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Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records

April 19–July 27, 2014

Explore the social and cultural phenomenon of listening to, collecting, and sharing records in Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records. Delve into a uniquely Californian take on this popular medium with experiences ranging from individual and group listening stations to informal talks and live performances. Organized by OMCA Senior Curator of Art René de Guzman, Vinyl opens on April 19, 2014, to coincide with Record Store Day, an annual event that celebrates the unique cultural contributions of independent record retailers worldwide.

In the gallery, an experimental listening environment, you’ll be able to:

  • View notable record collections, photographs of collectors in their homes, and video and audio interviews with record collectors by Raphael Villet.
  • Explore the history of album cover art with a film exploring the medium and an exhibit of notable album cover art.
  • Peruse and listen to a wide range of vinyl records, spanning genres from punk to new wave, hip hop to experimental, with a focus on the independent record industry that blossomed in California from the mid-1970s to present.
  • Enjoy a contemporary artwork by MacArthur “Genius” Award-winning instrument builder, photographer, and composer Walter Kitundu.
  • Learn how to use a record player and how to DJ with instructional videos and record players.
  • Use turntables and headphones at six thematic listening stations to listen to boxes of records assembled by ‘Crate Curators’—influential members of the record community—collectors, DJs, independent record store owners, radio personalities and others. Each crate contains 33 records chosen by the Crate Curators to tell a personal story.
  • Dig through a variety of records and self-curate your own thematic crate, to play individually and for others.
  • Check out a rarely-seen historic and archival film and video explaining the science of recording.
  • Experience dynamic in-gallery events, including a series of talks by musicians, record store owners, and collectors in an innovative group listening and performance space.

Vinyl’s dynamic exhibit space, designed in partnership with Matthew Passmore, Founder and Principal at the San Francisco-based art and design collective Rebar, features standalone listening stations with turntables and album art displays, and comfortable, lounge-like, social gathering areas that allow Museum visitors to control their own music experience in the gallery. With opportunities to play albums and participate in music events and performances, Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records invites visitors to become a part of the exhibition itself.

Vinyl connects to OMCA’s major spring exhibition SuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot through programs and in-gallery experiences celebrating how a range of communities comes together to create shared popular culture.

This exhibition is organized by Senior Curator of Art René de Guzman. OMCA partnered with Matthew Passmore of Rebar to co-design the exhibit space. Rebar, a San Francisco-based art and design studio, is known for founding international Park(ing) Day and investigating new forms of public space. Vinyl is inspired in part by Seattle-based Olson Kundig Architects’ innovative project [storefront].

In-kind support for Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records is generously provided by Amoeba Music.

 Oakland Tribune    East Bay Express  Amoeba Music