Cover Version: Curated by Timothy Hull
June 28 – August 9, 2008
Opening Reception: Saturday June 28th, 2008 6pm-9pm
“I suggest that the only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little farther down a particular path than we have yet go ourselves.” E.M. Forster
Taylor De Cordoba is pleased to present Cover Version, a group exhibition curated by NY-based artist Timothy Hull. Hull has asked approximately twenty artists from around the country to create their own version of the cover of their favorite book. The only parameters are that the piece must be average book size and include the title and author in the composition. Scott Hug, Mathew Cerletty, Kadar Brock, Jennifer Sullivan, Ryan Callis and Frohawk Two Feathers are among the participating artists. The exhibition will run from June 28 – August 9. The gallery will host an opening reception on Saturday June 28 from 6-9PM.
Cover Version focuses on the idea of book cover as inadvertent cultural symbol and indicator of taste. Visually, the front of a book must illuminate the content or emotional resonance of the book within a moment’s glance, regardless of actual content. Although we have idiomatically been reminded NOT to judge a book by its cover, often this is precisely how we choose them. Thus, publishing companies have known covers to play a crucial role in creating the aura of a book, becoming the icon and the symbol, which tells us not only what but how we will read. Famous book covers become as culturally important and layered as the book itself; J.D. Salinger’s yellow and red cover for The Catcher in Rye for instance or Germano Facetti’s iconic covers for Penguin.
The act of making an idiosyncratic copy of a book cover is in essence a ‘cover of a cover,’ to use the popular music term or a “cover version” as the title of the show suggests. This meaning can be both metaphoric and literal. In a cover, the song is reinterpreted and rearranged to suit the message or need of the performer. It is also an associative indicator of taste, as the performer of the cover is thus associated with the preconceived approval of the song as being part of a canon. Likewise, the cover of a preferred book will be either copied or created anew to give a wholly different interpretation of the visual essence of the book, as well as to associate the spirit and cultural capital of the book towards the artist. The act of choosing plays an important role in this exhibition; the choice being as compelling as the cover. Artists will be re-imagining the covers of To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, Moby Dick by Herman Melville, Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut, A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments by Roland Barthes and The Book of Mormon, among others.