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CULTURE

Two New Andy Warhol Books: The Record Covers and Warhol Live

by Doug Black
on 25 November 2008
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Much is written of the late Andy Warhol. Too much, you might argue. And while the newest pair of titles cover some of the same well-trodden ground, they limit their focus to one specific aspect of the eclectic artist's career. "Warhol Live" and "Andy Warhol: The Record Covers, 1949-1987"&mdashboth published by Prestel&mdashexplore the Pop artist's relationship with the music and bands he loved and the way it informed his art.

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"Record Covers" is a collection of all fifty album covers&mdashfront and back, in the original LP dimensions&mdashall designed by Andy Warhol. Listed in sequential order, the covers are accompanied by more than 100 additional images of related work, inspirations and studies. Naturally, he'll always be remembered for the iconic Velvet Underground banana cover and the Rolling Stones' pelvic "Sticky Fingers" design. But the book also looks at the lesser-known early covers that Warhol designed for compilations and Jazz musicians like Thelonius Monk and Count Basie.

While more conventionally oriented, the early designs shed light on his creative process and gift for distilling music down to rudimentary imagery. The covers take adopt more bold colors and Pop Art characteristics as time progresses until his death in 1987. And it's strangely fitting that his last record cover was a compilation record for the fledgling MTV, a network that served as an exemplar of some of many of Warhol's cultural philosophies.

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"Warhol Live" is the volume that accompanies the current exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. It chronicles the myriad ways that music and dance pervaded Warhol's life and work from his childhood through 1987. In addition to the aforementioned album covers, Warhol produced bands, collaborated with choreographers show concert videos and created multimedia presentations. The book depicts these with 350 illustrations, along with essays and interviews with former friends and Warhol experts.

"The Record Covers" and "Warhol Live" can both be purchased from the Amazon. The "Warhol Live" exhibition runs through 18 January 2009 before traveling to San Francisco's de Young and the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

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