Roxy Music had a long history of featuring it-girl supermodels (posing as "idealized fans") and groundbreaking photography on their iconic album covers--a tradition carried on by legendary Roxy frontman Bryan Ferry's recent solo album Olympia, the cover of which uses a glamour shot of Kate Moss inspired by Edouard Manet's 19th century "Olympia" painting. These album covers are legitimate works of art worthy of prime space on any museum or gallery wall, and so to celebrate Ferry and Roxy's artistic legacy, the Michael Kohn Gallery in Los Angeles is hosting the "Bryan Ferry Olympia" exhibit through November 5.
Ferry was originally taught by renowned British pop artist Richard Hamilton, and throughout his career he has always maintained artistic control over all visual aspects of his music. In a rare interview by the contemporary art journal Frieze, he once described his approach to assembling a "palette" of creative collaborators as being similar to Duke Ellington's. Speaking to Yahoo! at the Michael Kohn Gallery's October 20th opening party (which was attended by the Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, choreographer Toni Basil, and actress Rosanna Arquette), Ferry surveyed the room filled with so many iconic images from his career and sighed: "So many different stories, and so many different albums! But we kind of did it instinctively, and it always seemed to work for each record, so I guess it was in the air."
A representative for the Kohn gallery describes the Roxy/Ferry covers as "an exercise in pure Pop--creating an exciting, desirable, and glamorous commodity, super-charged with aspirational values...an elegant, mass-cultural example of conceptual art."
The "Bryan Ferry Olympia" exhibit features C-type crystal archive prints, mounted on aluminum, of Roxy Music's eight albums: Roxy Music, For Your Pleasure, and Stranded (photography by Karl Stoecker); Country Life (Eric Boman); Siren (Graham Hughes); and Manifesto, Flesh + Blood, and Avalon (Niel Kirk).
The gallery also includes an entire room dedicated to a series of photographer Adam Whitehead's black-and-white, 120x60-inch prints of modern-day "femme fatale" and rock 'n' roll muse Kate Moss, from the Olympia sessions.
"Bryan Ferry Olympia" runs at the Michael Kohn Gallery October 20-November 5. For more details, visit http://www.kohngallery.com/exhibitions.html