, 2004. Screenprint on paper, edition 22/35, 18 × 18 inches (45.72 × 45.72 cm). Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Gift of Dario Robleto, 2021.17.1. © Dario Robleto.

Dario Robleto’s multidisciplinary practice combines references to history, music, philosophy, science, religion and popular culture.

Vinyl records are often present in Robleto’s work. I Want You To Say Goodbye To Substance is part of an earlier body of work exploring vinyl as a format for social and political dialogue.

Visually inspired by the vibrant patterns of 1960s and ‘70s-era album covers, this imagined LP cover depicts a silhouetted figure encircled by the phrase “I Want You.”

The figure’s outstretched arms form a radiating, sun-like peace sign in the center, emblematic of the psychedelic visuals and nonviolent lifestyle espoused by hippie culture. Robleto’s work is curiously oxymoronic; “I Want You” evokes the phrase emblazoned above Uncle Sam on World War I recruitment posters, yet the work’s iconography derives from a pacifistic counterculture that criticized the Vietnam War.

This conflation of opposing perspectives allows Robleto to assume the role of a DJ by sampling and remixing histories, creating a portrait of competing ideologies in the United States through album design.

I Want You To Say Goodbye To Substance joins two other works in the collection by Robleto that relate to music.

Learn more about the contemporary collection.


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