"The 1950s were a pivotal time for record art. The music industry was just beginning to establish rules for how the LP format could (and should) be merchandised, which left quite a bit of room for experimentation with cover graphics. Most were designed to appeal to Middle America, with a simple masthead across the top detailing the artist and title and, more often than not, a photograph of that artist to fill the space. But in some places — mainly Jazz releases, but also some Classical titles — a Modernist approach was able to seep into the lexicon.
"A few record publishers were willing to give their designers the leeway to emote the music through sleeve graphics. In the era of hard-edge painting, Abstract Expressionism, and other Modernist art movements, non-representational abstraction provided an alternate way for designers of the period to communicate the feeling of the music, and use shape to describe sound.
"The Shape of Sound is a survey of these types of works from my personal collection, gathered over the past couple decades. It is by no means a comprehensive study of abstract record sleeves, but simply provides a window of 100 examples through which we can view some of the solutions that 20 designers came up with to solve increasingly complex problems, resolving formal Modernist approaches with a need to connect with the consumer."
– Scott Lindberg, Curator of The Shape of Sound
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