Less Art in Life

Breakfast in America won the 1980 Grammy Award for Best Recording Package, beating out albums by Talking Heads and Led Zeppelin, among others.

I was at my parents house over the weekend and spent a considerable amount of time listing vinyl albums on Amazon.com. It gave me cause to think about how much art has been removed from our lives since music has gone electronic. I remember lamenting that album cover art had been reduced to the size of a compact disc. Now with music confined to small files, any art is smaller than a postage stamp–a small icon on itunes.

On the plane ride home I noticed three or four Amazon Kindles in front of me. I started to think about how book cover art may be lost. This lead to Andy Warhol. and his bringing everyday objects into art and vice versa. I’m not sure he ever worked with book covers, but the yellow banana on the Velvet Underground cover is not something likely to be repeated in its impact anytime soon.

Sorting through the pile of vinyl albums, I came across what I think is perhaps the best example of cover art, Supertramp’s Breakfast in America. That can be argued for sure, but it can’t be argued that today Warhol would have a much more difficult time making art from everyday life just as artists today find it that more difficult to put art into it.

5 thoughts on “Less Art in Life

  1. Hmmm, yes we lost the artwork on album covers but was any of it really that good? I don’t think so. I think the convenience of having digital music files is more important and this is coming from an artist and art history lover. As for books: they don’t seem to be going out of fashion anytime soon. Newspapers yes, but not books. The last I heard, there were no pictures of any sort on Kindle. That lack of functionality alone should prove to be Kindle’s demise, especially with the ipad available, plenty of “art” on there.


  2. I suppose you could argue album art wasn’t fine art, but it was definitely on-par with movie poster art, transportation posters and calendar art, and has a special significance because it chronicled cultural movements.


    1. Yes, I understand; album cover art did have that special significance and in that sense it is sad to see it go. Even though it is “virtual,” doesn’t “new media” fill the niche of chronicling cultural movements.

      Okay, so the Kindle is popular; I guess it just doesn’t appeal to me personally. It seems that items like the ipad will take over as they are a venue for so many other forms of media as well as books. Maybe Kindle will continue to enjoy a large market, if it were up to me, NOT.



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