The Turner Prize was instigated in 1984 by the Tate Gallery in London to recognise an exhibition by a British artist aged under 40. The Prize has been awarded yearly with the exception of 1990, when sponsorship was lacking. The basic statistics are that 6 of the 32 (one further winner was a group of indeterminate gender) prize winners (18.8%) has been male while 42 of 110 nominees (38.2%) have been men.
When I had the idea to try to see if any winners of the Tate Gallery’s Turner Prize has produced any record or CD cover art I could not have imagined that so many had done so. I have tried to research the careers of all the winners and this has turned out to be a major undertaking. In my ignorance I thought that perhaps a handful had some involvement with music but it turns out that there seems to be a unique connection between music and art – nowhere better shown than on record and CD covers. Initially, I had identified four Turner Prize winners who have their art on record or CD covers. Howard Hodgkin, Gilbert and George, Damien Hirst and Martin Creed but when I started researching further I found that many more had been involved in musical projects and many had contributed record cover art. In retrospect, it would have been easier to list the Turner Prize winners who have not been involved with music or produced cover art!
In this first part, I have so far been able to identify twelve Turner Prize winners who have their art on record or CD covers. In alphabetical order: Martin Boyce, Martin Creed, Jeremy Deller, Gilbert and George, Damien Hirst, Howard Hodgkin, Mark Leckey, Grayson Perry, Susan Philipsz, Simon Starling, Wolfgang Tillmans and Mark Wallinger.
The 1985 winner was Howard Hodgkin (born 1932) who was invited by Peter Blake to paint one of the four portraits of John Entwistle on the cover of The Who‘s 1981 “Face Dances” album.
I haven’t been able to find any other contributions to record cover art by Howard Hodgkin.
Gilbert & George won the Prize the following year (1986). In August 2016 they released an LP of their Museum of Modern Art show “The Singing Sculpture” from 1969.
Damien Hirst won the Turner Prize in 1995. He has not only been in a band (Fat Lez), released a single of his own together with Kate Moss, but also been responsible for about thirty record and CD covers for bands such as The Hours (which he signed to his own label ISGOOD), Babyshambles and, of course Fat Lez. He also designed the cover for Dave Stewart‘s “Greetings From the Gutter” album and the singles and EPs taken from it. He was asked to design the cover for Band Aid‘s 20th anniversary re-issue of “Don’t They Know It’s Christmas?” CD but his design was considered too harrowing and was replaced by another.
Here are Dave Stewart‘s “Greetings from the Gutter”
Damien Hirst & Kate Moss “Use Money, Cheat Death”
The Hours‘ singles “Ali in the Jungle“, “Back When You Were Good“, “Love You More“, “Ali in the Jungle, 2” and “Big Black Hole”
And here are some Babyshambles covers including the album “Sequel to the Prequel“, and two limited edition singles, “Nothing Comes to Nothing” and “Fall From Grace”
Next up is musician and Turner Prize winning artist Martin Creed, who won the Turner Prize in 2001. He has released several albums on both CD and vinyl with his own paintings on the covers. The Vinyl Factory has produced limited vinyl editions of at least four of his albums with covers hand painted by Martin himself. These are “Love You To“, “Chicago“, “Mind Trap” and a two-track 12″ single “Work No 1651“. Creed has also painted the cover art for a split single “Where You Go/Dawning” by Creed and Box Codax.
Five hand painted covers by Martin Creed. Clockwise from top left: “Love You to“, “Chicago“, “Work 1651“, “Where You Go/Dreaming” and “Mind Trap“.
2016 Turner Prize winner Helen Marten doesn’t appear to have her art on any record cover yet, but she has contributed the text to one track on Kasia Fudakowski‘s 2014 album “Stoikerinnen“.
Elizabeth Price, the 2012 winner, played guitar and sang in the 80s girl band Talulah Gosh, but has said that she hated being on stage. She left the band in 1987 and the band disbanded the following year. Talulah Gosh released and album, six singles plus one flexi single and there were three compilation albums. While the band’s early singles credit the cover art, later ones name Matthew Fletcher as designer. It seems Elizabeth Price didn’t design any of the band’s record covers.
Martin Boyce (born1967) won the Turner Prize in 2011. In 2008 he designed a limited edition 12″ by the American band The Aluminum Group entitled “Sign for Some Place” there was a record and an anodised plate painted with the words “Sometime Beyond Now“.
The 2010 winner, Susan Philipsz works with sound and video and has released a CD entitled “Ziggy Stardust“and a limited edition vinyl 12″that was untitled.. In 2005 she had a solo exhibition a Malmö konsthall entitled “Stay With Me” and, as I understand it, the exhibition catalogue also contained a CD.
Richard Wright, an artist and musician received the Turner Prize in 2009 for his golden and temporary mural. I have not been able to find any record covers that are attributed to him.
Mark Leckey is also a musician and artist with three records to his credit. Leckey won the Turner Prize in 2008. The limited edition LP “Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore” was released on his own label The Death of Rave in 2012. His next LP was “Hecker Leckey Sound Voice Chimera” in 2015 and the third was “Dream English Kids 1964-1999AD“.
The 2007 Turner Prize winner Mark Wallinger who mainly works in sculpture has designed the cover for Leftfield‘s 2015 album “Alternative Light Source“.
The conceptual artist Simon Starling won the Prize in 2006. It turns out he has been responsible for two record covers.He photographed the cover for Superstar‘s EP “Breathing Space” in 1997 and the cover of a limited edition LP by Oren Ambarchi entitled “Stacte 4“.
Jeremy Deller, the 2004 Prize winner, spent two weeks at The Factory after meeting Andy Warhol in 1986. He has a long musical history. In 1997 he fused the music of a traditional British brass band from Stockton with acid house and Detroit techno music in a project called “Acid Brass“. He contributed the photography to a book with a CD produced by the CCAC Wattis Institute entitled “After the Gold Rush“, a collaboration between Deller and Willam Elliot Whitmore, an American Blues, country and folk singer.
Grayson Perry, the 2003 Turner Prize winner, works mainly in ceramics. Apparently he played in a punk band for a time, but the only connection with record cover art that Sir Peter Blake included his portrait in his 80th birthday re-working of the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover art in 2012.
Wolfgang Tillmans, the German photographer, who divides his time between Berlin and London, won the Turner Prize in 2000. He was the first non-Brit to win the award. Heis a musician, having contributed the opening track to Frank Ocean‘s Album “Endless” and music for some of his own projects. Tillmans collaborated with the Pet Shop Boys on their single “Home and Dry” has released two 12″ singles in his own name and is part of the collective XXX. He has designed many record and CD covers including Sun Electric‘s 1993 “Kitchen” LP, Tiga‘s 2006 single “3 Weeks” as well as a remix of it, John Maus‘ 2012 “A Collection of Rarities and Previously Unreleased Material” and many others.
These are the first twelve Turner Prize winners for whom I have discovered record cover art or at least a music connection. I will continue this post with details of winners of the Prize between 1988 and 1999 in a future post, so don’t go away.