Kanye West Taps Japanese Contemporary Artist Takashi Murakami for “Graduation” Album
Kanye West asked Takashi Murakami to handle his third album “Graduation,” which wrapped his school-themed trilogy. The artwork features West’s oft-used dropout bear leaving fictional college Universe City.
The pairing also led to Murakami making a video for the album’s opening track, “Good Morning.” The stylized cartoon clip shows West’s bear earning his “Bachelor of Hip-Hop” degree, then hopping in his car to change the future.
Kanye West’s Marco Brambilla-Directed “Power” Video
The brief video for “Power,” the lead single for West’s 2010 album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” album, was handled by installation artist Marco Brambilla. The baroque, moving art clip finds West as leading of a falling kingdom. By the time the 90-second clip wraps, Kanye is on the verge of being decapitated by two incoming flying swordsmen.
In addition, West called upon portrait artist George Condo for the artwork for "Twisted Fantasy.” Condo created five images for the 2010 set—the most controversial being a furry man beast holding a bottle being straddled by a winged woman. It was banned by music stores, replaced mostly by a picture of a ballerina.
Andy Warhol Manages Velvet Underground
In the mid ‘60s, leader of the pop artist movement Andy Warhol doubled as manager for rock band The Velvet Underground. The pairing birthed “Exploding Plastic Inevitable" in his Factory enterprises, a series of shows that featured performances from the band and viewings of Warhol-shot films touring the U.S.The partnership was groundbreaking, melding music with art and contemporary marketing.
By that time Warhol’s art was already a staple in the music world, especially in jazz. In 1954, he handled cover art for Thelonious Monk’s “Monk” and continued on with the likes of Count Basie.
And after his stint with Revolver, Warhol crafted one of his most popular album covers for The Rolling Stones’ subtle, yet racy “Sticky Fingers"--featuring a tightly denimed crotch shot. Many assumed (or hoped) the picture was of Stones lead Mick Jagger, but instead, it is of an unnamed male model.
Keith Haring Paints on Grace Jones
Artist Keith Haring painted on singer/model Grace Jones with his classic mazey designs for her “I'm Not Perfect (But I'm Perfect For You)” video in 1986. Andy Warhol also makes an appearance in the clip, calling Jones “perfect.”
Richard Kern Directs Sonic Youth Video
In 1985, photographer and director Richard Kern (with singer Lydia Lunch) co-directed Sonic Youth's first music video, "Death Valley '69." The band is known for constantly infusing art into their work in some fashion.
Years prior to their Kern collab, band member Kim Gordon got her first show as an artist herself in 1981. Called “Design Office,” the exhibit was a part of Noise Fest, a nine-day of experimental music exhibit at New York City’s White Columns gallery.
Graffiti Elites (Basquiat and more) Join Blondie in "Rapture" Video
The video for Blondie’s pseudo rap jam “Rapture” in 1981 not on shouts out Fab 5 Freddy, but it also features fellow graffitists Lee Quinones and icon Jean-Michel Basquiat.