The Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery at Stony Brook University New York recently held an exhibit presenting the world of rock album cover art. The exhibit was titled On The Record and ran from July 19th through July 39th 2016. The exhibit ran in conjunction with the 21st annual Stony Brook Film Festival. Housed in Stony Brook University’s Staller Center, the exhibit placed over a thousand rock album covers on the walls of the gallery for visitors to enjoy. The majority of the rock album covers represented the period between 1960 and 1980. However, there were also some great rare album covers from the 1950’s on display. Even recent album releases from the past few years were also displayed. Nonetheless it was the 1960’s and 197o’s that figured most prominently in the exhibit.
The interest in vinyl has grown dramatically in the past five years. Young teens, especially young female teens have become collectors of vinyl records. Industry reports have shown that vinyl sales have gained incredible ground on catching up to CD sales. Exhibits like On the Record have come at the perfect time to increase the interest in the great format of the vinyl record.
Anyone who had visited the Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery would not have been disappointed. The exhibit featured many rare album covers. The Rolling Stones banned Some Girls album cover hung on the wall featuring both the original and revised covers. Blind Faith’s original banned cover was on display. What may shock some uneducated fans was the display John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Two Virgin’s album cover that was presented in a glass case. The original album was housed in a brown paper cover which only displayed their faces. However, the highlight of the exhibit was the display of a rare Beatles album cover. One of the most sought after and rare album covers of all time was wonderfully displayed in a glass case at the gallery. The original banned cover of Yesterday and Today was hung next to the standard issue of the album. It would be easy to argue that it was the first time anyone who had visited the art gallery had ever seen that cover in person.
The Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery On The Record exhibit also featured two listening stations in which visitors could sit and play a handful of vinyl records that were left to be spun. The first station featured a vintage Fisher Price record player that was used during the 1970’s mostly for children records. The stylus on the Fisher Price record player was a thick needle that no record collector would ever use on their cherished vinyl albums. The Fisher Price resembled the vintage Close and Play turntables that were a real no-no for album spinning. The second listening station actually featured a cart of records and a decent turntable and speakers and some lush seating.
On the back wall of the exhibit was a display of album covers by bands that performed at Stony Brook University over the past fifty years. Stony Brook University is located in Stony Brook, New York. The Long Island campus is about sixty miles from New York City. It may surprise some people, but some of the greatest legends of rock and roll have performed at Stony Brook University. The Doors, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, The Allman Brothers Band, Lou Reed, Blue Oyster Cult, Jethro Tull, Joni Mitchell, The Police, The Ramones, Pink Floyd and many more have all graced the Stony Brook University concert stage. The University continues to bring big names to their concert stage at the Staller Center and at their new Island Federal Credit Union Arena. The University’s radio station WUSB also promotes a smaller concert series entitled the Sunday Street Acoustic Series. The concert series features a wide variety of well-known folk and rock artists in an intimate concert setting.
The wonderful rock album cover art exhibit at Stony Brook University is a shining example of the University’s dedication to the arts. In recent years, Stony Brook University has become known around the world as a leading institution in research, and studies in the arts and sciences.
The On the Record exhibit at the Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery at Stony Brook University was organized by Samantha Clink, Karen Levitov and Paul Newland. The album covers were lent to the Gallery by private collectors including Charlie Backfish,(Director of the Sunday Street concert Series,Stony Brook University Professor and WUSB radio host of Sunday Street) Scott Bella and Bill Amutis. Stony Brook University’s Isobel Breheny and Norm Prusslin also collaborated on the exhibit. Student volunteer credit should also be given to Shari Cummings, Mike Gusev, Peter Jasko and Emily Sobel