RPM: The Lost Art of LP Covers
Where: Deluge Contemporary Art
When: Gala opening tomorrow, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Runs Wednesdays through Saturdays until July 7
Admission is free.
Todd Eacrett dropped the A-word at least three times while discussing RPM: The Lost Art of LP Covers, an upcoming exhibition at Deluge Contemporary Art.
No, the president of the gallery's board of directors didn't treat the Times Colonist to a profanity-laced tirade.
Instead, he emphasized that the annual fundraiser and show is "accessible" - itself a curse word in some art circles - in terms of content and purchase prices for items on display.
The exhibition, which opens tomorrow and runs until July 7, will feature works from of approximately 45 artists. Each has submitted an original piece that pays homage to one of the best-loved forms of 20th century pop art, the decorated slip of cardboard that serves as a sheath for a vinyl record.
"It's a fun show," Eacrett said. "It's one of those things the public and the media can get their heads around better than something that's more conceptual or abstract."
Though he hadn't yet seen all of this year's entries, Eacrett, an artist himself, said some pieces resemble actual album covers more than others.
"Some artists will work on an old record cover that they'll paint or do a collage on," he said.
"Other pieces will be more of a point of departure, let's say, where there's a sculptor or photographer that's working in their own format but using it in a different way."
Eacrett said a key inspiration for the exhibition, which Deluge staged for the first time in the late-'90s, was a longing for an era before CDs and digital music, when designs that accompanied music were larger and more tangible.
"Some people want to have that object. A record is a bigger object than a CD and there's more room for art.
"Even at the time when we started, it had a sort of nostalgic aspect," he added. "More so then [than now], the record cover seemed kind of arcane or old fashioned."
This nostalgia, Eacrett said, has spurred a resurgence in the demand for LPs.
Hoping to capitalize on the format's growing mystique, many folk, rock and hip-hop acts release vinyl versions of their latest albums. And audiophiles across North America comb dusty independent record shops for collectible records.
Eacrett said Deluge is hardly the only gallery hanging album covers - be they real or imaginative facsimiles - on its walls.
"In fact, there have been shows over the years at some pretty prestigious museums of real record covers."
But unlike works on display in more illustrious venues, each of RPM's one-of-a-kind pieces will be available for purchase for $60. Proceeds will go to operation of the gallery, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
In years past, Deluge has set the standard sticker price at $33 or $45, alluding to the rotation speeds on a record player.
"We've raised it to $60, which I know doesn't reference a turntable speed," he said. "$78 was too big of a jump, especially in these economic times."
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