Peter Liversidge–Exhibition and Record Cover Art.

Bonniers Konsthall in Stockholm shows a wide variety of art exhibitions. I saw Turner Prize winner Susan Phillipz “Lost in Space” exhibition there a couple of years ago and I went to see the gallery’s latest exhibition by British artist Peter Liversidge. I hadn’t heard of him before seeing the exhibition. Liversidge’s preferred medium is providing “proposals”–he types suggestions for art happenings on A4 paper on his Olivetti portable typewriter. The proposals range from simple orders to suggestions that are complex and possibly impossible to realise. The exhibition at Bonniers konsthall has 45 of Liversidge’s “proposals” as its starting point. These 45 proposals are neatly framed A4 papers with his suggestions for projects arranged on one wall in three rows of fifteen frames. On the floor in front of the frames is a pile of A2 papers each printed with “Let’s take a walk together”. Visitors to the exhibition are invited to take one or more of these posters home. There  is a shelf on the wall opposite the framed proposals with various implements standing on it, each covered in postage stamps. Apparently Liversidge often uses the postal service to send articles to his exhibitions. Bonniers konsthall allows the postman/postwoman to arrange the item that is being delivered on the shelf. Thus the postal service acts as  sort of exhibition curator.

One suspects that some objects might possibly get lost in the post–nobody knows which, if any, don’t make to their destination, adding mystery to the exhibition.The idea of sending repeated missives through the post reminded me immediately of Japanese -American artist On Kawara (1932-2014), who throughout his career sent postcards to friends and institutions with stamped messages. One series stated “I got up at—-o’clock”, and another simply stated “I am still alive”.

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One of On Kawara’s postcards from the “I got up at…” series.

The gallery shows a film of another of Liversidge’s projects. He asked a class at an east London school to make a protest about any subject they felt strongly about. It had to be the children’s project–not one suggested by teachers of adults. The film I saw was a protest about dogs fouling pavements with placards saying things like “clean up after your dog”. This protest was stages at the Whitechapel Gallery in 2014.

Another of Liversidge’s ongoing projects is collecting artifacts that look like faces and one room of the exhibition is devoted to found objects that resemble faces and masks that Liversidge has produced from such objects.

A day or two after I seen the Liversidge exhibition, I got an email about the best record cover designs of 2018 and was surprised when I saw a cover bearing one of Liversidge’s masks among the nominated covers. The album is “Double Negative” by the American band Low (released in September 2018). Liversidge has also designed the cover for the band’s 2015 album “Ones and Sixes”, and it transpires that he has designed at least two other record sleeves: one for High Plains’ album “Cinderland” (2017) and another “Find the Ways” (2017) by Allred & Broderick.

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Low’s “Double Negative” with cover art by Peter Liversidge.

I always find it interesting when “fine” artists design record covers. There’s a long list of them ranging from Sir Peter Blake to Damien Hirst via Andy Warhol. I’m looking forward to seeing all Peter Liversidge’s record covers.

 

The Cover Design of John Lennon’s “Imagine” Album. Not Warhol after all?

Yesterday I went to a couple of art exhibitions. First I went to Sven-Harry’s to see the excellent Jenny Nyström exhibition and then went on to Bonnier’s gallery to see what was on there. But it’s not the exhibitions that I want to talk about here. To get to the exhibition rooms at the Bonnier’s gallery one has to go through the shop. They usually have loads of interesting books for sale there and yesterday was no exception. I saw Rock Graphics Originals by Peter Golding & Barry Miles with great poster and record cover art and a book Emigre Fonts 1986-2016 cataloguing Emigre Magazines typefaces. I still have two or three copies of Emigre with David Carson’s often confusing fonts.

The third book to catch my eye was Imagine — John Yoko with the famous Imagine album’s cover image on the front. I had not seen the book, published in October 2018, before, so I started rummaging through it to see if Yoko discussed the album’s cover art.

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Yoko Ono’s book “Imagine John Yoko”.

And, on page 419, she goes into explicit detail. She took the Polaroid photos of John and saw a reflection of his face with a cloud in front and photographed that. The album credits list Yoko Ono as designer, too, so I probably should have accepted her word.

However, collectors of Andy Warhol’s record cover art noticed that a couple of Andy Warhol’s Polaroid pictures of John, sold at Christie’s in 2013, looked suspiciously like the photo used on the Imagine album cover and were advertised as “Two unused and previously unseen photographic proofs of artwork for the front cover of John Lennon’s 1971 album Imagine“.

Close examination of the “Warhol” Polaroids, show that John’s mouth appears dfferent from the picture on the album cover. So Christie’s comment of “Unused proofs” might suggest that Warhol’s Polaroids are alternatives to Yoko’s. Could Yoko have shown her Polaroids to Andy Warhol, or perhaps she gave him copies–or did Warhol take his own Polaroids and give them to Yoko?

Should we remove Lennon’s “Imagine” album (and the various singles that use the same picture) from the list of Andy Warhol’s record covers and credit the cover design to Yoko Ono as she claims?