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Seen + Heard: Works and Multiples from the Collection

Cheap Thrills

Big Brother and the Holding Company / Cheap Thrills 1968 / Vinyl LP record: cardboard cover / Purchased 2013 / Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Research Library Collection / Reproduced with the permission of rcrumb.com

Unknown Pleasures

Joy Division / Unknown Pleasures 1979 / Vinyl LP record: cardboard cover / Purchased 2013 / Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Research Library Collection / Reproduced with the permission of Peter Saville Studio

15 March – 3 August 2014
Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA)

Opening Hours
Daily: 10.00am – 5.00pm

The exhibition, 'Seen + Heard: Works and Multiples from the Collection' draws on major artworks, installations and multiples (numbered editions) from the Gallery’s Collection, which address crossovers between popular culture, music, sound and visual art.

In recent decades the Gallery has acquired a number of works that either directly incorporate sound as a component or indirectly refer to sound and music. For example, some of the first major works acquired to address this nexus (image-sound-object) are videos, prints, photographs and sculptural objects by the Korean artist, Nam Jun Paik, (1932-2006). His pioneering work in the field of sculptural sound installations, video works, performance and multimedia cross-overs position him as one of the most significant and influential innovators of the twentieth century.

Gifts of Fluxus multiples and works by the late Veronese publisher Francesco Conz in 1995 and 1997, added a unique dimension to the Gallery’s Collection. The largest collection of such material in an Australian art museum, the gifts included sound-related multiples and works by Nam June Paik, Philip Corner, Emmett Williams and Milan Knizak. Prompted in part by this collection of Fluxus works, the Brisbane-based artist and collector Scott Redford has added to this distinctive dimension of the Gallery’s Collection by generously gifting vinyl records, multiples and pop culture ephemera to QAGOMA’s Collection and the Research Library Collection.

The exhibition features objects (such as records and musical scores), musical performance and sound installations, including Candice Breitz’s King (a portrait of Michael Jackson) 2005. A significant component is a collection of vinyl LP records. When the ‘long-playing’ vinyl record became widely available in the 1950s, it represented a revolutionary format for the transmission of recorded sound and, increasingly throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, it provided a template for designers and artists in the creation of unique imagery and graphic styles.

In an age of digital music downloads and streaming technologies, the physicality of the vinyl LP record is its defining characteristic. As a ‘canvas’ for designers and artists, the possibilities of the record cover were most creatively explored between the late 1960s and 1980s. The record covers featured in the exhibition have defined and expanded the parameters of cover design and represent a variety of approaches and styles by artists and designers from the 1950s to the present. For many collectors and consumers of LPs, record covers represented their most direct engagement with visual art and design.

Sound and music are fundamental human experiences. New technologies have transformed their production dramatically and in the hands of artists, they continue represent a rich and ever-evolving field of creative practice in which the experimental and the popular increasingly merge and blur. In recent years a number of museum exhibitions have explored this fertile and inherently popular field of cultural enquiry including Sonic Boom: The Art of Sound, the Hayward Gallery, London, 2000, Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll Since 1967, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 2007, The Record: Contemporary Art  and Vinyl, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, 2010 -11 and most recently,  Soundings: A Contemporary Score at the Museum of Modern Art, New York  2013.

Read more about Seen + Heard' on our blog |'Sounding out the Collection' 

Past Programs and Events
Collectors in conversation | 1.30pm Saturday 15 March | ‘Seen and Heard’ exhibition spaces
Local music industry identities and avid record collectors, in conversation with David Burnett, Curator, International Art, QAGOMA, share insights into their collections and their own LP vinyl records included in the ‘Seen and Heard’ exhibition. Speakers include John Willsteed, Ed Kuepper, Sean Sennett and Paul Curtis.
Artist talk: Lawrence English | 2.30pm Saturday 15 March | ‘Seen and Heard’ exhibition spaces
Join composer, media artist and curator Lawrence English in conversation with David Burnett, as they explore the complex relationship between sound and object, reflecting on works in the exhibition, and Lawrence’s own multidisciplinary practice.
Following the talk, take part in an interactive sound project with Lawrence English: ‘Matters for Memory’
Participate in the creation of an immersive layered soundscape comprised of vinyl and other rotating media. The project traces out the rotating patterns of phonography and its fragmentation over the second half of the 20th century.