Rutherford Chang, a New York based artist has relocated to Liverpool for one month this summer, during the Liverpool Biennial, to display and expand his collection of over 1,000 first-pressings of The Beatles’ White Album. Millions of numbered pressings of the double LP officially titled “The Beatles” – have been sold around the world since its 1968 release. “There are all kinds of things written on them and they provide an interesting snapshot of the last half century,” says 34-year-old Mr Chang, who arrived in Liverpool on Wednesday to set up the exhibition at the city’s FACT art centre.
Mr Chang, who bought his first copy aged 15, said: “The vinyl discs all have their own dust, scratches and skips, and play slightly differently. Layered together they sounds quite different – a very psychedelic sound.” The seminal White Album – officially titled The Beatles – was the band’s ninth studio album, with a revolutionary cover designed by pioneering pop artist Richard Hamilton. Famously stark, the totally white design has provided a blank canvas for the coffee stains, doodles, mold and rips that have accumulated on the albums since its release in 1968, making every copy now unique.
Chang’s entire collection of over 1,000 White Albums will be displayed in the format of a record store with two vital differences, only one album is displayed, and records are only bought not sold. Visitors will be invited to browse and listen to copies of their choice. Also featured is a vinyl album Chang created by layering 100 different copies from his collection, exploring the sonic and visual differences between the aged vinyl discs and covers.
“The character of each copy is distinctly shaped by their individual histories, so this collection of intentical yet unique mutiples together forms a story of the past half-Century. I hope to expand my collection while in Liverpool, so please bring me numbered copies in any condition!”
The exhibition has been to several galleries across the US, including New York, Connecticut and Atlanta, but the artist says it was always his ambition to bring the albums to Liverpool.
Presented by FACT and Liverpool International Music Festival, We Buy White Albums will take over FACT’s loading bay space on Wood Street from 15 August – 14 September.