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OMCA Explores Social and Cultural Phenomenon of Vinyl Records in New Interactive Exhibition

(Oakland, CA)This spring, the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) presents an interactive listening experience where visitors can explore the social and cultural phenomenon of listening to, collecting, and sharing records. The exhibition, Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records, organized by Senior Curator of Art René de Guzman, 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.

Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records combines an experimental listening environment with gallery space, featuring a range of vinyl records including independent records from the mid-1960s to present; contemporary artwork by MacArthur “Genius” Award-winning instrument builder, photographer, and composer Walter Kitundu; a performance space for engaging talks and performances; and other participatory activities inspired by record culture. Among other things, the exhibition focuses on influential Bay Area independent labels and features notable record collections, displays of album cover art, and interviews with record collectors. The exhibition highlights thematic sections curated by notable members of the record community and opportunities for the public to comment upon and make meaningful groupings of music and sound.  Throughout, the exhibit offers a variety of material that visitors are encouraged to dig through and play individually and for others.

“Records continue to have deep resonance because they provide a social context in which to experience music and sound culture,” says Senior Curator of Art René de Guzman. “The ability to engage with the world in more directly human ways is finding increasing value as much of our lives become translated into data and the virtual in the heightened digital age,” says de Guzman.

In creating Vinyl’s dynamic exhibit space, OMCA partnered with Matthew Passmore, Founder and Principal at the San Francisco-based art and design collective Rebar, well known for founding Park(ing) Day, a global event where artists, designers, and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks. Passmore’s design features experimental listening spaces 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: The Sound and Culture of Records will be on view at the Oakland Museum of California April 19 through July 27, 2014. The exhibition 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]. Additional support for Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records is provided by Amoeba Music.