Though the way we listen to music has changed, it was vinyl that first freed music from the confines of the dance hall and made it accessible to everyone. The invention of the record player had one of the most enduring influences on pop culture ever.
In celebration of the record's lasting impact on history, the Miami Art Museum is setting the Big Mango's roof on fire with "The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl," a groundbreaking exhibit and citywide celebration of the iconic platter and its transformative sway on several generations from the '60s to the present.
It is the first show of its kind ever held in a museum, and drops the needle this Saturday night from 6 to 9 p.m. with a panel discussion featuring exhibiting artists and curators, followed by an opening reception with DJ Le Spam on the turntable and cocktails by Smirnoff.
Featuring close to 100 works by 41 international artists, the sprawling exhibit includes sound pieces, sculpture, installation, drawing, painting, photography, video, and performance, in a broad arsenal of artistic approaches and media.
The blockbuster ode to the record adopts an intergenerational approach to the subject and seamlessly incorporates audio with visual riffs and chords of pop culture.
Organizers say that in addition to discovering gems like Christian Marclay's rarely seen Recycled Records, visitors at MAM can listen to music in guest curated album crates stocked with tunes selected by some of the planet's top music and art figures.
"This exhibition "imagines the record as a lens through which artists view the world, and demonstrates art's singular ability to reveal the extraordinary, the elemental power of everyday objects by transforming them into something new," explains Trevor Schoonmaker, curator of contemporary art at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University who organized the show.
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On view you'll also find works ranging from Laurie Anderson's hybrid violin and record player to a life-sized Polaroid photomontage by David Bowie to an early piece by Dario Robleto who fashioned hand-painted buttons out of old Billie Holiday records.
"Vinyl records belong to the category of objects that have managed to play particularly significant roles in cultural history," observes Rene Morales, MAM's associate curator. "This exhibition is an homage to a technology that has enriched our lives, expressed through the work of diverse artists who share a deep love for vinyl."
Panel Discussion begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 17th. Tickets cost $10 and seating is limited. "The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl," Through June 8. Miami Art Museum 101 West Flagler Street, Miami. Call 305-375-3000 or visit maiamiartmuseum.org.