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The Art of Selling Songs: Music Graphics from the V&A

Drawing from the V&A’s long-standing collection of music graphics, this exhibition explores a century of trends in visual culture, graphic design and consumerism framed within the world of popular music marketing. From early phonograph music cylinder lithographs to contemporary digital art for app albums, the exhibition takes a fascinating journey through changing formats, printing methods, design styles and musical genres from late 19th to early 21st Century.
Among the artwork and objects are late 1800s music hall and ‘smoking concert’ posters, rare record sleeves for artists such as Louis Armstrong and Blue Mitchell, and Op and Pop Art to Art Nouveau-infused psychedelia such as Peter Blake’s ‘Sgt Pepper’ artwork for the Beatles. Andy Warhol’s iconic imagery for the Rolling Stones and Jamie Reid’s punk collages for the Sex Pistols are featured alongside Buzzcocks and Grace Jones record sleeve designs. The postmodern, retro stylings of Britpop in Blur’s Julian Opiedesigned CD case and digital artwork from Bjork’s ‘Biophilia’ app album are displayed, together with contemporary album artwork from the recent resurgence in the vinyl market.
Comprising around 80 iconic works, this exhibition explores how graphic design wraps around music, and considers the past, present and future of the artform.

Exhibition organised by
the Victoria and Albert
Museum, London

Design for 'Lonely in Paris' by Gloss, 2000 
Design by Julie Verhoeven
Paper collage, pen, paint, pastel and correcting fluid on paper
Collection: Victoria and Albert Museum, London
© Julie Verhoeven
Image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum

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