ON THE RECORD: Album Cover Art

Andy Warhol's design for John Lennon's Menlove Ave. album and Warhol's print of a banana on the cover of The Velvet Underground & Nico
Andy Warhol’s design for John Lennon’s Menlove Ave. and Warhol’s print on the cover of The Velvet Underground & Nico
Exhibition: July 19-30, 2016
Reception: Thursday, July 21, 6-8pm
In conjunction with the opening of the Stony Brook Film Festival
Q&A with Albert Bouchard: Friday, July 22, 6pm
Founding Blue Öyster Cult band member and current Blue Coupe drummer, singer and songwriter
Special Hours: The Gallery will be open Tuesday-Friday, Noon-4pm and each evening of the Stony Brook Film Festival beginning one hour before the first screening.
Miles David, Tutu, cover design by Eiko Ishioka and photographed by Irving Penn
Miles Davis, Tutu, cover design by Eiko Ishioka and photographed by Irving Penn

The cover art on a record album grabs our attention visually and provides an emotional connection to the music we love. Album covers with original designs first appeared in 1938 and have become as much of an artistic statement as the music itself. Covers by renowned graphic designers, photographers and artists have won Grammy awards for their artistic designs and have a lasting impact on their fans.

ON THE RECORD includes over 1000 iconic album covers created by renowned graphic designers and illustrators including Alex Steinweiss, Mati Klarwein, Steve Hardstaff, Roger Dean, Jim Flora and David Stone Martin; famous photographers including Robert Mapplethorpe, Brian Duffy, Pete Turner, Herman Leonard, Irving Penn and Charles Stewart, and well-known artists like Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Longo, Richard Prince, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kehinde Wiley.

David Bowie, Aladdin Sane, cover by Brian Duffy
David Bowie, Aladdin Sane, cover by Brian Duffy

Featuring albums on loan from Stony Brook University’s WUSB radio station, as well as rare and limited edition album covers borrowed from private collectors, the exhibition is a testament to the broad range of artistic and musical styles across generations. From 1950s jazz to 1980s alternative music to 2010s pop, each album cover embodies not only the specific musical artist and genre it encases, but the visual culture of its time and place.

A special tribute wall to artists and groups that have performed at Stony Brook University include albums by U2, Lou Reed, Cyndi Lauper, Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers, The Who, Bob Dylan, Blue Oyster Cult, B-52’s and Talking Heads, among dozens of others.

ON THE RECORD: ALBUM COVER ART is presented in conjunction with the Stony Brook Film Festival at the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University. Click here for film screenings and information. The Gallery will be open each night during the Film Festival.

SBU bands detail
Detail of wall of albums by bands that have played at Stony Brook University

ON THE RECORD is organized by Samantha Clink, Karen Levitov and Paul Newland. Special thanks to our collaborators at Stony Brook University’s WUSB, especially Isobel Breheny, Norm Prusslin, and student volunteers Shari Cummings, Mike Gusev, Peter Jasko and Emily Sobel. The Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery would also like to thank the private collectors who lent their albums to the exhibition, including Bill Amutis, Charlie Backfish, Scott Bell and others.

The 2015-2016 Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery schedule is made possible by a generous grant from the Paul W. Zuccaire Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the County of Suffolk and the Friends of Staller Center.


If you like On The Record don’t forget to visit our neighboring organization, The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook. Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience and Long Island in the Sixties will both be on view through the Summer.