Artist Buys White Albums for Art and Commerce

January 16, 2013 | Andy Cush

Artist Rutherford Chang really likes the Beatles’ 1968 self-titled album, colloquially known as the “White Album.” So much so, in fact, that he’s amassed over 650 first-pressings of the record, and is actively seeking more with “We Buy White Albums,” his new exhibit at Recess Gallery.

Chang has established an “anti-store” for the album, in which he stores his extensive collection and ostensibly buys more original pressings from anyone who cares to bring them by. Attendees will be able to listen to copies of the album, and Chang will make digital recordings of and take photographs of each album played. When all is said and done, Chang will layer every album recording and gatefold image he’s taken on top of each other, creating a new, composite version of the album which highlights the beautiful signs of wear and tear each has accumulated over the years.

The exhibit makes an interesting commentary on #rare culture–when so many supposed “collector’s items” are in one place, the inherent silliness of the whole notion of a collector’s item comes into play–and makes digital art of the imperfections that characterize analog media. If anything, it’s worth it just to hear what 600+ copies of the “Helter Skelter” riff sound like stacked up.

We Buy White Albums, January 7-March 9, Recess, New York

(Photo: Tim Schreier/Flickr)